Dental Implants & Porcelain Veneers: What’s the Difference?

Dental implants and porcelain veneers are among the most popular tooth restoration options available today. If you need a little work done, each offers a natural-looking solution for a beautiful smile.

dental implants

So what’s the difference between dental implants and veneers? And how do you determine which tooth restoration method is right for you?

What Are Dental Implants?

Essentially, dental implants are artificial replacements for your natural teeth. Each implant has three parts: a titanium post, an abutment and a crown. The post is the critical component, as it takes the place of the missing tooth’s root.

Standard implant surgery involves a series of procedures over the course of several months.

First, the titanium post is placed into the jawbone. Once the area heals and the surrounding bone tissue fuses with the post, an abutment is attached to connect the post with a crown. Before beginning the implant surgery process, however, some patients require a bone graft to ensure adequate support for the new replacement teeth.

Patients who don’t require bone grafts may be candidates for Teeth-in-a-Day implants. With the Teeth-in-a-Day procedure, the titanium post, abutment and a temporary crown are placed during a single office visit. A few weeks later, after you’ve healed, the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent crown.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin slices of a porcelain that cover the front of your teeth. Veneers are typically considered a form of cosmetic dentistry.

The veneer process typically requires several trips to the dentist for planning, preparation and application. To prepare teeth for veneers, the dentist must remove enamel in a thickness equal to that of the veneer.

Then the porcelain shell is bonded to the front of the tooth.

Should You Choose Dental Implants or Porcelain Veneers?

Implants and veneers can both give you a natural smile that’s easy to care for, but these two tooth restoration methods are not interchangeable.

Veneers are used with teeth that are essentially functional and healthy, but that have cosmetic issues. Teeth that have gaps or that are discolored, worn, chipped or uneven can be aesthetically improved with porcelain veneers.

However, porcelain veneers are thin and therefore vulnerable to damage from hard or sticky foods. Teeth can become sensitive below veneers (as a result of stripping away the enamel), and they can still decay. Plus, this tooth restoration method only lasts for about 5 to 10 years, no matter how carefully you care for them.

Dental implants, on the other hand, are used to replace teeth that are missing or damaged beyond the point of saving. Implants feel, fit and function just like natural teeth, and with proper care, they can last a lifetime.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah offers a variety of tooth restoration options. Our experienced team can assist you in selecting the right approach to get you smiling again. Contact one of our convenient Salt Lake City offices today to schedule a professional consultation to discuss tooth restoration and dental implants.