close-up, side by side comparison with and without dental veneer on a females faceYou finally did it: you committed to porcelain veneers. And the results were great: a beautiful smile you loved sharing. Low-maintenance and comfortable, you’ve loved your veneers since you got them. Until the day one fell off. 

Your initial response is probably panic, but if you keep calm, the situation is manageable to repair these wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that cover the front surface of teeth. You can follow these five simple steps to quickly get it back in place. If you want to reattach or replace your veneer, cosmetic dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental can assess the situation and recommend how to proceed. We are happy to help people who got their veneers elsewhere and our own patients. 

Step 1: Remove the Veneer from Your Mouth

If you knock out a tooth, you can keep it in your mouth to preserve it, but with a veneer, you want to get it out immediately. If it’s in one piece, great. If not, get out as many pieces as you can. Try not to swallow any piece of it. 

However, if you do swallow any pieces of the veneer, don’t worry. It’s not toxic, and it will pass through your system safely. In fact, if the veneer is whole, we may be able to reattach it after passing through your system. However, we can’t inspect it until it emerges, so we can’t guarantee it. Given the uncertainty, some people prefer ju get a new veneer. 

Step 2: Put the Veneer in a Safe Place

Once you have the veneer out of your mouth, clean it off and dry it gently. Although they are strong when attached to your tooth, it’s a very slim piece of ceramic and delicate when not attached. Once dry, put it in a hard-sided container with padding to avoid damage from jolts and shocks. 

Step 3: Contact a Cosmetic Dentist

Now that the veneer is safely secured, you can contact a cosmetic dentist. The dentist will look at your tooth to determine if it’s best to reattach the veneer or replace it. Depending on why it came off, it may not be the best course of action to attach it. A dentist can only tell this by looking at the veneer and your tooth. 

At Top Down Dental, we will always work hard to make room in our schedule for our patients when they have a problem. However, we are happy to help anyone in San Jose with this problem. Even if we didn’t initially place the veneer, we might be able to reattach or replace it. 

Step 4: Take Care of Your Tooth

A lost veneer is not normally an emergency. Although we will work hard to fit you into our schedule–especially if you’re our patient–it’s not usually critical that you get the veneer replaced immediately. When cosmetic dentists place a veneer, they try to remove as little tooth enamel as possible. This normally leaves some tooth enamel below the dental laminates, so the tooth is still well-protected if the dental shell comes off. This differs from dental crowns, which often have more material removed before the crown is placed. You should be able to eat, drink, and brush your teeth normally without the veneer. If you have a reason why you need the tooth covering replaced as soon as possible, let us know. 

If you experience sensitivity related to the missing veneer, apply dental wax to the tooth surface. If the tooth is still sensitive, let us know. Something more serious may be happening than just losing your wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored material. 

Don’t try to reattach the veneer yourself. 

Step 5: Make Your Dental Appointment

Why your veneer came off will determine whether we can reattach it. We may be able to reattach a veneer that came off because of the following:

  • Age
  • Poor bonding

Old veneers sometimes come off when the bonding fails. We expect the cemented veneer to stay in place for 10-15 years when properly bonded. However, diet and other factors can dissolve the bond more quickly for some people. Other times, poor bonding might cause the veneer to come off early. 

If it’s just a question of bonding, we can likely reattach it if you want. If your tooth coverings are old, you might consider updating them, too. 

Other reasons veneers might come off include the following:

  • Cavities under the veneer
  • Inappropriate use
  • Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)

In these cases, we may not be able to reattach the veneer. If you developed cavities under the dental laminates, we will examine the extent of damage and make recommendations. You may need a filling, then the veneer can go back in place. Other times, it’s best to get a dental crown to protect the tooth. 

Veneers are strong enough to use them as you should use natural teeth: for biting and chewing. Using your teeth to crack nuts, crush ice, or open packages and bottles can damage your veneers. It can still damage these wafter-thin custom made sheets of tooth-colored materials, even if you’re not directly using the veneered teeth when you do it. 

Teeth clenching and grinding can also badly damage these dental shells. If we knew about bruxism when we placed the dental laminates, we likely gave you a mouthguard to wear to protect the veneers. 

Before replacing the veneer, we’ll evaluate your bruxism and the mouthguard. In some cases, we might recommend TMJ treatment to help stabilize your bite and protect your veneers in the future. 

Help for Lost Veneers in San Jose

If you’ve lost a veneer in San Jose, cosmetic dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian can help. Please call (408) 354-5600 today for a quick appointment to assess your tooth and your veneer at Top Down Dental, serving San Jose from the Los Gatos area.