Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells that cover the front of teeth in order to enhance their appearance. They can be especially helpful when a person's teeth are gapped, chipped, cracked, stained or slightly misaligned. Conventional dental veneers need a small amount of dental enamel to be removed before placement, which means the procedure is not reversible. Another option is available, though: Lumineers. Lumineers are made of ultra-strong Cerinate porcelain, which means they can be significantly thinner than conventional porcelain dental veneers, and they require little or no preparation of the natural tooth, and are considered reversible.
Although Lumineers promise a more comfortable procedure with less post-treatment sensitivity and the choice to remove the dental veneers if desired or necessary, they may not be the right option for everyone. Individuals who are the best candidates for Lumineers will have undamaged natural teeth, and their teeth are somewhat straight and evenly colored. Because the Lumineers are so translucent, if teeth are stained or yellow, the natural color can show through. A teeth whitening procedure may be necessary. If the teeth are mottled, some preparation of the tooth, in which a small portion of enamel is removed, may be needed.
A comfortable bite with some space is also helpful. The no-prep design of Lumineers means they may add a small amount of bulk, which can be uncomfortable for individuals who have a tighter bite. This same aspect can mean individuals with dental bridges or crowns may not be candidates for Lumineers. Individuals who tend to clench or grind their teeth may not be candidates for Lumineers, or they may be advised to wear a night guard to protect their teeth and dental veneers from damage.
If you and your dentist determine that you are a candidate for Lumineers, you may need two or more appointments. At your initial consultation, you will have an opportunity to learn about your different options and share your questions and concerns with your dentist. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth so that the dental lab can make your Lumineers. If preparation is required, your dentist may also remove a small amount of enamel. At your next appointment, the Lumineers will be checked cosmetically and be placed. Your dentist may apply an etching liquid to your teeth to roughen the surface before bonding Lumineers to your teeth with special cement.
You can maximize your Lumineers' lifespan by brushing and flossing your teeth after meals and seeing your dentist every six months or as recommended. You will also need to avoid biting hard objects or eating sticky foods. Even though Lumineers are stain resistant, you will also need to avoid drinking wine since alcohol can deteriorate the bond between the veneers and your teeth.