A dentist shows veneer options to a patient in the dentist's chair. Share on Pinterest
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Dental veneers are basically thin shells that are applied to the front of your teeth, making them look even and undamaged. They can disguise imperfections in your teeth and improve the appearance of your smile.

One important factor to keep in mind when deciding whether to go with veneers is how long they typically last. In this article, we’ll help answer that question and also look at what can affect the lifespan of dental veneers.

Be sure to ask your dentist about your options when it comes to veneers. Find out what kinds of veneers they offer and recommend.

Here’s what to know about the different types of veneers.

Porcelain veneers

Porcelain is perhaps the most commonly used material for veneers. And for good reason: The material is thin and translucent, which produces a very realistic result.

Porcelain veneers have a reputation for longevity. A 2018 review of multiple studies suggests that these veneers can last 10 years or longer in the vast majority of cases.

One study of 84 people with porcelain veneers even found that the veneers had lasted as long as 20 years.

The same 2018 review points out that some research has uncovered shorter longevity for porcelain veneers. This might be the result of applying the porcelain veneers to teeth that weren’t appropriately prepared in advance.

Porcelain veneers can vary in price. According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, you can expect to pay between $925 and $2,500 per tooth.

Composite veneers

Another commonly used material for veneers is a resin-based composite. According to the 2018 review mentioned above, you’re likely to get a good 5 years or more from composite veneers.

The composite version of veneers cost less compared to porcelain, though they don’t last as long. You’re looking at a price tag of somewhere between $250 and $1,500 per tooth, according to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry.

Composite veneers require a highly skilled provider (dentist or prosthodontist), while porcelain veneers require a great lab technician for a successful outcome.

No-prep veneers

No-prep veneers are basically just what they sound like: They’re veneers that don’t require intensive prep work on your teeth before they’re installed. No-prep veneers can improve the appearance of your teeth while saving as much of your tooth enamel as possible.

Because the process is less invasive, it takes less time to apply these veneers. Some common brands include Lumineers, Vivaneers, and DURAthin veneers.

According to the manufacturer of Lumineers, they can last up to 20 years, but other sources suggest longevity of up to 10 years. They can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000 per tooth.

If you’ve been frowning at your smile in the mirror, you may be wondering if dental veneers are the right choice for you.

They’re not the best solution for seriously damaged teeth. Crowns are probably a better option for those situations. But veneers may be a good option if your teeth are:

  • chipped
  • discolored
  • fractured
  • undersized

You’ll also want to find out from your dentist if veneers are covered by insurance. Depending on the situation, veneers may be considered an elective cosmetic treatment. If that’s the case, insurance won’t cover a portion of the cost.

Talk to your dentist about the best options for you, your budget, and the look you want to achieve. You may even want to ask if there’s a way to see a digital image of what your smile might look like with veneers.

Depending on the state of your teeth, you may be wondering about the benefits of veneers versus the benefits of crowns. One factor to consider is longevity.

There are several types of crowns, but they’re all basically a cap for a damaged tooth. They cover all or most of the tooth and can be created out of several different substances, including:

  • porcelain
  • metal
  • composite resin
  • a combination of materials

Crowns tend to be thicker than veneers. They’re 2 millimeters, compared to about 1 millimeter for veneers. Since they cover more of your tooth than a veneer, less of the tooth is exposed to new decay. Veneers only cover the front of your tooth and are most often applied to the front eight teeth.

The lifespan of a crown can vary. Depending on the material that’s used, a veneer can last 5 to 10 years on average, according to the American College of Prosthodontists.

With dental veneers, several factors can affect the lifespan of the type of veneer you choose. Let’s take a closer look at what can affect longevity.

  • The state of your teeth prior to installation. According to some dentists, the state of your teeth prior to getting a veneer may affect the lifespan.
  • Veneer materials. Porcelain and no-prep veneers last longer than composite veneers. However, these options are more expensive, so you’ll have to weigh the cost against the expected lifespan.
  • Your dental hygiene. Good oral hygiene really matters. Twice-daily brushing and daily flossing are crucial to prolonging the lifespan of veneers. It’s also important to have dental checkups and cleanings every 6 months.
  • Mouth protection. If you play a contact sport, be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your veneers from chipping or breaking.
  • Tooth grinding. Grinding your teeth can put excessive pressure on your veneers. If you’re prone to grinding your teeth when you sleep, wear a nighttime mouthguard to protect your veneers.
  • Using your teeth as tools. Don’t use your teeth to try and open objects that you can’t open with your hands or other tools.
  • Care with hard foods. Avoid biting down on foods like hard candies, ice, or nuts.

Depending on the type of veneer you choose and other lifestyle factors, the lifespan of a veneer typically lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

When choosing what kind of dental veneer is right for you, you’ll need to weigh several factors, including the short- and long-term cost, the expected lifespan of the veneers, and the appearance you’re hoping to achieve.