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Veneers or Dentures: Deciding the Best Option for Your Smile

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Lots of patients go to their dental clinics with lots of doubts regarding which is the best treatment to enhance their smile. Two of the most popular choices to do so are veneers and dentures, but they are not meant to fix the same issues. By comparing veneers vs dentures and delving into their unique characteristics, applications, and processes, you (as a patient) will gain valuable insights that can help you make an informed decision about which option aligns best with your smile goals.

In this article, we’ve uncovered the key distinctions between these two transformative dental solutions, from their cost to their aftercare.

What’s the Difference between Dentures and Veneers?

When it comes to enhancing your smile, there are various options available, each serving a unique purpose. Two popular choices to aesthetically change your smile are veneers and dentures. But what’s the difference between veneers and dentures? In this section, we compare veneers vs dentures’ basic characteristics to help you understand whether is best for you.

Dentures

Close up of a dentist's hand holding top and bottom veneers.

Dentures are removable prosthetic devices designed to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They come in two main types: partial dentures for replacing a few missing teeth and complete dentures for replacing all teeth in a jaw.

Appearance

Dentures are typically made from acrylic resin or a combination of acrylic and metal. They mimic the appearance of natural teeth and gums, restoring the aesthetics of your smile.

Purpose of dentures

Dentures are used when a person has lost multiple teeth due to decay, gum disease, or injury. They help restore functionality for chewing and speaking, as well as improve facial appearance by providing support to cheeks and lips.

The process of getting dentures

Regarding the process of getting dentures, it involves several steps depending on the type of dentures you choose. However, the general process involves the following steps:

  1. First, your dentist will check the state of your teeth to assess which is the best way to help you improve your smile based on your situation.
  2. After your initial consultation, if your dentist decides that dentures are the best fit, a dental impression of your teeth will be taken to create a custom-fit mold that will become your dentures (partial or total). Sometimes, dentists find it necessary to extract some teeth to get dentures, if that is the case, the denture process will take more time.
  3. After creating the dentures based on your impression, your dentist will make adjustments to ensure proper fit and comfort as you will wear them every day.
  4. Once the dentures are ready, your dentist will show you how to place them as well as provide instructions for care and maintenance.

Veneers

Close up of top teeth veneers

Veneers are thin shells made from porcelain or composite resin that are bonded to the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance. They are often used to address issues like discoloration, chipping, or irregularly shaped teeth.

Appearance

As well as dentures, veneers are designed to look like natural teeth, providing a seamless and uniform appearance. They are custom-made to match the color, shape, and size of your existing teeth, resulting in a natural-looking smile.

Purpose of veneers

Regarding its use, we can say that this is the main difference between dentures and veneers. Even though they are also used for cosmetic purposes to enhance the aesthetics of your smile, veneers are usually used to cover imperfections such as stains, cracked teeth, or teeth misalignment. Contrary to dentures that can be installed without having few to no teeth, veneers need an existing tooth to be installed.

The process of getting veneers

The process of getting veneers typically involves two to three visits to the dentist, but it’s straightforward.

  1. During the initial consultation, your dentist will assess your oral health and discuss your goals for treatment (why are you getting veneers, are they suitable for you, how many veneers do you want to get, etc.).
  2. They will then prepare your teeth by removing a small amount of enamel to accommodate the veneers.
  3. After that, impressions of your teeth will be taken to create the custom veneers, and temporary veneers may be placed while the permanent ones are being fabricated.
  4. Once the veneers are ready, your dentist will bond them to your teeth using a special adhesive, and any final adjustments can be made to ensure proper fit and comfort.

How Much Do Veneers and Dentures Cost?

When considering dental procedures like veneers and dentures, understanding the associated costs is crucial, as none of them are affordable treatments. We have already mentioned that the main difference between dentures and veneers is that the goals of the treatment differ, but there’s one more: their costs. Veneers are usually more expensive than dentures because veneers require lots of working hours to create them, match the appearance of the existing teeth, and install them.

Below, you can find a comparison table detailing the typical cost range for both veneers and dentures:

VeneersDentures
Cost range$800 - $2,500 per tooth$500 - $3,000 per arch
MaterialPorcelain or Composite ResinAcrylic Resin or a Combination
CoverageCosmetic ImprovementReplacement of Missing Teeth and cosmetic improvement.
Insurance coverageOften Not CoveredSometimes Covered

Taking Care of Veneers and Dentures

Regarding veneers and dentures aftercare, it’s almost the same. Nevertheless, veneers and dentures replace your “natural” teeth, they require the same proper care your actual teeth need. Maintaining proper care for veneers or dentures is essential for maximizing their lifespan and effectiveness as well as avoiding any dental complications as they are placed still in your mouth.

But, despite having to follow almost the same aftercare routine for both, there are some differences when comparing how to take care of veneers vs dentures.

Taking Care of Veneers

If you get veneers, as mentioned before, you have to think of them as if they were your own teeth. Therefore, it’s crucial to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental check-ups; but, the nature of this dental appliance requires other recommendations.

  • Avoid chewing on hard objects or using teeth as tools to prevent veneers from falling off.
  • Avoid foods or drinks (tea, red wine, etc.) that might stain your teeth.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Use a soft toothbrush and proper toothpaste to brush them.
  • Invest in a good night guard if you clench or grind your teeth at night.

Taking Care of Dentures

Like veneers, dentures must be cared for as if they were your natural teeth, but they have a characteristic that makes them easier to clean: they are removable. By being able to remove the dentures, you can clean them better than teeth, but you have to be really careful with bacteria. Here are some tips to take care of dentures:

  • Clean dentures daily using a denture cleaner or mild soap and water to prevent bacterial growth and odor. Never use harsh abrasive cleaners or clean them in boiling water.
  • Handle dentures with care to avoid dropping or damaging them, especially when removing or inserting.
  • Keep them always in a safe place.
  • Remove dentures at night to allow the gums to rest and maintain oral health.
  • Don’t wear your dentures at night.
  • Quit smoking.

Can You Eat Everything with Veneers and Dentures?

Understanding the limitations and care requirements of veneers and dentures is essential for maintaining oral health and enjoying a diverse diet. Both veneers and dentures can withstand normal chewing forces, but certain precautions should be taken.

With veneers
  • While veneers can enhance the aesthetics of the smile, they are not as durable as natural teeth. Therefore, certain precautions should be taken when eating with veneers. Hard foods like nuts, seeds, and ice cubes can potentially damage veneers or cause them to become loose. Similarly, biting into very sticky or chewy foods may also pose a risk to veneers. It's advisable to avoid biting directly into hard or sticky foods and instead cut them into smaller, manageable pieces to reduce the risk of damage.
With dentures
  • Dentures provide greater chewing ability compared to missing teeth, but they may still have some limitations when it comes to certain foods. Hard, crunchy foods like raw vegetables and tough meats can be challenging to chew with dentures, particularly if they are not properly fitted or stabilized. Additionally, very sticky or overly chewy foods may dislodge dentures or cause discomfort. However, with proper care and maintenance, many individuals with dentures are able to enjoy a wide variety of foods by adapting their eating habits and making necessary adjustments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while both veneers and dentures can enhance the appearance of your smile, they serve different purposes. Dentures are primarily used for replacing missing teeth and restoring functionality, while veneers are focused on improving the aesthetics of existing teeth. Consulting with your dentist is essential to determine the best option based on your specific needs and oral health condition.

FAQ

Can you install veneers with no teeth?

No, for installing veneers teeth are needed as veneers are dental shells that are bonded to the teeth.

Which are better veneers or dentures?

None is better than the other, each serves for different purpose as mentioned in the article.

Do veneers last more than dentures?

While dentures last, on average, between 10 and 15 years, veneers can last up to 20 years, even more if you get Zirconia veneers.

Can you put veneers over dentures?

No, veneers can’t be placed over dentures.

Sources

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