What’s the Difference Between Veneers and Implants?

Dentist performing dental implants surgery in NW Calgary

Maintaining a great smile is one of the many ways that people can ensure that they look their best. The ways in which patients can try to take care of their smile can be as simple as getting regular checkups, to much more involved tasks like getting veneers or implants placed in the mouth. To many patients, veneers and implants are basically one and the same thing, when in all actuality, these two remedies are quite different.   

Main Differences

Veneers are much less invasive and are simply the bonding of material, usually porcelain, to the outside of the tooth using medical adhesive. Implants on the other hand are a more invasive procedure involving the replacement of a natural tooth with a manmade tooth. This is for patients who have broken or completely lost the original tooth.  

Another way of looking at the two distinct procedures is that veneers are used for mostly smaller cosmetic issues like chips, cracks or stains. They improve the appearance of the teeth by making them look straighter, smoother and whiter. Dental implants are used when the damage is much more severe – like when a tooth breaks at the gum line or the root, needing to be replaced due to damage. Despite the heavier treatment, it is a much longer-lasting solution with the added benefit of reducing risk of infection in the future.

These aren’t the only differences. There are other ways in which these two types of procedures vary that are important to consider when deciding how best to fix certain dental issues. Here are some of the other ways these procedures differ.


Implants are intended to last much longer than a veneer. Since a veneer is used when the damage is smaller and cosmetic in nature, it simply isn’t meant to last as long (although if well-maintained can last decades).

Implants on the other hand can last a lifetime due to the total replacement for a damaged tooth that goes all the way to the root. Veneers generally last around 10 years while implants typically will last over 25 years if cared for.

Another thing to consider is that veneers are much easier to have placed on teeth – they can be affixed in one appointment. Most of the treatment is spent on preparing the outside of the tooth to accept the adhesive. Implants on the other hand can take multiple visits before they are fully installed.  

Cost of Procedures

The cost of getting either procedure done will be of importance to the patient. This isn’t just a financial issue, as patients also need to factor in the amount of time it can cost them to get the problem fixed as well.

Veneers may cost around $1000 while implants may cost over fives time that amount. With the veneers only providing about a decade-long solution it may take several sessions over the years to keep a tooth looking its best. Implants may take multiple visits, especially if the damage requires bone or gum grafts to anchor the artificial tooth. This will all obviously cost more too.   

Veneers require much less attention after they are applied as they are low maintenance once installed. Implants require lifelong checkups after they have been placed into the gum to ensure that there isn’t any further damage and to make sure that the body isn’t rejecting the implanted tooth.


There are many ways in which patients are able to repair their teeth to make their smile look its best. Whether a patient opts for the less expensive but shorter-lasting veneers or they choose to get the more expensive implants, they are still trying to make sure that they have the best smile possible.

It’s important to ultimately understand that veneers are for cosmetic enhancement and minor dental treatments, while implants are for full tooth replacements. Implants will only be considered for patients whose natural teeth are very damaged or missing.

To know which option is needed, a patient must visit a qualified dentist. Hamptons Dental can help. Come and see us to decipher whether you are a candidate for veneers or implants today.

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