Maybe you’ve been considering a smile makeover for a while. But what procedures will best address all of your aesthetic complaints about your teeth?
If your teeth have a combination of problems, like discoloration, staining, chips, gaps, or crookedness, you’ve probably already been considering porcelain veneers. Veneers can resolve multiple cosmetic problems in one blow, making them a super effective solution for a quick, complete makeover to your smile.
But did you know that porcelain veneers come in two different styles? There are traditional porcelain veneers, and then there are Lumineers. Let’s break down the differences between these two options.
Traditional porcelain veneers have a pretty simple model: Your cosmetic dentist will create and apply thin, highly durable ceramic facades for your teeth. These facades are about 0.5mm thick, and are semi-opaque and custom colored to look realistic and match your smile. In short, you keep your own healthy teeth, but cover them with a more attractive face.
Since veneers cover up any imperfections, they can resolve a wide variety of aesthetic problems all at once. They can be applied to just one or two problem teeth, or to an entire row of teeth for a dramatic upgrade. They’re stain resistant, and can be applied in two short dental visits. Plus, they’re extremely strong — they’re made from an advanced dental ceramic that can last for a lifetime if properly cared for.
Porcelain veneers are a popular procedure among Hollywood stars because of their immediate, dramatic effects and their highly realistic appearance. If you’ve ever seen a celebrity smile go from drab to dazzling practically overnight, veneers are probably responsible.
Lumineers are a specific type of porcelain veneer. They can resolve all of the same problems, but have a few key differences. Neither traditional veneers nor Lumineers are “better,” but each has its strengths and weaknesses, and one option may be better suited to any given patient than to another.
The main identifying factor of Lumineers is that they are about half the thickness of traditional veneers. This has pros and cons. Since they are thinner, Lumineers require little to no removal of tooth structure to apply them. This means more of the natural tooth is preserved, and also means that the procedure won’t require anesthetic. Unfortunately, the thickness of the veneer also impacts how realistic it looks. Real teeth have a certain level of transparency that a thinner veneer can’t mimic as accurately. For this reason, Lumineers sometimes look slightly less realistic than traditional veneers due to their more opaque appearance.
The question of whether traditional porcelain veneers or Lumineers are a better pick for your smile is ultimately up to you and your needs. For some people, the ease of Lumineers outweighs the realism and subtlety of traditional veneers. For others, a little anesthetic and some tooth trimming is a welcome price to pay for the best-looking teeth you can get.