Ivan Ho, DDS, Smile Transformation Specialist
Award-winning Orange County Dentist Ivan Ho explains everything that you need to know about dental implants and veneers.
Dental Implants vs. Veneers
Everyone wants a beautiful smile. Research has shown that your smile is the first thing that people notice about you. If you have a beautiful and attractive smile, people will perceive you as friendly, socially approachable, and successful. The loss of even a single tooth can ruin your smile and significantly impair your ability to eat and speak properly. That is why we offer dental implants – not only to allow you to eat and speak without difficulty – but also to give you a beautiful smile that boosts your self-confidence.
When looking to improve their smile, patients are often interested in both dental implants and porcelain veneers. Together, dental implants and veneers can give you a smile that you are looking for— with perfectly aligned, pearly white, and well-shaped teeth. Beyond that, both these restorative options have very little in common. The problems each address, as well as the procedures they are used for each, are entirely different.
So how do you know which is the better option for you, dental implants vs. veneers?
The short answer is this:
- If you have missing teeth, then dental implants are by far the best option.
- If you have healthy teeth that have cosmetic defects, then veneers are an excellent option.
Dental Implants – What Are They For?
Dental implants are used to replace one or more missing teeth. An implant serves as a replacement root embedded in the jawbone and provides a foundation for the artificial teeth.
You might think that it is not necessary to replace a missing back tooth that is not really visible when you smile — but it is. It’s not just about your smile! Every tooth helps you with eating and speaking. Our back teeth are essential in grinding food into smaller particles so that they can be digested. So, if you don’t replace a missing back tooth, it can significantly hamper your ability to properly chew, and hence, digest food.
Preventing a Receding Jawbone
As we age, the bones in our body, including the jawbones, start to recede. In the mouth, this age-related recession of the bone and gum tissues results in making the teeth appear longer, as more of the tooth structure is revealed. The same thing happens when you lose a tooth; the jawbone and gum tissue recedes and continues to shrivel away, unless you insert an artificial root within the bone, in the form of an implant. Dental implants are made from Titanium alloys that possess a unique feature of promoting bone growth around them. Hence titanium implants mimic the natural processes, and prevent bone loss, and even promote new bone formation in the jaws.
Putting Your Entire Mouth and Overall Health at Risk
Each tooth helps maintain the integrity and position of the other teeth in the upper or lower jaw. This is important to keep in mind when considering dental veneers vs. implants. When one or more is missing, the adjacent teeth creep into the vacant space and create a variety of cosmetic and function problems, such as:
- Bite: Your upper and lower teeth have a specific pattern of fitting together when the mouth is closed. When a tooth is lost, there is a definite change in your bite – that may result in the dislocation of the lower jaw, causing pain, headaches, lockjaw – and even difficulty in eating and speaking.
- Chewing: When you eat food, it results in the release of saliva that has antibacterial enzymes and is also the first step in breaking down food. If you cannot chew food properly due to missing teeth, it can ultimately cause digestive problems.
- Speech: You might often see people with missing teeth having difficulty in pronouncing words clearly. This is because each tooth helps in generating a specific sound with the help of the tongue. As teeth shift, you may experience certain speech impediments, such as hissing or whistling.
- Sagging facial tissues: As the jawbone recedes and teeth shift, the support of facial muscles is significantly decreased, causing hollow cheeks and/or sagging of the face – and making you look older.
What is the procedure for inserting a dental implant?
First, Dr. Ivan Ho will place a titanium post inside the jawbone at a predetermined position where you have a missing tooth. The implant stimulates the root component of the missing tooth. It promotes new bone to grow around it, resulting in firm anchoring of the implant. If you are replacing more than one Tooth, Dr. Ivan Ho will determine the best strategic placement of the multiple posts that will be needed, so that you do not need a post for every missing tooth.
Then, Dr. Ivan will attach a titanium abutment – that connects the implant with the artificial tooth – on the surface of the implant that is visible above the gumline. The function of an abutment is to stabilize the crown or false teeth.
Lastly, Dr. Ivan Ho will attach a ceramic crown — that looks and acts just like a natural tooth— onto the abutment.
Typically, it takes up to six months for the bone to completely heal around the implant. However, thanks to the innovative clinical technique of Dr. Ivan Ho and our state-of-art 3D imaging equipment, you can walk out the door with a gorgeous, natural, temporary implant-supported bridge (or crown for a single tooth) that rivals many permanent bridges – so no need to worry.
Why Dental Implants Are Better than Dentures
Dental implants have nowadays become the most preferred tooth replacement among dentists and patients. Here are some of the top reasons for choosing implants over conventional dentures and bridges:
- Durability – Implants are permanent and do not need to be removed every night for cleaning.
- Improved Oral Hygiene – unlike fixed bridges where it is difficult to clean the area under the artificial teeth, you can easily brush your implants as you would any tooth.
- No Slippage or Speech Difficulty – a severe problem associated with the conventional dentures that they often slip, causing embarrassment and creating difficulty in speaking. Implants do not slip as they are permanently anchored within the bone, just like the natural teeth. Therefore, they allow you to talk without difficulty.
- Eat all your Favorite Foods – dentists instruct denture wearers to avoid hard any sticky food, as they can result in their fracture or slippage. Implants eliminate this problem; they are firmly embedded within the bone, and you can eat all your favorite foods, just like you do with your own natural teeth.
- Prevent Bone Loss – Most importantly, implants stimulate bone growth, as opposed to the dentures that exert pressure during chewing and wear down the underlying jawbone. Dental implants, on the other hand, prevent bone resorption and may even promote new bone formation in the region.
Veneers – What Are They For?
Veneers are porcelain “covers” that are cemented onto the front surface of existing teeth to restore a variety of cosmetic and restorative dental problems, such as:
- Misshapen or crooked teeth.
- Misaligned teeth
- Excessive teeth gaps.
- Chipped or fractured teeth.
- Discolored teeth
What is the procedure for getting veneers?
At Pro Smiles Orange County, our award-winning cosmetic dentist, Dr. Ivan Ho, can complete the entire process in a week – with just two visits required —the first on a Monday, the second on a Friday.
- In the first visit, Dr. Ivan Ho will prepare the damaged teeth by grinding down their bottom and sides – to make room for the bonding of the veneer(s). Depending on the number of teeth being prepared, the entire process may take anywhere between one and four hours.
- After tooth preparation, Dr. Ivan Ho will make an impression of your teeth and send them to the laboratory for fabrication. To ensure that your smile and facial aesthetics are not affected while your veneers are being prepared, we will place temporary veneers on the prepared teeth – giving you an opportunity to “feel” and adjust to your “new look.”
- Between the first and second visits, our master technician at our exclusive dental laboratory will carefully craft your set of permanent veneers to perfection.
- In the second visit, Dr. Ivan Ho will fit your permanent veneers – making any minor adjustments at the chairside if needed – and cement them permanently to the affected teeth.
Dr. Ivan Ho: The Smile Transformation Expert
Dr. Ivan Ho is one of the most highly respected and sought-after experts on dental procedures, both locally and abroad. As a leader in the field of dental cosmetics, he has dedicated his life to crafting beautiful smiles in a caring, comfortable, and painless environment at his fully equipped Orange County office.