An astonishing 178 million Americans — this is how many people in the US that are missing at least one tooth! Worse, 40 million of these people have lost all their permanent teeth!
Aside from tooth loss, dental trauma is also pretty common. So much so that at least 4.5% of the general population suffers from such mouth injuries. These include chipped, cracked, worn, and broken teeth.
Fortunately, treatments like implants and veneers can help fix these issues.
Ready to compare dental implants vs veneers and when to consider which? Then be sure to read on, as we’ll give you the lowdown on these two restorative dentistry procedures!
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are semi-permanent, fixed oral appliances that replace lost tooth roots. Most implants use titanium, as this metal has a high biocompatibility rate. Some, however, are of ceramic construction.
Either way, implants closely mimic natural teeth, both in function and appearance. Of course, they can’t beat the original, nor are they meant to replace existing teeth. However, they are the best option when it comes to replacing teeth you’ve already lost. And if you’re looking to simply straighten your teeth, we recommend that you opt for dental veneers at this clinic.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Since implants replace the lowest portion of lost teeth, their placement involves surgery. Depending on the type of implant, it may either go straight into or right above the jawbone.
There are two primary types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are those that go straight into the jawbone. Subperiosteal implants, on the other hand, are those placed right above the jawbone.
Once placed, the artificial root integrates with the bone, while the gums heal over it. This process is what you call “osseointegration.”
As soon as the gums recover, the dentist will connect an “abutment” to the implant. Abutments are connecting posts that join the actual artificial tooth to the implant. After this, the replacement tooth will finally go on top of the gums.
The entire process can take a few months in individuals with enough health gums. It can take longer in patients who would need other procedures first, such as gum grafts.
The Longevity of Implants
The great thing about dental implants is that they can survive for up to 20 years. They can last even longer with proper oral hygiene, and of course, regular trips to the dentist.
What’s more, dental implants have always had a high success and safety rate. According to this post about dental implants by cosmetic dentist, Dr. Tara Hardin, these oral appliances have a success rate of up to 98%.
What About Veneers?
Veneers are super-thin shells of either resin or ceramic materials. They do look like natural teeth, but they only cover the front surface or the visible part of the teeth. As such, they don’t replace lost teeth; instead, they correct issues like stains, chips, or cracks.
Unlike tooth implants, there’s no major surgery involved in placing dental veneers. Their placement, however, requires the removal of a tiny amount of enamel. This is necessary to prevent the shell from making the teeth too thick or “bulky.”
Also, you don’t have to worry about pain, as you can get a shot of anesthesia during the procedure.
After removing enough enamel, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth. The dental mold will then go to a laboratory where the actual construction of the veneer will take place.
The veneer making process may take a few days to a week or two, depending on how busy the lab is. To protect your resized teeth, you’ll need to wear temporary veneers in the meantime.
Once the veneers are ready, your dentist will have you come in for the final steps of the procedure.
Before placing the veneers on your teeth, your dentist will etch your teeth first. This involves making very thin scratches on the surface of the teeth. This process will help the resin or porcelain shell bond better to the tooth.
After this, your dentist will bond the veneer onto your teeth. A special type of dental cement will secure the shell onto the tooth surface.
During the bonding process, the dentist will direct a special type of light on the treated teeth. This will activate the chemicals that the dental cement contains. The light will trigger these substances to harden and cure.
After this, your dentist will get rid of any excess cement and give your teeth a final polish. Your dentist will also check your bite to ensure the proper alignment of the veneers.
Dental Implants vs Veneers: When Should You Get Which?
If you’re missing any of your pearly whites, implants can serve as their replacement. You can even get full mouth dental implants if you’ve lost all your permanent teeth!
Compared to other types of prostheses, such as dentures, implants are way more durable. Also, implants not only restore your mouth’s functions — they can help prevent bone loss. Researchers even found that these artificial tooth roots can trigger new bone growth.
On the other hand, if your dental health concerns are due to weakened teeth, veneers make more sense. These wafer shells can help reinforce worn teeth and keep further enamel damage at bay. They can also hide stains, tiny chips, and minor breakages.
Veneers can also help correct minor diastemata, which are spaces between teeth. If the gap is narrow enough, then you may want to go with porcelain veneers instead of orthodontics.
Long Story Short: You Can Get Both Implants and Veneers
When comparing dental implants vs veneers, keep in mind that implants are for lost teeth. Veneers, on the other hand, are for strengthening or fixing existing teeth. So, if some of your teeth are missing while others have damage, you can benefit from both treatments.
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