Are you hiding your smile every day? Do you feel uncomfortable flashing your pearly whites and instead offer up a tip-lipped smile? Unfortunately, many people are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth. You see people with beautiful smiles, such as your favorite Hollywood stars, and feel like your smile is inferior. What you don’t know is that most of those stars were not born with those beautiful smiles and many have cosmetic dentistry to thank. Two top dental options to help improve your smile: veneers vs dental implants. But how do you know which cosmetic treatment is best for you? At Laguna Vista Dental, that all depends on what dental concerns you are trying to address.
What Are Veneers?
Dental veneers are a super-thin shell designed to bond to the visible surface of your teeth. The idea behind veneers is to cosmetically improve the appearance of healthy teeth. They are either made of composite resin or porcelain. Composite resin offers a quicker treatment option, allowing the dentist to place the veneer in one visit. Porcelain veneers require two to three visits. However, they reflect light in the same way that natural teeth do, providing a much more natural look.
When Do You Need Veneers?
Veneers enhance the appearance of healthy teeth. If you have discoloration on the surface of your teeth, veneers can help restore a beautifully white smile. But they can address much more than simple color changes. Veneers can alter irregular teeth’ shape, increase the size and length of teeth, and help restore cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. If enamel wear has created rough spots on your teeth’ surface, veneers can help give you that smooth feeling back.
How Do Veneers Work?
At Laguna Vista Dental, we prefer porcelain veneers for their natural appearance and durability. In most cases, it will take three office visits to complete the treatments. On your first visit, the dentist goes over your dental concerns and evaluates how well veneers will address them. During the second visit, the dental team creates your veneers. Once created, the dentist applies them to your teeth, which will be on your third appointment.
What are the Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers offer a variety of benefits, but they do have some things to consider. When thinking about choosing veneers, keep these pros and cons in mind.
- Permanently whiten your smile – While teeth bleaching is always an option when it comes to stained and discolored teeth unless you give up coffee, smoking, wine, or foods with pigments, such as berries, chances are your teeth will stain again. Veneers are mostly stain-resistant, giving you a more permanent solution to teeth whitening.
- Increased confidence – Veneers enable you to improve your smile, whether improving your teeth’ color or shape. You will feel confident putting your best smile forward.
- Protect teeth with damaged enamel – Overzealous tooth brushing, highly acidic foods, and even acid reflux can damage the protective enamel of your teeth. This damage can lead to tooth decay and even lost teeth. Because veneers bond to the surface of your teeth, they can protect areas with enamel abrasion or erosion.
- Expensive treatment option – While the price of veneers varies by location, the American Dental Association estimates the cost to be between $925 to $2500 per tooth. Because they are cosmetic in nature, many dental insurance policies do not cover veneers.
Increased tooth sensitivity – Some people can experience sensitivity to hot or cold with veneers. In most cases, this improves with time but can remain.
- Veneers are irreversible – In order to put veneers in place, the dentist must file down the enamel on the surface of the tooth. This means that should the veneer come off, you will need to replace it or undergo a different restoration treatment.
- Veneers are stain-resistant – While this is beneficial for teeth whitening when doing your entire mouth, a single veneer may stand out as your other teeth become discolored over time.
- Porcelain veneers can damage – While porcelain veneers are durable, they can break or chip. Those that regularly eat hard foods, such as nuts, or grind their teeth, should probably avoid veneers.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent solution to replace damaged or missing teeth. Unlike dentures or crowns, this form of cosmetic dentistry offers a solution that looks and feels like a natural tooth. No worry about teeth falling out or affecting your speech as you have with dentures.
When Do You Need Dental Implants?
If you have a damaged tooth that needs to be pulled or is already missing one or more teeth, dental implants are a great solution to give you back your smile. When you lose a tooth, the problem is much more than just a missing space in your smile. Missing teeth allow other teeth to shift, affecting your bite and ability to chew. Besides, a missing tooth can affect bone health in your jaw. Dental implants replace the missing tooth, reducing shift, and the implant helps stimulate the jawbone, similar to a natural tooth.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants are a surgical procedure that typically takes a few months and is broken down into stages. The first step is to place the primary implant. This is similar in shape to a screw and is drilled into the jawbone. Once in place, you will need to allow the area to heal and allow for the jawbone to fuse with the implant. This process is known as osseointegration. Once this occurs, you are ready for step two. During this step, the surgeon connects a connector, or abutment, to the implant. This connector will hold the crown or artificial tooth in place. Once connected, the third step is connecting the crown.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a lifetime solution for missing teeth. However, as with any procedure, there are pros and cons to consider.
- Look and feel like natural teeth – Dental implants look just like your natural teeth and function the same. No need to worry about eating and chewing, and, unlike dentures, they will not affect your speech or fall out.
- Implants can last a lifetime – As long as you take care of your implants with good oral hygiene, implants can last a lifetime. However, you may need to replace your crowns every 10 to 15 years.
- Help prevents bone loss – The roots of teeth help keep your jawbone healthy and strong. When you lose a tooth, this can affect your jawbone, leading to bone loss. Dental implants function like a tooth root and help to keep your jawbone strong and healthy.
- Lengthy procedure – If you are looking for a quick fix to tooth loss, dental implants may not be for you as the procedure can take months to complete.
- Must meet requirements – Dental implants are not for everyone. If you have already experienced significant bone loss, there may not be enough bone to make an implant successful.
- High initial cost – Implants are not the cheapest option for a missing tooth. However, in the long run, there are more cost-effective.
- Failure is possible – For most people, implants are a very successful procedure. However, there is a risk that the implants can fail to bond. Some risk factors include smoking, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, and some medical conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
Veneers Vs Implants: Which Is the Right Treatment for Me?
Which treatments you need to improve your smile all depends on what dental concerns you need to address. If you are looking to improve the appearance of healthy teeth, veneers are a perfect solution. If you have missing teeth, dental implants give you a natural and permanent solution.
Laguna Vista Dental is here to help you achieve the smile you desire. For more information about dental veneers or implants, schedule an appointment today and let us help you achieve your goals and give you the beautiful smile you deserve.