Porcelain dental veneers are attached over the front of your teeth to enhance your smile and appearance. With proper care, they are durable and can last up to 10 – 30 years. However, over time, these veneers may be damaged or discoloured and require removal or replacement. Some patients may also choose to have their veneers replaced for personal preferences.
Traditionally, the removal of dental veneers require the use of a drill which has scared many patients off. Here’s the good news — removing your veneers or even dental crowns is now hassle free with a new hard tissue laser that does the job safely without damaging your natural teeth. Let us explain more.
Why do I need to remove/replace my dental veneer?
Usually, there would be no need to remove your veneers if they are of good quality and properly fitted. However, you may need to remove or replace them in the following circumstances:
Cracks or damages to the veneer
While porcelain veneers are highly durable, they can be vulnerable to damage, especially if you chew on hard foods or apply excessive force to them. The cracked or broken veneer has to be replaced in order to protect the underlying tooth.
Here are some reasons why a dental veneer replacement is needed:
Decay or damage to the underlying tooth
Veneers only cover the front side of the teeth, which means the exposed areas of the underlying teeth are still prone to damage or decay. In the case that the underlying tooth is damaged or decayed, you will need to remove the veneer that covers it so that it can be repaired.
Loosening of the veneer
The dental cement that holds the veneer in place may deteriorate over time, which causes loosening of the veneer. When a veneer is loose, the gap may cause bacteria or plaque to accumulate behind the veneer. Hence, your dentist will have to remove the veneer in order to prevent damage or decay to the underlying tooth.
Porcelain veneers are resistant to stains, but the surrounding natural teeth may become discoloured such that there is a distinct difference between the natural tooth and the tooth with the veneer. Veneers cannot be whitened, and whitening the natural tooth may result in greater distinction. Hence, the best option is to replace the veneer.
Poor Fitting Veneers
Poor fitting veneers can result in the gums constantly swollen or bleed upon touching. This is may be due to a gap between the veneer and your tooth that can harbour bacteria causing your gums to be inflamed.
Some patients may simply dislike the current look of their veneers and would like to improve them.
How do I remove/replace my dental veneer?
Veneers typically have to be replaced about 10 – 30 years after they were put in place. The traditional process of replacing veneers starts with grinding away and refining the tooth surface. Then, a mould of the teeth is taken to create new veneers, and these new veneers are rebonded back onto your teeth.
The most common method of removing veneer is using a high-speed handpiece with a diamond. However, this method usually damages the underlying tooth and can be difficult or time-consuming to carry out.,
Recently, there is a new erbium laser technology that can be used to safely debond porcelain veneers. Studies have shown that this laser technology will not damage the underlying tooth because the energies used for debonding are up to 20 times less than what is needed to ablate enamel and dentin. Basically, the laser penetrates the veneer surface and de-activates the cement. This new laser technology at Dental Designs allows for easy removal of veneers, rather than having to drill it off.
How is this veneer laser removal procedure carried out?
A high powered, low frequency laser is activated without in a contactless manner. The laser energy penetrates the veneer material and deactivates the bonding interface between the tooth and the veneer. A wave-like motion is done repeatedly until the veneer detaches from the tooth surface. In some circumstances, the veneer may be “locked in” which may require a drill to separate the veneer into small pieces for removal.
In most cases, the veneers removed by an erbium laser either simply pops out or cracks so we can remove the pieces easily. Occasionally they may disintegrate, but under no circumstances will the tooth underneath be damaged.
To illustrate better, we have recorded a video filmed in real time at x4 speed.
Do you have any questions for us? Please feel free to ask away and our dentists are more than happy to assist you.
- Spitz, S. D. (2008). Lasers in prosthodontics: clinical realities of a dental laser in a prosthodontic practice. Alpha Omegan, 4(101), 188-194.
- van As, G. A. (2013). Using the Erbium Laser to Remove Porcelain Veneers in 60 Seconds. Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, 28(4).