Veneers vs. Lumineers

February 18, 2016

Veneers vs. Lumineers
Veneers Before and After
Veneer Size
Lumeneer Size
What is a dental veneer?
Dental veneers are restorations that cover the outer surface of the front teeth and correct small misalignments, fill up gaps and improve the outlook and brightness of teeth.

A straight, white, perfectly uniform smile is something just about anyone can get using veneers or lumineers. Both improve your smile by hiding minor, yet notable flaws. Veneers and luminners can correct imperfections like staining, spaces or slight misalignment. They can repair chips, cracks and misshapen teeth. No wonder many patients are interested in these cosmetic dental procedures. However they often get confused about the similarities and differences. Many patieints don’t know which option to choose. This review of veneers and lumineers should help clear things up.


Similarities between Veneers and Lumineers

When it comes to these treatments, the differences are thin. For the most part, both veneers and Lumineers have far more in common. Both products:

  1. Cover only the front, visible portions of your teeth;
  2. Repair minor tooth imperfections;
  3. Lengthen and straighten teeth;
  4. Conceal discoloration and stains;
  5. Are comfortable and easy to maintain;
  6. Still allow you to eat and drink what you like;
  7. Are stain proof and highly resilient;
  8. Provide natural looking results;
  9. Cost about the same.


Differences of Veneers and Lumineers

The similarities are extensive, but there are some important differences to understand before accepting a treatment plan. They mostly come in procedure and thickness of the shell. Read on to find out the specifics.



These are thin, porcelain shells the dentist permanently bonds to the front of your teeth. The complete treatment usually takes two visits. First the dentist prepares teeth by trimming down about 0.5mm of the natural enamel. This accommodates the thickness of the shell (at least 0.5mm), so veneers do not look overlarge or bulky. Then the dentist takes impressions, photographs, and uses a shade guide to confirm the brightness and transperancy. Then everything is sent to a dental lab where they custom design your veneers. Between visits you can get temporary acrylic veneers until the lab completes your permanent set. During the next visit the dentist permanently bonds veneers to teeth and corrects any minor errors to the shape or fit.


Because the dentist must trim the natural enamel for veneers, the teeth are left unprotected. Teeth can be sensitive, even for a time after veneers are in place. Although the veneers can be removed, most dentists do not recommend it aside from maintenance or repairs. Patients should expect veneers to last at least 10 years. Beyond that the failure rate does increase.


Pros and Cons of Veneers

Veneers are realistic, stain-resistant, and durable. They have more color versatility and cover stains better. They do not require extensive shaping, compared to crowns. However, once done, there is no going back. Because of enamel removal, your teeth will always require veneers or crowns. Teeth may also be more sensitive to hot and cold.



These are a type of ultra-thin (approximately 0.2mm) veneer that require less prep, and little to no removal of natural tooth structure. No drilling means no need for anesthetic. However, despite the lack of preparation, the process still requires two separate appointments. One for the impressions and photographs of your teeth, and one for the placement of veneers when they come back from the lab. The dentist can bond the lumineres directly to the natural surface in a pain-free procedure. However, just because these products can be ultra-thin, doesn’t mean they have to be. Lumineers can also be made in conventional dimensions (0.5mm or more). These restorations would require the same tooth preparation as traditional veneers. It just depends on the patient’s case and desired results.


With lumineers the enamel is often left unchanged and undamaged. This makes the treatment completely reversible. And though the products are so thin, they are made from an ultra-strong, Cerinate porcelain. The durability of lumineers means they can resist normal wear and tear, and remain intact for 10 years or more. Also, lumineers and veneers cost about the same. Though the placement for lumineers takes less time than veneers, the cost is offset because the laboratory bill for the ultra-thin products is likely to cost more.


Pros and Cons of Lumineers

These are not as invasive as traditional veneers, and still provide a natural, uniform smile. They are durable and stain resistant. However they do come with disadvantages. When used to treat dental stains, these ultra-thin shells are often too opaque and do not look as natural. The no-prep technique also means teeth appear over-contoured and bulky. The larger teeth can be cumbersome and impact speech or bite patterns. There is also a deeper ledge where the Lumineers end along the gum line, making it difficult to remove plaque and can lead to gum disease or decay.


Who Makes an Ideal Candidate?

Perhaps the most important factor in deciding between veneers and Lumineers is proper case selection. Only you and your dentist can work out the details about which procedure is better for you. But here are some questions to consider to help you make the right decision:

  1. Is dental for or anxiety an important factor?
  2. What results do you want?
  3. How many teeth require treatment?
  4. Will extensive dental work interrupt your lifestyle?
  5. Are your teeth crooked?
  6. Are your teeth stained very dark?
  7. Do you have gaps?
  8. How good is your current dental health?
  9. How good is your oral home care?


And perhaps neither veneers nor Lumineers are the right choice. If decay, staining, or malocclusion are too prominent you will likely require other cosmetic treatments to achieve that movie star smile. Only your dentist will be able to determine the best possible treatment plan for your unique needs. 


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