Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

On the Face of It: Could a Porcelain Veneer Replace a Missing Tooth?

by Brett Clark

When you lose a tooth to trauma or tooth decay, ideally, you should replace it as soon as possible. Otherwise, your jawbone in the area of the missing tooth will begin to shrink. Bone resorption is not something that takes its time. Within the first 12 months, you could lose as much as 50% of bone density unless you replace the tooth.

Fortunately, there are many ways to replace missing teeth. However, if you have been pondering whether or not veneers might serve as an effective replacement, you will be disappointed.

Veneers Restore, They Don't Replace

Porcelain veneers cannot substitute a missing tooth. In fact, without a tooth, they are useless. The main function of porcelain veneers is to restore teeth that are discoloured, chipped or broken. The thin porcelain shell is designed to cover the frontal surface of a tooth in order to cover up imperfections. If there is no front surface or a tooth is missing half or more of its structure, then a dental crown can be fitted over it.

However, there are other more suitable methods to replace missing teeth.

An Essix Retainer with a False Tooth is Inexpensive

Your cheapest option is to wear an Essix retainer with a false tooth placed inside it. While this will not address the bone loss issue, it might be suitable as a short-term measure. For instance, if your job requires you to deal with people but you can't afford anything more at the moment, an Essix retainer could work.

A Denture is also Cheap but Contributes to Bone Loss

Dentures, which consist of an acrylic plate with one or more false teeth attached to it, can also effectively fill the gap left by a missing tooth. What they don't do, however, is stop bone resorption. In fact, the pressure that dentures place on your gums can actually speed up bone resorption.

Dental Implants are the Pinnacle of Tooth Replacement

A single dental implant is the most advanced form of tooth replacement you have at your disposal. While they are the most expensive form of replacing a tooth, they are also the most reliable in that they allow you to chew tough foods, they stimulate bone growth and they remain fixed in your jaw.

There are many ways that dentistry can replace missing teeth, however, veneers are out of the question. If you are looking for a short-term solution while you save up for dental implants, consider one of the aforementioned techniques. However, remember that you have just a few months before your jawbone begins to shrink considerably. 

Contact a local dentist for more information and assistance.