Thousands of Americans find themselves facing tooth loss and damage every year. The most common cause for those over 65 is gum disease, though many others sustain damage to their teeth as a result of injury. The American Dentists Association recommends a variety of cosmetic and restorative dentistry options to those experiencing tooth loss or damage. Dentures, dental implants, and porcelain veneers are all options available for those looking to restore the appearance of their teeth. Here, we will provide a general overview of those three options, hoping to give potential patients an idea of where they should start.
Dentures are the oldest and perhaps best known method for the replacement of missing teeth and surrounding tissue. Dentures come in two varieties: complete and partial.Complete dentures can only be used by edentulous patients, meaning that patients who still retain some of their teeth need to have them removed before they can be fitted for dentures. They replace all of a patient’s teeth and are removed at night. Partial dentures, also known as bridges are used when one or more of a patient’s teeth remain in place. Family dentists can usually fit patients for dentures in three to six weeks over the course of several visits. Though dentures have been the most popular choice for tooth replacement for many years, they are known to be uncomfortable and expensive.
Dental implants are the only cosmetic dental procedures that give the experience of natural teeth in every way. Instead of simply sitting in the mouth like dentures, dental implants are essentially replacement tooth roots. They are not generally removable and restore the appearance and function of missing teeth. A family dentist cannot place them in a single visit, as they are installed using a surgical procedure, but many patients still feel that they are the best, most convenient option for tooth replacement. Dental implants have a success rate of up to 98% and can last a lifetime if they are cared for and maintained.
Porcelain veneers not used to replace teeth, but rather to correct discoloration, worn down appearance, chips and breaks, misalignment, and gaps. Porcelain veneers cost between $500 and $1300 per veneer, though the cost of porcelain veneers only needs to cover the cost of wafer thin, albeit custom made shells designed to cover the front surface of teeth. Porcelain veneers cost less in terms of time, only requiring two visits to a family dentist. The first visit is used make a model or impression of the tooth requiring a veneer so that a laboratory can construct it. One or two weeks later, a half millimeter of enamel is removed from the tooth in question, and the veneer is permanently bonded on. Porcelain veneers cost slightly more in the long term, because they do need to be replaced periodically. Still, in a study of over 80,000 patients with veneers, 53% reported that they did not need replacement or reinstallation after ten years.
For those considering dentures, dental implants, and porcelain veneers costs must also be weighed against insurance coverage. Though most dental insurance covers dentures and dental implants at least partially, most do not cover veneers. The options ought to be considered carefully and discussed with a family dentist, though dental implants are rapidly becoming the most frequently recommended tooth replacement procedure. Ask your dentist to help you choose the best tooth replacement procedure for your mouth and enjoy the benefits of restored dental appearance and function. See more.