A Veneer Scare: What to Do If Your Veneer Falls Off
If you should happen to get a close look at your new dental veneer before your dentist bonds it into place, you might be a bit surprised. How can something that's so small and thin be so durable, while also transforming the look of your smile? Dental veneers are tough and can last for a number of years without needing replacement, although they need to be looked after—brushed like a normal tooth with a non-abrasive toothpaste. They can usually be completed in a couple of appointments at a cosmetic dental practice. The first appointment involves taking a mould of your teeth to fabricate the veneer, which is then manufactured to order. The second appointment is for the veneer to be bonded into place, and you're good to go. The veneer shouldn't require much further attention for many years to come when it will require replacement. And yet, can they ever fall off?
It's unlikely that a veneer will ever simply detach from its tooth, but it can still happen, albeit rarely. Perhaps you've been placing unwise pressure and friction on the veneer by using your teeth to open plastic packages (always a bad idea). Or perhaps there is a problem with the tooth that has, up to this point, been hidden by the veneer. What happens if you should feel your veneer fall off?
Retrieve the Veneer
You need to gently spit the veneer out. Hopefully, it can just be put back into place, as is. It must be treated with care, so pack it in cotton wool or wrap it with a tissue before placing it in a protective, sealable container. It's not going to hurt you if you swallow it, and it will eventually make a reappearance, but you're not going to want it back in your mouth. Make an appointment at your cosmetic dental clinic to have the veneer reattached, or replaced if swallowed.
Caring for the Tooth
While waiting for your appointment, you might notice some increased sensitivity on the newly exposed surface of your tooth. Take care with beverages that are particularly hot or cold. There might also be residue from the bonding agent on the surface of your tooth, so try not to touch this with your tongue. If you find that this rough surface irritates the interior of your lips, try attaching a small piece of dental wax (available from most pharmacies) to the tooth.
Reattaching the Veneer
At the clinic, the veneer can generally just be rebonded, but your dentist will take the opportunity to inspect the tooth. If the tooth has decayed under the veneer, this can be the reason why it has fallen off, since it no longer has a stable and smooth foundation. The tooth will need additional restoration before the veneer can be reattached, and if the decay is significant, then a further failure of the veneer becomes more likely. Your dentist might, in fact, suggest a dental crown.
So even though it's unlikely to happen, if you have veneers, you need to know what to do if they should happen to fall off.