Reviewed by Dr. Brent Boyse, DDS

Veneers and dental implants are two options for achieving a flawless, Hollywood-worthy smile. But what exactly are veneers and implants, and how do they differ?

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of each treatment option to help you understand the differences.

Table of Contents

What Are Dental Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin shells made of porcelain, composite resin or E-max laminate, are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. They’re a popular choice for addressing:

  • Stained teeth that can’t be whitened
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Gaps between teeth or slightly misaligned teeth

Veneers are attached to the natural teeth’s surface, offering a solution for cosmetic issues without replacing the entire tooth. The procedure for installing dental veneers usually involves:

  1. Consultation and planning: Your dentist will assess your teeth and discuss the desired outcome. They will take photos, xrays and impressions of your teeth. This process allows them to show you what your teeth will look like with veneers.
  2. Tooth preparation: Slight reshaping of the natural teeth to accommodate the veneer. Final impressions are taken of your teeth and temporary veneers are placed.
  3. Fitting and bonding the permanent veneers: Temporary veneers are replaced with the permanent veneers.

Dental veneers are a non-surgical procedure. They can be placed by a dentist in just two appointments. The end result is a natural-looking, flawless smile that can last for many years with proper care.

What Are Dental Implants?

Unlike veneers that are added to existing teeth, dental implants serve as a complete replacement for missing teeth. An implant is made of a titanium post (acting as an artificial tooth root) inserted into the jawbone, topped with a dental crown to mimic the appearance of a real tooth. This dental solution is best suited for individuals with:

  • One or more missing teeth
  • Damaged teeth that require complete replacement
  • Sufficient bone density, or after undergoing a bone graft

The dental implant procedure includes:

  • A thorough evaluation with an oral surgeon to ensure you’re a candidate for implants.
  • Surgical placement of the titanium post into the jawbone, which integrates with the bone over time.
  • Attachment of the artificial tooth (crown) to the titanium post once healing is complete.

Multi-Implant Bridge vs. Single-Tooth Implant

If you are missing multiple teeth in a row, a multi-implant bridge can be an alternative to getting individual implants for each tooth. It involves two or more dental implants placed on either end of the gap created by missing teeth, with artificial teeth bridging the gap between them. This option is less invasive and may be more cost-effective.

Implant-Retained Dentures

If you currently wear traditional dentures, implant-retained dentures offer a more secure and stable alternative. Implants are placed in the jawbone, acting as anchors for the denture to attach to. This option eliminates any slipping or shifting of the dentures while eating or talking.

Key Differences Between Veneers and Implants

  • Purpose: Veneers predominantly address cosmetic concerns, enhancing the appearance of teeth without removing the entire tooth structure. In contrast, implants replace missing or severely damaged teeth, offering both functional and cosmetic benefits.
  • Procedure complexity: Veneers are a less invasive option, requiring minimal preparation of the natural teeth. Implants involve surgical insertion of an artificial tooth root into the jawbone, requiring additional procedures and recovery time.
  • Longevity and maintenance: While both options require care and maintenance, dental implants often provide a more permanent solution with the potential to last a lifetime with proper care. Veneers, although durable, may need to be replaced after a decade or so.

Veneers vs Dental Implants

Feature  Veneers   Dental Implants 
Primary UseCosmetic improvements for existing teeth Replacement of missing or severely damaged teeth
Procedure   Non-surgical, involves bonding to the teeth’s surface Surgical, involves inserting a titanium post into the jawbone
MaterialPorcelain, composite resin, E-max laminate  Titanium post (root) and porcelain, zirconia, or ceramic crown
Treatment TimeTwo visits over a few weeks  Several months to allow for bone integration, longer if a bone graft is needed
Recovery Time Minimal to none immediately after procedure  Weeks to months, due to surgery and healing time 
Longevity 10-15 years with proper careCan last a lifetime with proper care 
MaintenanceRegular dental hygiene; may need replacement  Regular dental hygiene; similar to natural teeth 
Cost Generally less expensive than implants  Higher initial cost but considered a long-term investment 
Ideal CandidatesIndividuals with cosmetic concerns  Individuals missing one or more teeth, or with sufficient bone density
Benefits Instantly improves the appearance of smile Replaces tooth function and appearance, prevents bone loss
Limitations Does not replace missing teeth, cosmetic onlyRequires healthy jawbone or bone grafting, longer process

Your Smile is in Good Hands at AZ Max

As you can see, veneers and dental implants serve very different purposes. Dental veneers improve the appearance of existing teeth, while implants replace missing or severely damaged teeth. Both have their advantages and are suitable for different situations.

At AZ Max Oral Surgery, we specialize in dental implants and offer personalized treatment plans to meet each patient’s unique needs. Our team of oral surgeons is dedicated to providing high-quality care and ensuring a successful outcome for your dental implant procedure.

If your dentist has recommended that you have a dental implant, or if you would like to know more about implant-retained dentures, book a free dental implant consultation. Call or text (480) 830-5866 or complete the inquiry form.

If you are searching for an oral surgeon near me, or dental implants near me, trust the experts at AZ Max Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.