Porcelain veneers are often confused with lumineers because the two are similar in many ways. Both porcelain veneers and lumineers are manufactured of thin porcelain and are used for similar purposes. They both are used in cosmetic dentistry in order to correct teeth imperfections. However, there are also differences between the two and the most important being the procedure and the changes made to the original tooth; lumineers do not alter the structure of the tooth and therefore might be a better long term solution.
Uses of Porcelain Veneers and Lumineers
Both porcelain veneers and lumineers are used for correcting teeth imperfections. They repair the exterior of damaged or crooked teeth and strengthen them. If a tooth needs lengthening, this can also be done with veneers or lumineers. Veneers and lumineers can also be used to cover fillings which have changed color and have an unpleasant appearance or to cover gaps between teeth. These gaps can be corrected by orthodontic procedures, but porcelain veneers or lumineers provide a faster solution. Both porcelain veneers and lumineers have a natural look, are very strong and do not change color in time.
Dental veneers are manufactured by two types of materials: composites and porcelain. Porcelain veneers are more durable and have a more natural appearance, even though they are more expensive than composite veneers.
The procedure of using dental veneers poses some problems because it involves a reshaping of the tooth. Veneers need to be placed on the tooth and in order to avoid a bulky and unnatural look, the dentist needs to remove about 5 mm from the surface of the tooth. Therefore, the tooth loses its natural enamel and is no longer protected by anything else than the porcelain veneer. Given that porcelain veneers are custom-made and they can be replaced periodically, this procedure should not pose any problems. However, if the veneer needs to be removed, the tooth will no longer be protected.
Lumineers are an improved variant of the porcelain veneer. They have the same function as the porcelain veneers and provide the same benefits to the patient. The placement of lumineers doesn’t involve the peeling of the enamel of the tooth and therefore might be a better long term solution than veneers. When placing lumineers, the structure of the tooth remains unchanged.
Lumineers are much thinner than porcelain veneers; they are as thick as a contact lens, but this does not make them less durable. Given that lumineers are placed without the tooth being altered, they do add to the overall structure of the tooth and might feel a little bulkier than the classic porcelain veneers. However, the additional benefits are well worth it; the tooth is still protected by its natural enamel, even if the lumineers need to be taken off.
In terms of costs, lumineers have similar costs as the porcelain veneers.