Porcelain veneers are as strong as enamel — sometimes even stronger. For example, a high-quality veneer can cut through apples, carrots and just about any other food that natural teeth can. However, much like natural teeth, porcelain veneers are not invulnerable. While alcohol will not damage porcelain veneers, it can create other problems.
Alcohol Causes Gum Recession
When a cosmetic dentist places a veneer on a tooth, they cover the entire natural tooth surface. In a mouth with healthy gums, veneers look like natural teeth. However, if the gums recede due to gum disease, an obvious gap will be visible between the gum tissue and the edge of the veneer.
A study on alcohol and gum disease found that drinkers are more at risk of developing periodontitis (gum disease) than non-drinkers. This is because alcohol reduces saliva production, depriving the mouth of its ability to wash away food particles and bacteria. This causes an increase in plaque, which increases the chances of gum disease.
Alcohol May Erode Bonding
To attach porcelain veneers to the frontal surface of a tooth, a cosmetic dentist first needs to prepare the tooth. They do this by using acid to roughen the enamel surface, a procedure that creates pits and fissures. The dentist then applies a luting cement or bonding resin. They then place the veneers and finish up by using a curing light to set the bonding.
When consumed in moderation, alcohol should not affect the bonding material. However, because of its acidic nature, large amounts of alcohol can erode the luting cement. In time, this could cause a veneer to break off.
Dark Alcohol Causes Stains
Another way that alcohol can damage veneers is through staining. Dark beverages such as red wine, dark beers and cocktails with cranberry juice are some of the worst staining culprits. Thus, by sticking to light-coloured alcohol, such as light beer and white wine, a person with veneers can avoid staining.
Moderation Is Key to Longevity
If you plan to get veneers or if you already have them, be ready to adjust how you consume alcohol. You don't have to quit altogether. However, by keeping the above issues in mind, you can ensure that your veneers last a decade or more.
Visit your dentist every six months to identify any issues you might not have noticed. If you spot damage early, you can ensure that any necessary repairs are minimal.