A cracked dental veneer can be heartbreaking and can happen at the worst time. A cracked veneer can really make us feel self-conscious, but can also lead to the question of; can you fix a cracked veneer?
A cracked or broken dental veneer cannot be fixed. The dentist can smooth out small cracks and chips if aesthetics is the only concern. A new dental veneer will need to be fabricated. The dentist can place composite bonding material to improve the aesthetic until the new dental veneer is ready.
In this post, I further explain why cracked, and broken dental veneers cannot be repaired, what to do if your dental veneer breaks, causes and prevention, and what to do in a pinch if you can’t see a dental professional right away.
Can you repair a tooth veneer? Cracks, chips, breaks
Dental veneers are made out of both composite and porcelain, which are hard and durable materials but can crack and break in certain circumstances.
Once broken, porcelain and composite cannot be repaired due to the strong bond between the molecules that form when the materials are made and cured. It is an irreversible process.
Hairline cracks that form with no loss of the veneer material from the tooth need to be looked at by a dentist. Even if no material is lost, it could happen soon and may be an indication of a bigger underlying problem.
Cracking a dental veneer can be devastating and cause a lot of stress because;
- veneers are not cheap
- cracked veneers affect asethetics and confidence
- unknown extent of damage and replacement needs
Tiny chips can be smoothed down by the dentist, making the chip less prominent and feel smoother in the mouth. Smoothing can only be done on small areas, and the seal between the tooth and the veneer is not compromised.
As soon as the seal between the veneer and the tooth is compromised, the opening between is too tiny to clean out properly, making the risk of tooth decay very high.
In some rare cases, and the seal is not broken, a composite material can improve the appearance. However, bonding composite to porcelain is very fragile and not meant to last. I would say it is only a temporary solution.
In most circumstances, the dental veneer will need to be replaced.
If the veneer needs to be remade, a local anesthetic will probably be used to numb the tooth to prevent sensitivity before the veneer is taken off. So be prepared to be frozen.
Dental veneer replacement is a process and can be more tricky than the initial veneer placement. If you have multiple veneers, matching the new veneer to the older adjacent veneers may be problematic.
- lab made (1-2 weeks)
- in office made with CEREC machine (1 day)
If the veneer is lab-made, the patient will likely be asked to go to the dental lab where it is being made to ensure proper colour and shade matching.
In-office made dental veneers can be done with a CEREC machine, a milling machine that will mill the veneer out of a porcelain block.
**It is important to note that I am not referring to the entire veneer comping off in one piece. This can happen, and in most situations, the veneer can be re-bonded to the tooth.
What to do if your dental veneer breaks?
If a dental veneer breaks, it is crucial to deal with it as soon as possible. Below is a step by step guide of what to do if your dental veneer breaks;
- Collect broken pieces and store them in a safe place to bring to the dentist. Seing how the veneer breaks may give insight to how to avoid it if you get a new one placed.
- Its important to distinguish between a veneer that has simply come off entierly, vs a veneer that is broken or chipped.
- Call the dental office as soon as possible and schedule an appointment. They will likely book you in as an “emergency” appointment to get you in fast.
- If the chip is small, the dentist may smooth it out.
- In some cases if the patient is not bothered by the break, and will want to leave it as it is.
- While waiting for the appoitment, avoid using the tooth that has the broken veneer on it at all costs. using it when biting into something, can cause more to break.
Having the veneer looked at right away is essential to rule out any other significant issues with the teeth.
What causes veneers to crack?
Dental veneers can crack due to extreme temperature changes, excessive force and torque from hard foods and inanimate objects, clenching and grinding, biting fingernails, or opening packaging or tape with teeth. Avoiding such things will prolong the lifespan of the dental veneer.
If a crack occurs, it can become stained and discoloured and stand out against the veneer. Also, bacteria are small enough to get in between the crack and potentially form a cavity.
How to fix a chipped veneer tooth at home?
Fixing a chipped veneer tooth at home is not advisable, and it is best to have a dental professional assess the damage. Using a rough surface to smooth down the chip can cause further damage to the veneer and tooth. Dental/braces wax can cover the sharp area if the edge is painful.
However, dental wax or an over-the-counter temporary repair kit can be used if you are stuck and cannot get to a dentist fast enough. You can get this temporary repair kit on Amazon. It is the best one on the market, safe to use and at a fair price. But remember, it is only a temporary fix while you wait to see a dentist.
I hope you don’t have to deal with a cracked or broken dental veneer. And if you do, I hope it is an easy process getting a new one made.
Have a great day!