Lumineers and the Cosmetic Dentist
Lumineers are a very popular option for the cosmetic dentist. It gives the cosmetic dentist the ability to modify a patient’s smile with minimal preparation of the teeth. This cosmetic dentistry technique is best used for patients who have spacing between their teeth and only minor tooth rotations. Most cosmetic dentists employ conservative bonding techniques in which they only remove enough surface enamel to allow a laboratory technician to create custom veneers for the patients. Often Lumineers do not require the cosmetic dentist to remove any tooth structure for their placement. Lumineers are bonded adhesively to the front (also called the facial surface) of the teeth. This allows the process to be as minimally invasive as possible.
Traditional porcelain veneers are generally thicker than Lumineers. They also require removing part of your natural tooth structure. Traditional porcelain veneers are utilized when there is a greater modification need by the cosmetic dentist for the perfect result. This can include extensive tooth rotation, teeth not in alignment, fractured teeth as well as changing the length. Lumineers are unique in that they are quite thin (about 0.3 mm) and very translucent.
This allows them to replicate the enamel’s natural appearance and light reflection properties. Lumineers are so thin they require little to no tooth reduction and no anesthesia. When the procedure is completed they look and feel natural. Since there is no tooth reduction in most cases there will be no post-op sensitivity or placement discomfort.
Lumineers Vs Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain Veneers are wafer thin custom fabricated shells that adhesively bond to the teeth. Porcelain Veneers are permanent, custom-shaped and require the removal of approximately .5 mm of the original tooth to allow space for the new porcelain veneers. Lumineers are far thinner and are about the thickness of a contact lens. The original tooth structure does not need to be shaped for placement. If a patient wishes, Lumineers are reversible. Lumineers are the perfect choice for minor adjustments to your cosmetic look. They are not recommended for a major cosmetic dentistry makeover or instant orthodontic work. However, without removal of some tooth structure, Lumineers may feel bulkier than porcelain veneers.
Lumineers are best to extend small teeth, fix a minor chip in tooth, or change color of the teeth. For patients who want to close a larger gap between teeth, traditional porcelain veneers are preferred over Lumineers. Porcelain veneers allow more flexibility in molding and shaping to give the best cosmetic outcome. One size does not fit all, that’s why cosmetic dentistry is all about options.
-Lumineers are easily completed in 2-3 visits. -Temporaries are usually not necessary due to limited or no reduction of tooth surface. -Longevity is similar to porcelain veneers. -Reversible. If no tooth reduction was needed the entire process can be reversed. -Cost. Lumineers are generally less expensive than traditional porcelain veneers. -Lumineers are able to be placed over existing bridgework or crowns. This however is generally not recommended.
-Lumineers may end up making teeth look bulky. -The thinness of the Lumineers could allow darker teeth to show thru. They are not able to hide darkly stained teeth like porcelain veneers can. -Patients with a tight bite are not good Lumineers candidates. This is because applying Lumineers to the tooth surface slightly increases the biting surface in the mouth, and can change the patient’s bite pattern. -Patients who frequently grind or clench their teeth are not good candidates for Lumineers.
Marielaina Perrone DDS