Dental implants and veneers are two common cosmetic dentistry procedures for improving dental health and appearance. Although used interchangeably, they serve distinct purposes and involve different processes.
While dental implant replaces lost tooth, veneer is used for improving dental imperfections.
Understanding the differences between these two procedures will help you know the one that best fits your dental needs.
In this article, you’ll learn what dental implant and veneer are, procedure processes for each of them, their pros and cons, ideal candidates for each of them, and more.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a procedure for permanent tooth replacement. First, a metal post is implanted into a hole in your jawbone. The jaw bone tissue grows into this post over a period of time, and then the dentist attaches an abutment on the metal post and finally a tooth.
A dental implant is an option for individuals who have lost their tooth or have it extracted. A missing tooth can be bad for your wellbeing -it may look ugly and can affect your smile and confidence. Secondly, it causes your jawbone and gums to recede, making you look older and negatively impacting the general functionality of the mouth.
Additionally, a missing tooth, especially at the back of your mouth, forces other teeth to fill up that space and this creates more gaps in your teeth. By replacing missing teeth, a dental implant prevents the above adverse effects.
What are Veneers?
Veneers are custom-made porcelain or resin shells used to correct dental imperfections or abnormalities. They are applied to the surface of the teeth to improve your appearance and smile. Veneers are typically for individuals who have misshapen, broken, discolored or misaligned teeth.
Veneers are primarily used to improve the overall aesthetics of your teeth, boosting your confidence in the public. Depending on your choice and the dentist’s recommendation, you may apply veneers to only the affected tooth or to all your teeth to create a uniform appearance. Veneers come in different types depending on the material used and they include:
- Porcelain Veneers: This is the most natural-looking and most common of all veneers. Porcelain veneers are durable but also expensive. It’s best for fixing gaps, chips, and discoloration.
- Composite Veneer: This is made from composite resin materials. It can be an alternative when porcelain veneer is not affordable. Composite veneer, however, is not as durable as porcelain and may need to be replaced more frequently.
- Lumineer: Lumineer is an ultra-thin porcelain veneer that can applied on the teeth for minor corrections.
- Zirconia Veneer: Made from strong ceramic material, zirconia veneers are used to correct extensive tooth damage or tooth decay that may not be effectively corrected with porcelain veneers.
- Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) Veneer: This veneer is prepared with porcelain and metal, giving it both aesthetic appeal and strength and durability.
Dental Implant Procedure
1. Consultation and Planning
Before a dental implant takes place, you’ll have to schedule a consultation with your dentist. The dentist evaluates your dental health and discuss the treatment process with you. They then tailor the treatment plan to your situation, accounting for factors such as the number of teeth to be replaced, your jaw bone density, and the condition of other teeth.
The dentist may also run an x-ray or 3D scan to assess your teeth and jaw bone and may even apply bone grafting if the jaw bone lacks sufficient thickness or strength to support the implant.
If you’re looking for an experienced dentist for a seamless dental implant, BDG Dental Group is here to transform your smile with our comprehensive dental procedure. With 30 years of experience and our exceptional expertise, we have served many clients including celebrities and international clients. Book an appointment with us to get started.
2. Implant Placement
Here, the dentist apply the metal post into the jaw bone. The metal post, typically made of titanium alloy for biocompatibility with the bone tissue, serves as the anchor for the crown (the artificial tooth). To apply the metal post, the dentist would need to make an incision on the gum and drill a hole into the jaw bone. A temporary denture may be attached after the implant to cover the gaps and improve your appearance while the bone heals.
3. Osseointegration (Healing Phase)
After implanting the metal post, the bone tissue needs time to grow and heal. This period of healing is known as osseointegration and may take several months. During this process, the jawbone grows and unites with the surface of the metal post, providing a solid base for the implantation of the new tooth.
4. Abutment Placement
After the osseointegration, the dentist would place the abutment on the implant. To do this, the dentist opens the gum to expose the metal post and then attaches the abutment to the implant. In some cases, the abutment would be attached to the metal post when it’s being implanted, which eliminates the need for a separate abutment placement process.
5. Crown Placement
After the abutment placement, a custom made dental crown is attached to the abutment, providing a functional and natural looking tooth. The implant will take some time to heal, and during this process, you may have several appointments with your dentist to monitor the healing process.
Veneer Placement Procedure
1. Initial Consultation
Like any other cosmetic procedure, the placement process of dental veneers starts with consultation and planning. The dentist may run a scan to determine if you’re a good candidate for veneer procedure, and also to detect whether there’s an underlying cause of the dental imperfection. Also, the dentist will discuss the treatment process and your desired outcome.
2. Tooth Preparation
At this stage, a tiny portion of the enamel needs to be removed to accommodate the placement of the veneer and ensure a natural looking teeth. Removing the enamel is a quick procedure and requires that you’re under a local anesthesia to reduce sensitivity.
3. Taking Impression
To create custom-made dental veneers, the dentist first create the impression using a traditional putty impression or intraoral scanner. The shade of the veneer is also another important consideration and the choice may depend on the color of your teeth or your expected outcome (in the case of fixing discoloration). The shade guide can help you choose the best shade for your veneer.
4. Veneer Placement
After the impression, custom-made veneers are prepared in the lab. The dentist then bonds the veneer to the teeth using dental adhesive. But before permanently bonding the veneer, the dentist may check your bite and ask for your feedback. Once you’re satisfied with the result, the dentist permanently bonds the veneers and clean off the excess cements.
Pros and Cons
Pros of Dental Implant
- Long lasting: The strength and the biocompatibility of the metal implant make the foundation of the artificial teeth stable and firmly fused with the jawbone. With proper care and maintenance, the implant can last a lifetime.
- Prevents Bone Loss: Because dental implant mimics the function of the tooth roots, it eliminates bone loss. Bone loss is a gradual deterioration of the jaw bone due to tooth loss.
- Functions Like a Natural Tooth: The appearance of a dental implant looks like natural teeth. Also, most people with dental implants confirm that most oral functions like biting, speech, and eating feel more natural.
Cons of Dental Implant
- Requires Surgery: Dental implants require surgery on the gums and the jaw bones and this may pose some risks such as hemorrhage, infections, and shocks. Also, many people have phobia for surgery, and if you’re one of them, dental implants may be a scary option.
- Longer Healing Process: It may take up to 12 months for the bone tissue to heal after bone grafting. Osseointegration also takes 4 to 6 months. Additionally, you may have multiple appointments with your dentist during this period. A dental implant is not a quick fix and not everyone will have sufficient time and patience to go through the procedure.
- Costlier Upfront: Comparing dental implants to dentures and bridges, dental implants are costly. It may cost anywhere between $3k to $5k per tooth to have a successful dental implant while dental bridges may cost $1k to $2.5k per tooth replacement.
Pros of Dental Veneer
- Quick Cosmetic Fix: Unlike dental implants, you can get your veneers implanted in just one or two visits, providing a quick cosmetic transformation of the teeth’s appearance.
- Less Invasive: Only a tiny portion of the tooth enamel is removed in the center placement procedure, making it a less invasive approach. This may be a good alternative for individuals who are not comfortable with surgery and other invasive procedures.
- Can Fix Multiple Aesthetic Issues at Once: Dental veneers can cover tooth stains, chips, misshape, cracks and misalignments all at once. This makes it the best approach if you have multiple minor dental abnormalities.
Cons of Dental Veneer
- Not as Long Lasting as Dental Implant: Veneers can last for some couple of years depending on the material. For example, porcelain veneers may last up to 10 years, while composite veneers may last about 5 years. It’s, however, not comparable to a dental implant which lasts a lifetime.
- Potential for Tooth Sensitivity: The removal of tooth enamel may cause the tooth to become sensitive to temperature. However, this sensitivity is usually mild and subsides after some time.
- Doesn’t Address Underlying Health Issues: Dental veneers are primarily for improving the aesthetic appearance of the affected tooth and does not address the possible underlying cause such as decay or gum disease. If you have major dental issues, your dentist may recommend other procedures such as dental crowns or implants.
Ideal Candidates for Dental Implants
You’re an ideal candidate for dental implants if you:
- Have one or multiple missing teeth
- Have good gum and bone health
- Have sufficient bone density and strength
- Don’t smoke
- Are seeking a long-term solution
- Are willing to dedicate months or even more than a year to go through the process
Ideal Candidates for Veneers
You’re an ideal candidate for dental veneers if you:
- Have minor cosmetic imperfections such as chips, wear, discoloration, misalignment, misshape, and cracks.
- Have adequate enamel for bonding the veneers
- Looking for a faster dental cosmetic solution
- Have a good general oral health
Maintenance and Care for Dental Implants
Daily Brushing and Flossing
Brush your teeth at least twice daily using a soft toothbrush. Carefully clean the crown implant and the surrounding gum area. Also, use dental implant floss to remove debris and clean between your implants.
Regular Dental Check-ups
Schedule regular checkups with your dentist to monitor the condition of your implant and your overall dental health. The dentist will examine the implant and the surrounding gum, assess its stability and may remove unpleasant particles such as plaque.
Avoid Extreme Pressure
Excessive pressure can damage the implant, so you should avoid hard objects like bones, ice, or hard fingernails. If you’re engaging in contact sports or martial arts that may pose dental injury, wear a mouth guard to protect your mouth and teeth.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
Observe good oral hygiene and avoid foods and beverages that may negatively impact your oral health. Such foods may include tobacco, alcohol, and sugary foods.
Maintenance and Care for Veneers
Avoid Stain-Causing Foods and Drinks
Highly pigmented foods and beverages may cause the discoloration of your natural teeth and possibly the veneer depending on the material. Composite veneers may be easily stained while porcelain veneers can withstand stain. However, even if the veneer is stain-resistant, the underlying tooth may discolor and this will be obvious.
Stop Using Your Teeth for Opening Package
Using your teeth for opening packages such as can locks or bottle covers may damage or dislodge your veneer. Use the right tool to open your package.
Daily Oral Hygiene Routine
Clean your veneered teeth just like you clean your natural teeth. Brush your teeth twice daily with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste. Also floss out food debris from between your teeth and gum areas.
Regular Dental Check ups
Visit your dentist regularly for professional monitoring and assessment of your veneer and oral health. Your dentist will also proffer you relevant advice in the case of any development.
Costs and Financing Associated With Dental Implants and Veneers
Dental implants and veneers are both procedures for improving the appearance and functionality of the teeth, but they differ in prices. On average, dental implants cost ranges from $3k to $5k per tooth while veneer price sits between $500 to $2500 per tooth on average. The price, however, may vary based on the individual requirements, the number of teeth to be fixed, and other several factors such as:
- Location: Expect a higher cost of dental procedure in metropolis than in minor cities and communities.
- Dentist’s Experience: The more experienced the dentist, the higher their cosmetic dentistry price.
- Materials Used: The more the quality of the material used, the higher the price. For example, porcelain veneer costs more than composite veneer.
- The complexity of the Procedure: The more the tooth damage, the more complex the procedure which affects the price.
Dental implant is a procedure for permanently replacing lost tooth while veneers are applied to correct minor dental imperfections or abnormalities such as chipped teeth and gaps. Before deciding which procedure to opt for, consult with your dentist as they will help you determine the best choice based on your individual needs and circumstances.
And if you’re searching for a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills, BDG Dental Group is here to give you that beautiful and healthy smile. Book an appointment with us and see why we are the top-rated cosmetic dentist in the country.