• 23 APR 14
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    Lumineers vs Veneers

    Other pages on this website have described the intrinsic qualities of Lumineers and of dental veneers. With this post we aim to compare the two.

    Dental veneers (also known as porcelain veneers or sometimes as dental laminates or even dental porcelain laminates) are very thin (about 0.5 to no more than 0.7 millimeters or about one-fiftieth of an inch) coverings bonded to the fronts of teeth. Lumineers are ultra-thin and are generally no more than 0.2 millimeters thick.

    Both are used for generally the same purposes like cosmetic or color improvement of the teeth, fixing chipped teeth and gaps between teeth, renewing old dental work, as an alternative to braces and in general enhancing that beautiful smile.

    The crux of the matter

    The procedure for applying them to the teeth is virtually the same. However because of the difference in thickness, when applying Lumineers there is almost never any trimming or drilling of the tooth and, therefore, no anesthesia or Novocain is used. The differences in the procedures, themselves, help determine the results desired.

    When applying dental veneer, there is slight shaping and altering of the tooth that’s needed. With Lumineers, this is not done. The results can be better visualized if you think of a block of stone being handled by a sculptor. If the sculptor simply attaches a small, thin piece of paper to the stone then there will be virtually no difference in the appearance of the stone. However, if the sculptor uses a chisel to some parts of the stone before applying paper then the stone can appear closer to his ideal appearance of the stone.

    Of course, maybe the dentist deems that your teeth is already ideal and only needs little changes to it – that means Lumineer. If the dentist deems that your tooth needs greater changes then using a chisel or drill may be needed – that means Veneer. It all depends upon what you want and what you hope to achieve after consultation.

    Veneers are generally not used in the following instances:

    1. For worn down, chipped or broken teeth caused by clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth. One medical study showed that if this habit is not stopped then the chances that the veneer will fail increases by 800%

    2. For teeth with little enamel. This is because enamel is stronger than the veneer and will absorb and diffuse any forces to the veneer. If there is little enamel then the veneer will be bonded to the dentin (the portion of the tooth encased by enamel) which is weaker than the veneer and will increase the chances of the latter’s breaking or chipping.

    3. For teeth that need strengthening. If your teeth need strengthening then they should be strengthened. If you have a bad skin condition then you could apply make-up to cover it, but it will not help correct the underlying problem.

      A dental veneer is much like the proper use of make-up; it will make it look better, but it may not address or rectify any underlying conditions that surround it.

    Lumineers are generally not used in these instances:

    1. Lighten dark teeth and to make it life-like. Again, the thinness of a Lumineer veneer makes it more opaque or cloudy and less life-like or real. A Lumineer will not mimic the light-bending abilities of natural teeth so it can appear “different” or “peculiar”. However, to some people, this may not matter and even if it does then there are other options–such as tooth whitening–that can rectify any resulting consequences.

    2. Because of its no-prep, no drilling/trimming procedure, Lumineers can make a large thing larger. This idea is used to eliminate gaps between teeth, but if the tooth itself is large then the added increase can impede or alter a person’s speech. People are adaptable and can make adjustments but this is something that needs to be considered.

      A bulged tooth can increase the chances of getting plaque, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. In such cases, it can be better to trim the tooth and to remove any vestiges of plaque or decay.

    There really is no accurate answer in the question of whether a dental veneer or a Lumineer is better for you. As mentioned earlier, it all depends upon what you want to achieve after consultation.

    Veneers: The good

    • It is very good at straightening severe teeth crowding

    • For filling gaps between teeth or even within the tooth itself (where a cavity filling was removed)

    • It can give a more symmetrical appearance to the mouth.

    • It does not necessarily add extra thickness or bulkiness to the tooth because of the trimming involved.

    Veneers: Not so good

    • As alluded to above, the tooth will need to be drilled, with a potential for nerve exposure

    • If there is a deep cavity which needs to be thoroughly cleaned and to have any plaque or decay removed then a nerve may be touched upon. However, this is rare, and even more rare if a dental veneer has been determined to be the best cosmetic procedure choice.

    • The procedure is non reversible. Once the enamel has been removed, it will not grow back.

    • For the procedure, an anesthetic is used, and a temporary veneer (with additional cost) is often worn

    Lumineers: The good

    • No shots of Novocain, no removal of tooth enamel, and no temporaries to wear.

    • It is also very good at providing an appearance of straight teeth.

    • The procedure can be reversed in most cases.

    • The product comes with a 10-year warranty and has been clinically proven to last more than 20 years.

    Lumineers: Not so good

    • The veneer sometimes detaches itself from the bonded tooth soon after its placement

    • There can be a concern about the thinness of it. It may take some understanding or appreciation of the science of optics to fully comprehend it, but the result is that the thinness does not bend light as pleasingly as do dental veneers. This may mean that a dark tooth will appear just as dark.

    • Regardless of whether you have a dental veneer or a Lumineer, be sure to take good care of them and your teeth, and your teeth will take good care of you.

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