Having one of your front teeth damaged, either as a result of an accident, decay or injury, is a very difficult thing to deal with. Looking at yourself in the mirror without your tooth or with a damaged tooth can literally leave you feeling depressed. This is because there is a strong connection between the appearance of your teeth and the way that you feel about yourself, as well as the way that those around you treat you. Understandably, you are concerned about taking steps to repair or replace your damaged or missing tooth. The team of professionals at the office of Dr. Latha Subramanian, DDS is here to help. However, the question is, is it better to get dental implants or is it better to get veneers? To answer that question, it is important to know what happens to your mouth when you lose a tooth.
The Unseen Effects of Tooth Loss
The aesthetic effects of losing a tooth are very visible. And the psychological effects, as well as the social consequences, are clear to see. However, with tooth loss, there is something going on underneath the surface that can have a serious effect not only on how your teeth function, but also on your overall health and your facial aesthetics.
Your jawbone requires stimulation from your teeth in order to maintain its density. Throughout the day, your teeth come into contact with each other hundreds of times. These small stresses affect your jawbone, causing it to remodel and to constantly rebuild itself. When you lose a tooth, that stimulation is gone. And you can lose up to 25 percent of the width of your jawbone within one year of losing your tooth.
As your jawbone decreases, your gum tissue also starts to decrease. This, in turn, affects your ability to speak and chew as well as the health of the surrounding teeth. This may lead to future tooth loss and more loss of function. The more teeth you lose, the more function is lost, and the more aesthetic issues arise until you become toothless.
In extreme cases, bone loss related to tooth loss can make you prone to jaw fractures. If you lose your back teeth, your bite changes, and so your front teeth are pushed forward or squished. Your front teeth are not designed to support the weight of your face, and so they become damaged.
As you can see, losing a tooth has many hidden negative health and aesthetic effects. A better understanding of what happens to your mouth and your jaw when you lose a tooth can make it easier for you to decide whether or not veneers or dental implants are the right choice for you.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
The American Dental Association defines veneers as custom-designed shells that cover the front of the teeth. The shells are relatively thin and have a color that matches the rest of your teeth. Veneers are the perfect option for fixing imperfections like chips in your teeth, a crooked tooth or stains. They are designed to be a permanent fix because before they are adhered to your tooth, a small portion of the existing tooth enamel is removed.
Most veneers are made from a composite resin or porcelain. During the application process, our dentist will remove a small portion of the enamel of the tooth that is being worked on. Then a mold is made of the problematic tooth. The mold is sent to a laboratory, where the veneer is designed.
Most people opt for porcelain veneers as opposed to composite resin because although composite resin is easier to adhere and can be made quicker, it is not as sturdy or as durable as porcelain. Porcelain can be cleaned in the same way as you clean your natural teeth. In addition to brushing and flossing, you will need to schedule regular visits to our office.
It is important to note that veneers are designed to cover over damaged teeth. They are not designed to replace missing teeth. There are some limitations to what they can do and what situations they can be used in. Our dentist will be able to thoroughly explain these limitations to you during an initial consultation.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are manually positioned into your jawbone. With time, the titanium will fuse with your bone, making the implant a permanent part of your jaw. Once the implant has been installed, our dentist can mount a replacement tooth on top of it.
Dental implants provide a solid base to support artificial teeth. They are not like dentures or bridges. Dentures and bridges might slip or shift in your mouth. There are a lot of limitations to what you can eat when you use dentures or bridges. All of this disappears with dental implants. Once the implant is secure in your mouth, individual crowns will be placed over the implant. This gives your teeth a natural look and feel.
Implants are a great option for individuals who cannot use or who do not want to use dentures. One of the major advantages of dental implants is that unlike bridges, none of your other teeth need to be damaged or prepared in order to hold down the replacement tooth. The implant is supported by its own screw and does not require support from the adjoining teeth.
To get a dental implant, your gums should be healthy, and you should have enough bone in your jaw to support the implant. Dental implants are designed to last for the rest of your life. But for this to happen, you have to be meticulous when it comes to your dental care. You must visit our office regularly for long-term success.
These implants are not designed to repair slightly damaged teeth. Instead, they are designed to replace a tooth that has been damaged to the point where it needs to be removed or to replace a tooth that has been lost as a result of an injury, a medical procedure or an accident. They provide a long-term solution that gives you the freedom to eat, speak, sing and do anything else you would normally do with a natural tooth.
A Closer Look at Dental Implants Versus Veneers
When deciding whether you want dental implants or veneers, there are a few factors to consider. First, you need to consider the severity of your tooth damage. A veneer is a perfect option for minor cosmetic damage. If you have teeth that are stained, have a small chip or have some minor spacing or alignment issues that don’t require braces, then veneers might be a good option.
Major damage, such as a tooth that has been broken all the way to the gum line, or other serious restorative dental issues, would likely benefit from the long-term solution provided with dental implants. One benefit of implants is that since they replace the damaged tooth, they remove the possibility of future infections or complications.
Another question is, does your bite need to be corrected? When you lose a tooth, your teeth are going to shift to adjust to the tooth loss. The only way to prevent this is with a dental implant. This will fill the gap created by your missing tooth and help you keep the rest of your teeth aligned and spaced. Veneers are not designed to fix a bite issue. What they can do is fix the way that the alignment of your teeth is perceived by others, making an aesthetic change.
Then there is the factor of longevity. A porcelain veneer is very easy to put on and relatively easy to replace. That being said, you will need to replace your porcelain veneers once every 10 years or so. Conversely, dental implants require a longer procedure and have a longer recovery time. However, they are designed to last for at least 25 years. So, depending on how old you are when you get the implant, it could be a procedure that lasts you for the rest of your life.
Contact Our Office Today to Learn More Information
The team at the office of Dr. Latha Subramanian, DDS will work with you in determining what is the best route for you to take when it comes to protecting your oral health. Remember, your smile is a very important thing. It has a powerful impact on the way that others view you and the way that you view yourself. It also affects your overall health and well-being. Don’t let a missing tooth, a chipped tooth or a stained tooth rob you of your ability to smile or your self-confidence.
Talk to Dr. Subramanian and her friendly staff in Mountain View to see whether porcelain veneers or dental implants are the right choice to give you the smile you want and deserve. Life is too short to go about your days with an unhealthy, dull smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about your treatment options!