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A Hidden Problem: Toothache Under a Dental Veneer

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Dental veneers are a cosmetic treatment that will keep your smile looking fantastic. But perhaps your smile doesn't feel quite so fantastic these days. Your veneers still look great, but one of your teeth has begun to feel uncomfortable. Toothache is still possible even when the tooth in question is seemingly safe beneath a veneer.

Multiple or Single

You might have had multiple veneers attached to your teeth to improve the look of your smile. You could only have a single veneer when the tooth had an imperfection that couldn't be corrected using other methods. A small amount of the tooth's surface material (its enamel) was removed to accommodate the new layer. The tooth-shaped and coloured porcelain veneer was then cemented to the tooth's outward-facing side.

Cosmetic, Not Restorative

Because a veneer is only attached to one side of the tooth, its use is cosmetic, instead of also being restorative. For example, a dental crown fits over the whole tooth, restoring a broken or damaged tooth's strength and appearance. A veneer only really changes the look of the tooth, which is still important.

Watertight Seal

Once cemented onto a tooth, the seal between the tooth's structure and the porcelain veneer should be watertight. But the veneer still experiences all the pressure of a tooth. Biting and chewing exert pressure on the veneer's surface. It's possible for it to loosen, and even though this is so minor that you won't feel it, it breaks the seal between the tooth's structure and the veneer.

Tooth Decay

This breach can allow bacteria and other potentially harmful contaminants to attack the tooth. Because this is still beneath the veneer's porcelain surface, it's not as though you can keep the site clean with your toothbrush. It's possible for tooth decay to occur beneath the veneer, with the surface of the veneer actually concealing the fact that it's happening—the problem is hidden. Your toothache might be the first warning sign.

Receiving Treatment

Consult your dentist, because they'll need to take a closer look beneath the surface of the veneer. An x-ray might be recommended, otherwise, the veneer will need to be removed. In most cases, removal will be needed for treatment, which isn't intensive. Your dentist will simply fill the cavity before re-cementing the veneer. Delaying treatment is potentially dangerous, since the tooth's decay can advance to the stage where a simple filling won't be enough, and then your veneer will need to be replaced with a more comprehensive restoration, like a dental crown.

In short, toothaches should never be ignored, and this becomes all the more important when the surface of the tooth is hidden beneath something like a dental veneer.

Reach out to a local dentist to learn more.