Veneers are shells used by cosmetic dentists to fix the appearance of teeth. Made of porcelain or composite, they restore the front sides of chipped or cracked teeth, correct discoloration, and can help with crowding, among other issues.
Among the types of veneers are Lumineers, which are thinner, tend to be cheaper, and require less preparation to put in place. That said, “no-prep” veneers like these may not be the best for all cases, and the traditional type has its advantages.
This article breaks down the differences between veneers and Lumineers, what they can do, as well as the pros and cons of each type.
What Are Veneers?
Made of porcelain or a resin-composite, traditional veneers are luminous white shells that are placed over discolored, chipped, worn, or misaligned teeth to fix the way they look. Working from impressions and imaging of your teeth, they’re crafted to fit perfectly over the front of the teeth. Veneer installation is an irreversible procedure.
What sorts of cases warrant porcelain veneers? Here’s a breakdown:
- Worn enamel: Due to genetics, consuming certain foods and drinks, or other habits, enamel can become dull and discolored.
- Chips and cracks: Accidents or the natural effects of aging can damage the enamel of the teeth.
- Uneven spacing: Veneers can correct the crowding of teeth or gaps between them.
- Crooked teeth: Some cases of uneven or crooked teeth, which can affect the bite, can be corrected with veneers.
- Discoloration: Veneers can also be put on to immediately brighten and whiten a smile.
Notably, some tooth structure needs to be taken off before veneers are installed; the dentist will need to grind and shape the tooth to prepare it. In many cases, patients are first fitted with temporary veneers while the final piece or set is crafted.
What Are Lumineers?
Ultra-thin caps made of specialized ceramic composite, Lumineers, made by DenMat, LLC, are attached to the front surfaces of teeth. Impressions and imaging of your teeth are sent to their lab, and they fabricate shells that will blend into your enhanced smile. With these and other no-prep veneers, like Vivaneers and Durathin Veneers, little to no shaping and grinding of the tooth is necessary before installation.
As with veneers, Lumineers instantly correct and enhance the appearance of teeth. They’re effective for:
- Correcting gaps between teeth
- Irregularities in size or shape
- Minor cases of crookedness and misalignment
- An immediate smile makeover
Pros and Cons
First used in the 1930s, there’s no doubt that porcelain veneers have their place in cosmetic dentistry, and the resin composite types are also reliable options. What makes them a good option for correcting your smile? Here’s a breakdown:
- Efficacy: Both porcelain and composite veneers leave teeth looking brighter and whiter and effectively correct gaps, chips, and minor misalignments. The overall success rate, as well as patient satisfaction, is very high.
- Stain resistance: Veneers have been found effective in preventing tooth staining for up to five years. However, poor dental hygiene can cause this discoloration to return.
- Durability: Porcelain veneers are expected to last up to 15 years. Resin composite veneers don’t last as long, but a robust 80% are found to last more than five years, and within seven, you may need a replacement.
However, there may also be disadvantages to traditional veneers. These include:
- Invasiveness: Having traditional veneers installed is a more invasive procedure. In order to prepare the tooth, the dentist will need to reshape and grind it, which generally calls for local anesthetic or other pain management. It’s also irreversible.
- Time: While there’s some variation, you can expect multiple appointments and a treatment timeline of up to four to six weeks when you have veneers placed. The caps need to be shaped and crafted based on imaging and impressions of your teeth, which often happens off-site. In many cases, you wear a temporary set before the final ones are placed.
- Costs: There’s a great deal of variability when it comes to the costs of traditional veneers, but on the whole, they tend to represent the costlier option. The costs range from $925 to $2,500 per porcelain veneer and $800 to $1,500 per composite.