Porcelain veneers are a great way to beautify your smile. They look natural, are easy to care for, and should last a long time.

Which is why it can be very shocking if a veneer falls off. This is an uncommon situation, but it does happen–and it doesn’t always mean the veneer is lost. If you handle the situation properly, the cosmetic dentists at Rice Dentistry in Irvine might be able to put your veneer back on–even if we weren’t the ones who originally placed the veneers. Here’s how to handle the situation.

Step 1: Get the Veneer out of Your Mouth

A veneer is not like a natural tooth that you can store in your mouth if it gets knocked out. You want to get the veneer out of your mouth as quickly as possible. If the veneer isn’t whole, try to get out as many pieces as you can.

If you do swallow the veneer–or a part of it–there’s no cause for alarm. The veneer material isn’t toxic, and it will pass safely through your system. It’s even possible to clean the veneer and put it back on your tooth after it emerges. The difficulty is that since we can’t inspect the veneer until we can see it again, we won’t know if it’s intact enough to use until then. With the uncertainty, the need to wait, and other factors, many people just choose to replace the veneer.

Step 2: Store the Veneer Safely

When you have the veneer, gently clean and dry it. The veneer’s strength comes when it’s attached to your tooth. On its own, the material is strong, but the veneer is very slim, so it can be easy to break. Once the veneer is dry, put it in a hard-sided container with adequate padding to keep it from getting damaged.

Step 3: Contact a Cosmetic Dentist

Now that you’ve got the veneer put away safely, you can start dealing with how to restore your beautiful smile.

At Rice Dentistry, we help people in Irvine and from across Orange County to get and maintain beautiful smiles. Our cosmetic dentists can help you determine what happened and whether it’s best to reattach the veneer or replace it with a new veneer.

At Rice Dentistry, we will always work hard to make time for members of our community that are in need, with special priority given to our patients who have a problem. When you lose a veneer, we will get you in as quickly as possible for an evaluation.

Step 4: Protect Your Veneerless Tooth

While waiting for your appointment, you need to take care of the veneered tooth.

Fortunately, your veneered tooth is probably in pretty good shape. When a cosmetic dentist prepares your tooth for veneering, they normally remove only a small amount of dental enamel, so your tooth is likely still protected by some of this hard, white material. You should be able to eat and drink normally even if your veneer is off. Pay attention to any sensitivity you might experience on the tooth without the veneer.

If the sensitivity of the tooth is problematic, you can use dental wax to cover the exposed surface and control discomfort. If tooth sensitivity persists with the wax on the tooth, there may be something more serious going on. Let us know, and we’ll investigate further when you come in for your appointment.

Never try to reattach the veneer yourself. At best, you are increasing the risk that the veneer will get broken. You may also disrupt the appearance of your smile. Finally, it’s possible that the methods you’re using to replace the tooth could be toxic or damaging to the veneer or your tooth.

Step 5: Come to Your Dental Appointment

Although not an emergency, you don’t want to wait too long to get your veneer back in place, whether it’s the old veneer or a replacement one.

We will likely be able to reuse your old veneer if it fell off due to:

  • Bonding resin failure
  • Age

Sometimes a cosmetic dentist doesn’t manage to get a porcelain veneer bonded well enough to your tooth. One possible reason could be that the tooth did not have enough enamel to create a strong bond. When this happens, the veneer can just come off. Each case is different, but it may be possible to reattach the veneer. If you got it out of your mouth whole and took care of it, we can likely put the veneer back on your tooth.

Odds are not quite as good if the bonding failed because of age. Often, veneers still look great after 10-15 years, but if your veneer is older than that, or if it’s not as attractive as it used to be, you might want to consider getting a new veneer.

In addition, it’s likely that you’re going to need a veneer if it came off because of:

  • Cavities under the veneer
  • Teeth clenching and grinding
  • Dental trauma (accident, blow to the mouth, improper use)

If you’ve lost an entire tooth due to trauma, you’ll need to bring in the lost tooth along with the veneer to see if it can be saved. If not, you may be in need of an implant tooth replacement and crown rather than getting the veneer fixed.

A veneer doesn’t fully protect a tooth the way a dental crown does. This means that it’s possible for veneered teeth to develop cavities behind the veneer. This decay can degrade the veneer’s support, causing it to fall off. When this happens, we’ll need to remove the decay, repair the tooth, and create a new veneer. Sometimes we might recommend a dental crown to replace it, which gives you the attractive results you want, while protecting your tooth.

Teeth clenching and grinding can be very destructive to veneers. At Rice Dentistry, we typically issue bite guards to protect your veneers. However, if these got worn out or you didn’t wear them every night, your clenching and grinding habit could have damaged your veneers.

If dental trauma caused the veneer to come off, it’s likely broken and can’t be reused.

Restore or Replace Lost Veneers in Irvine

If you’ve lost a veneer in Irvine or anywhere in Orange County, Rice Dentistry can help. Please call (949) 551-5902 immediately, and we’ll work hard to fit in an appointment for you as soon as possible.