Have you ever visited your dentist specifically to request Lumineers? Maybe you asked because you saw an advertisement for Lumineers. Or maybe you were just inquiring about veneers in general and thought that they’re all called Lumineeers.
But a careful comparison of traditional veneers vs Lumineers reveals that they aren’t the same thing, at all.
If you’d like to improve your smile by covering your teeth with a gorgeous set of veneers, then this guide will help you choose between the popular Lumineers and regular veneers.
Veneers vs Lumineers: What’s the Difference?
Dental veneers as a whole make up a special category of cosmetic dental restorations. They are thin shells of tooth-colored material that are custom-shaped and bonded to the front side and biting edges of front teeth. Veneers hide dental imperfections that show when you smile such as:
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Yellow teeth and stubborn stains
- Uneven tooth size
- Rough enamel
What about a dental crown vs veneers? Only a crown can improve the structural integrity of your teeth. A crown, or cap, is what you should get when a front tooth has a cavity or large fracture. Veneers, on the other hand, are purely cosmetic and will only enhance the appearance of your smile.
Veneers have been creating gorgeous smiles for nearly a century. They are one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets; few stars are born with perfect teeth. Although veneers can be expensive since they aren’t typically covered by dental insurance, they are becoming more accessible to average people.
Veneers are typically made from porcelain, but some veneer types can also be made from a dental composite material.
A dentist will grind away about half a millimeter of enamel from the front of your teeth to make room so that the veneers are flush with your teeth. So veneers essentially replace the outer layer of your tooth enamel.
After your teeth are prepared for veneers, the dentist will take impressions, or molds, of your teeth. These are used to design the veneers so that they conform perfectly to your teeth.
Veneers are shaped and colored so that they blend in naturally with the rest of your smile. They will make all of your front teeth look whole, even, and bright. Once they’re completed, the dentist will bond them to your teeth.
The process for getting veneers looks something like this:
Your dental veneers are with you for life. They’re technically permanent and if you take good care of them, veneers can last for up to 15 years. Porcelain veneers are the ones that really last, however. The cheaper composite ones will usually only last about five years.
Veneers can pop off if they get damaged or if you develop decay under them. If this happens, then you have to replace them. Your teeth will not be safe (or comfortable) without the protection of a veneer because the enamel that was removed to make room for the veneer doesn’t grow back.
You’ve probably already heard about Lumineers. But Lumineers are just one of several brands of no-prep veneers.
No-prep or zero-prep veneers are veneers that don’t require as much, if any, tooth preparation before placing them (they are more similar to snap-on veneers).
The biggest draw of Lumineers is the fact that they are no-prep and can just go right over your teeth. This eliminates the need for temporary veneers and spares you the long dental appointment filled with numbing shots and extensive drilling.
When you get Lumineers, you need to visit a Certified Lumineers Dentist for a consultation where they’ll book you for the appointment where they take impressions of your teeth. The dentist passes the information on to the DenMat Lumineers lab in California where the veneers are made. You’ll then come back to your dentist once the veneers are done and get them bonded to the front of your teeth.
Veneers vs Lumineers Cost
The cost of regular veneers depends on things like:
Lumineers also have some variability in pricing. Lumineer dentists have to pay for the cost of the materials. But they don’t charge that price to their patients. Dentists have to add in other costs that go towards running their office, paying their staff, and earning a profit for their practice. The final price may also reflect the dentist’s level of skill and experience in placing Lumineers.
So the ultimate price of Lumineers is set by individual dental practice owners and can vary accordingly. But on average, Lumineers cost about $800 to $2,000 per tooth.
Veneers vs Lumineers: The Pros and Cons
To help you choose between Lumineers vs veneers, you should weigh the pros and cons of both options. There are good and not so good aspects of both treatments and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. It all just depends on which features matter to you the most.
- Porcelain veneers tend to be more realistic and natural than Lumineers
- Regular veneers lay flush against the tooth with their margin hidden just below the gums
- Wearing the temporary veneers allows you to “test drive” them and see how you like them
- Traditional veneers can last up to 15 years
- It takes a little more time to get regular porcelain veneers because you have to get your teeth prepped
- The temporaries you have to wear in the interim could be annoying
- Your natural teeth will be reduced to make room for the veneers and the enamel loss is permanent
- There’s no need to reduce your tooth enamel for Lumineers
- You won’t need to wear any temporaries for Lumineers
- Lumineers may be more affordable than traditional veneers
- Treatment is faster
- Lumineers are reversible (you can have them removed at some point, if you wish)
- Lumineers are very strong and unlikely to pop off
- Lumineers can look bulkier than regular veneers because they are added on top of the enamel instead of replacing it
- Some dentists have a hard time creating a realistic tooth color with Lumineers
- While Lumineers are reversible, your dentist will have to grind them off in a drilling process that can damage your enamel, anyway
- Some patients complain of their upper lip catching on the bulky edge of Lumineers
Comparing the Differences Between Lumineers and Veneers: A Summary-at-a-Glance
|Aesthetics||Natural, when done well||More opaque and bulky|
|Longevity||10 - 15 years||Up to 20 years|
Veneers or Lumineers: Which Should You Choose?
When it comes down to it, how should you choose between porcelain veneers vs Lumineers?
Both cosmetic procedures can deliver beautiful and long-lasting results if they are done well by an experienced cosmetic dentist. It’s not that one procedure is better than the other; you just have to decide which one suits your individual preferences the best.
For example, if you’re hesitant about committing to getting permanent veneers, then Lumineers would be good to start out with. But if Lumineers are still out of your budget, you can try with another reversible treatment: snap on veneers. If you want to learn more about them before making the decision, read our article on snap on veneers reviews.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to risk wasting your money and would rather get that perfect smile makeover done right the first time, then splashing out on permanent veneers by a skilled cosmetic dentist is the way to go.
The most important thing is to make sure that the procedure you choose is done by a qualified professional.
Don’t jump on the first treatment offer you find. Do some shopping around before you settle on one. You’re not even limited to Lumineers when it comes to no-prep veneers as there are other brands out there.
The cheapest procedure isn’t necessarily the best, but neither is the most expensive one; it’s the skill that counts. Ask a dentist for case photos of their work, whether with Lumineers or regular veneers so that you can get an idea of their skill level. Read reviews of cosmetic dentists in your area (a Lumineers review, for example) and then choose one who has a solid reputation.
A little research and patience will guarantee that you love the smile you get after either Lumineers or traditional veneers!