If your smile is not what you want it to be either from missing teeth or misshapen, discolored teeth, you may be wondering what can be done. If you have experienced a broken tooth or an extraction of a tooth and, as a result, aren’t happy with your smile, you may be considering a dental implant. Perhaps you don’t like the shape of your teeth or there is another reason why you aren’t satisfied with the way they look, you may be considering veneers. It can be confusing as to which is a better solution–veneers or dental implants. They are two very different procedures to improve dental issues. Both can strengthen your teeth and make eating, drinking, and talking more comfortable. And, both have cosmetic benefits. Here is where they differ: Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are inserted in the jawbone and then covered with a crown, while veneers are thin shells of tooth-colored material that cover the surface of a tooth. In the simplest of definitions, implants replace teeth and veneers change the look of existing teeth.
At Hamby Family Dental Center, your Fuquay Varina dentist has a depth of experience performing dental implants and veneers. How do you know which is better for your specific situation? In this article, we explain what each is and when one is recommended over another.
What Are Veneers?
Veneers are very thin shells made out of either porcelain or resin that are applied to the surface of the teeth to enhance the cosmetic aspect. They are made to fit your specific smile and improve the appearance when you have teeth that are:
- Worn down
- Oddly shaped
Veneers are a solution to solving 4 common dental problems. They are very similar to crowns in that they are applied to the core of a tooth and look like your natural teeth. Because of the visual appeal, they are usually put onto the front teeth. Veneers can be applied to one tooth, several teeth, or all teeth.
What is the Veneer Application process?
The process of getting veneers involves:
- Reshaping the existing teeth by slightly grinding them down
- Making an impression and making the veneers
- Bonding the material to the teeth
The dentist removes only a small amount of enamel from the teeth and you are fitted with temporary veneers to wear while the permanent ones are made in a dental lab. Making the veneers can take up to several weeks. But after they are made, adhering them is a painless and quick procedure performed in your dentist’s office.
Are there any problems with veneers?
When veneers haven’t been bonded correctly, you can experience shifting. This can cause recession from the gum line which in turn causes tooth decay and gum disease down the road. Veneers don’t last forever. The longevity of most veneers is about 10-15 years before they need to be replaced.
Dental implants are permanent replacements for teeth, restoring your ability to chew as well as your appearance. When you have lost a tooth or have a damaged tooth, your dentist will talk to you about getting a dental implant to fill that space. A dental implant is different from a crown in that the implant replaces a tooth rather than encasing the tooth as a crown does. The term “dental implant” technically refers to the combination of the artificial tooth root and the prosthetic tooth. Dental implants are extremely durable and strong and last many years. A very small percentage will need to be tightened or replaced due to wear.
You may need a dental implant in these situations:
- You have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, or some other reason and prefer not to wear dentures.
- You have joint pain or problems with your bite because teeth have shifted due to a missing tooth space.
- You need to renew chewing, digestion, and speech.
- You need to correct or enhance facial tissues.
- You need to support a bridge or denture.
You are a good candidate for a dental implant if you are in good general health, if you have adequate bone in your jaw to support the implant, and if you have healthy gums. For more information, see our article “How to Care for Dental Implants.“
What is the process of getting a dental implant?
When you get a dental implant, the dental professional drills a hole in the jawbone where he/she will place a metal, usually titanium, post. This is the root or the actual implant. Over the next several months, your jawbone grows into and around the post to secure it (called “osseointegration”). After that time, your oral surgeon may attach the abutment to the implant though sometimes the abutment is attached when the post is implanted. The abutment is just above the gum line and visible when you open your mouth. The final step in the process is a crown restoration. The dental professional reopens your gum to expose the implant and attach the crown to the abutment.
A crucial part of a successful implant is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant needs to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult places to successfully place dental implants because of insufficient bone quantity and quality as well as the close proximity to the sinus. A sinus augmentation may be needed to raise the sinus floor and develop bone for the placement of dental implants.
Another problematic issue can be deformities in the upper or lower jaw that leave you with an inadequate amount of bone for the implant. In this case, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the void where bone is missing. Then, the void is filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. Ridge modification has shown to greatly improve the jaw’s appearance and to increase chances of successful dental implants.
Are there any problems with dental implants?
Most dental implants are successful. However, there can be situations when the bone fails to fuse sufficiently to the metal implant. Smoking can contribute to implant failure and complications. If the bone fails to fuse correctly, the implant is removed, the bone is cleaned up, and the procedure can be tried again in about three months.
You can assist in your dental work by doing these three things:
- Practice excellent oral hygiene
- See your dentist regularly
- Avoid damaging habits
Contact Us for Dental Implants and Veneers in Fuquay-Varina, NC
The dental team at Hamby Family Dental Center is knowledgeable about performing procedures such as dental implants and veneers. Contact us today to see if either a dental implant or veneers are suitable for your dental issues. Call us at 919-552-2431 or fill out the form below.