Can you get a cavity after veneers?
Veneers are made of highly durable materials. Since they are artificial materials, they will not decay like the organic structure of your natural teeth. However, a porcelain veneer only covers the front surface of your tooth. The rest of your tooth can still get a cavity like any other tooth.
When you eat and drink, bacteria accumulate in the back and front of the teeth feeding on the residues. After some time, this causes plaque to build up in your mouth. This eventually leads to tooth decay and cavity forming because these bacteria secrete acidic wastes after consuming sugary residues in your mouth. And acid is the number one enemy of your teeth. Want to hear some bad news: Acids are also bad for the bonding materials of the veneers. They can erode the cement. Usually, a cavity under veneers is not an expected situation because it’s a closed surface. But an unprofessional application process or eroded bonding material can create space for the bacteria. So be careful and keep brushing.
Do veneers damage your teeth?
Are veneers bad for your teeth? Not exactly. Your tooth surface will be shaved and your teeth after removing veneers can be more sensitive and vulnerable. But as long as you have the veneers on your teeth, it won’t be a problem. But you should keep that in mind: Veneers are not ever-lasting. You have to change the after 10 to 15 years depending on how you used them. Each new veneer application process requires shaving the tooth surface again. So for young people who want to have veneers, yes in a long term, it can be exhausting for your teeth. Lesser you change them, the better for your teeth. That’s why we recommend people not to have veneers at young ages.
You can also see some videos going viral on TikTok showing people with over shaved teeth before their veneer application. So, people worry and ask do veneers ruin your teeth. These kinds of preparation processes are not professional. Not all veneer applications are made like them. What you have to do is to choose a good clinic.
Why do you get cavities after veneers?
If your tooth decays under your veneer, it could cause problems for your overall oral and general health. It would also affect the longevity of your veneers. There could be several reasons for such a situation:
The main reasons for a cavity under your veneer are:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Poorly applied veneers
- Old veneers
- Side effects of some medications
- You have a compromised immune system
Poor dental hygiene
The main reason to get any type of cavity is poor oral hygiene. If you do not keep up with your regular oral hygiene routine after you get your veneers, tooth decay is very likely to happen. Dental veneers only cover the front surface of the natural teeth, therefore, all other parts of the teeth are vulnerable to decay like any regular tooth. You just need a daily routine of brushing and flossing to keep your smile healthy! You may ask how do you clean your teeth under veneers. Well, just like how do you do without veneers: by following a proper dental hygiene routine.
Poorly applied veneers
There have been many studies that investigate factors affecting the longevity of veneers. Several studies conclude 90% or higher survival rate for porcelain veneers. The success of these studies has one thing in common: good preparation. The cases in these studies have used careful, conservative preparation and optimum isolation during cementation. Some of the other studies show a lower survival rate of veneers. These studies (Burke and Lucarotti (2009), Shaini et al., (1997) report the survival rate of veneers around approximately 50% over 10 years. However, it is important to note that these veneer procedures take place at general dental service and an undergraduate program respectively. This goes on to show that the quality of preparation and level of specialty of your dentist is crucial. Bad preparation of the teeth and bad bonding will likely cause your veneers to fail sooner and cavities to form.
When you get dental veneers, the edge of the tooth will be more susceptible to decay because these narrow areas are not covered by veneers and bacteria can grow easily. If your cosmetic dentist does not do an impeccable job while bonding your veneers to your teeth, it will be a poor fit. When it is a poor fit, the chance of decay forming in this area is much higher than in a real tooth. The reason for this is the removal of natural tooth enamel in the area. If your dentist removes too much tooth structure during the preparation phase, this can also cause tooth decay. Your veneers might become loose, and fall off and cavities can form.
Similarly, if you have been using your veneers for many years, bacteria from foods might eventually make their way underneath the veneers and cause a build-up. Yes, veneers are long-lasting but they’re not forever. Maybe the cement has deteriorated in time and created some openings between the veneers and the tooth. This can lead you to have a cavity on your tooth after a while.
Some effects of some medications
If you are taking any medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect, you are more likely to get tooth decay. The reason for that is saliva protects your teeth from damaging factors like acids from certain foods or drinks. So keep this in mind if you start these medications. Also, get in touch with your dentist to get some advice on what to do to avoid cavities.
You have a compromised immune system
If an underlying condition compromised your immune system, this could make tooth decay or infections in the mouth form easier.
Getting a cavity with your veneers because of a weakened immune system or gum disease, your dentist would have advised you to not get veneers done at your initial consultation. If your dentist did not identify as a high-decay risk patient by your dentist, you do not need to extra worry about cavities.
However, there are still some precautions you can take for cavities to not occur.
What to do in order to prevent cavities from forming underneath your veneers
You can protect your porcelain veneers and prevent cavities to form through good oral hygiene practices. However, there are a few extra things to keep in mind in addition to brushing and flossing every day. Here are some tips that can help you not get cavities after veneers:
Use the right hygiene products: Use non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste to protect your porcelain veneers and the bonding agents.
Don’t bite down on hard food or objects: Cracks on your veneers might cause cavities to form in between them. Various studies have indicated that the main reason for the failure of veneers is a ceramic fracture. (Beier et al., (2011)
Wear a mouth guard: If you have parafunctional habits like bruxism or playing contact sports, make sure you wear a mouth guard. This prevents chipping and cracking, which could cause cavities to form.
Be mindful of the edges of veneers while brushing: While brushing, be especially diligent on the edges of your veneers. This is where cavities form most of the time.
Limit your consumption of alcohol: Alcohol can weaken the bonding agent used on your veneers. This could cause decay to occur in the empty space.
What happens when you get a cavity after veneers?
Now, you might wonder what happens when you get a cavity after veneers. Like with any other dental problem, you will need to solve it as quickly as possible. Because any problem like a cavity can lead to serious concerns for your health in the long run if go untreated. The process is similar to treating cavities on your regular teeth in some exceptional situations. First of all, your dentist will remove the cavity from the tooth:
Removal of the cavity
If you get cavities on the teeth that have veneers, there could be a few ways to remove the cavity. Most of the time, your dentist can remove the cavity and bond the filling to your tooth. Your dentist will decide if they can blend it into your veneer or if they have to redo the veneer. This depends on where the cavity is in your tooth. If it is on the palatal or lingual side and is not a significantly large cavity, your dentist can treat it around the veneer. However, if the cavity is larger, it can cause your veneer to fail. So, the answer to your question about what happens when you have a cavity is in that case, your dentist will need to remove your veneer, treat the cavity and reapply your veneer.
Will your teeth be more likely to get cavities after veneers?
Some patients worry that the removal of the natural tooth enamel during the veneer process will damage their teeth too much. And that this will lead cavities to forming as a result.
Tooth enamel acts as a protective layer on top of your teeth. It is true that when you lose enamel your teeth will become more vulnerable and sensitive to outside factors. And with regular teeth, loss of tooth enamel can lead to tooth decay. However, the veneer process does not just remove the enamel but replaces it. So, after the procedure, the porcelain veneer will act as the protective shell instead of the tooth enamel. When a skilled dentist bonds the veneers to your teeth, well, your teeth will actually become stronger. However as we said before, if your veneers are not done professionally, if there are gaps that open the shaved area, you can get cavities from these areas. So veneers by themselves don’t cause cavities or don’t make it easier to get tooth decay but wrongly applied veneers do.
Asra, Copyright & Hussain, Asra Sabir. (2019). Oral Health and Dental Veneers: Clinical Tips. American Journal of Biomedical Science & Research. 2. 10.34297/AJBSR.2019.02.000584.
Alothman, Yousef & Bamasoud, Maryam. (2018). The success of dental veneers according to preparation design and material type. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences. 6. 10.3889/oamjms.2018.353.
“Will Teeth Be More Prone to Damage and Cavities with Veneers? | Best Veneer Dentist in Los Angeles.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 Sept. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWGaTDYOSqc