Porcelain dental veneers are an excellent solution to a range of cosmetic dental issues from gapped teeth to permanent discoloration. Although they look and perform like natural teeth, they do have a finite lifespan and may begin to show signs of wear in as little as a decade. When this happens it's important to have them assessed and replaced if necessary, or you could be increasing your chances of decay or infection to the tooth beneath the damaged veneer. Below are some signs that it is time to talk to a dentist about your veneers.

Visible damage

Chips, cracks, or thinning areas are all major problem signs. Once a veneer is damaged, plaque and bacteria can begin to make their way beneath the veneer, where they can prey on the tooth below. Since it is impossible to clean the tooth beneath the damaged veneer, cavities can form quite quickly once veneer damage occurs. Gum infections can also be a real risk. Getting the damaged veneer replaced solves this problem.

Sensitivity and lifting

Remember that when your veneers were first placed, the dentist filed down your tooth surface to ensure a natural fit. This means the nerves inside your tooth are more exposed, which makes them more sensitive to hot and cold. The veneer is insulated against this sensitivity. If you are noticing sensitivity in veneer-clad teeth, chances are they are beginning to lift at the gum line. This is exposing the nerves in the natural tooth to sensations. It's also providing a path for bacteria to reach your tooth, so you will need to see a dentist to have the veneer repaired or replaced.

Visibility of natural tooth

Some gum recession is expected as you age. It can be minimal to severe, depending on your genetics as well as your dental hygiene habits. If your natural tooth becomes visible at the root line, you have likely experienced some gum loss and need to have it assessed by a dentist. Minor loss is purely a cosmetic issue, which means you can delay the replacement and refitting of veneers if you like, although you may need to be more meticulous in caring for your gum line. Major gum loss or loss that includes red and inflamed gums will require both gum disease treatment and the possible replacement of your veneers so your natural teeth are protected.

For more help with your veneers, contact a dentist in your area.