Among the best methods of tooth restoration, dental implants and porcelain veneers are two of the most popular options, with oral surgeons and patients alike. Both methods offer a natural-looking solution to imperfections in your smile, but they are not interchangeable, as each is best suited for different purposes.
To determine which restoration method might be best for you, it’s important to understand the difference between dental implants and porcelain veneers and how each type can affect your lifestyle and overall oral health.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacements for natural teeth. An implanted tooth has three parts — the titanium post, the ceramic crown and an abutment which connects the post to the crown.
Standard implant surgery involves more than one procedure. First, the titanium post is set in the jawbone. Then, a few months later, when the post has fused with the bone, the abutment and crown are added. And in some cases, patients need to undergo bone grafting before any of this takes place.
For anyone with a strong, healthy jawbone, the entire implant surgery process can be completed in a single office visit. With the Teeth-in-a-Day technique, patients go home with a full smile, then return a few weeks later to exchange the temporary crown for a custom-made permanent one.
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers, or dental porcelain laminates, are paper-thin ceramic shells designed to improve the look of your smile by covering the front surfaces of the teeth.
Getting dental veneers typically involves several office visits for treatment planning, tooth preparation and veneer application. About ½ millimeter of the surface must be shaved away in order to make room for the laminate shells. Then, several weeks later when the veneers are ready, they are attached to the teeth with a special cement.
Are Dental Implants or Porcelain Veneers Better for You?
To answer this question, consider the state of your smile.
If you have gaps in your grin, dental implants are the tooth restoration solution you need. Implants are replacements for missing teeth, and they can last a lifetime with proper care — which, by the way, is just as easy as caring for your natural teeth.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, can be a good choice if you have healthy, functional teeth with cosmetic issues. Teeth that are discolored, worn down, chipped or irregularly shaped can be aesthetically improved with dental laminates.
However, veneers can leave your teeth more sensitive. And because they are thin, laminates are vulnerable to damage from hard and sticky foods. Furthermore, though they are easy to care for, porcelain veneers only last for about 5 to 10 years.
Are you finally ready to improve the look of your smile? Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery offers a range of tooth restoration options, including dental implants. If you live in the greater Indianapolis area, contact us and schedule a professional consultation today.