Veneers are a treatment option dentists use to cover discolored or broken teeth so they appear glossy and white.
Traditionally, veneers are made of porcelain material and require significant preparation to get your teeth ready for application.
A different type of veneer, called Lumineers, are a brand of veneer only offered by some dentists and manufactured by DenMat dental laboratory.
Lumineers are thinner, cheaper, and faster to apply. But choosing the right kind of veneer isn’t as simple as you might think.
In this article, we review the differences between traditional porcelain veneers and “no prep” veneers like Lumineers, so you can better understand the pros and cons of each.
- Porcelain veneers make your teeth appear whiter and straighter. They’re permanently bonded to your teeth. The preparation and application process is fairly lengthy.
- Lumineers require less preparation to apply to your teeth. They’re also potentially reversible, but they don’t last as long as veneers. They’re also not as effective at hiding severely stained or damaged teeth.
Veneers are cosmetic coatings for your natural teeth.
Resistant to staining
They’re what you might imagine “perfect” teeth look like: bright, white, and glossy.
Since they’re not porous like tooth enamel, they’re more resistant to staining. However, the edges of the veneer, where it meets the tooth, may stain after 5 or more years.
Well suited to broken or severely stained teeth
Veneers are most appropriate in cases where teeth appear to be yellowed or brown, or showing signs of decay or staining, that are hard to cover up.
Broken or chipped teeth, smaller than average teeth, and unusually shaped teeth become invisible behind traditional veneers.
Lengthy prep and application process
Veneers are applied in a multistep process that’s customized to the treatment you need.
After a consultation, your dentist will grind down the surface of your teeth to prepare them for the veneers. The teeth need to be made thinner so the veneers will fit in your mouth.
Your dentist will then make a mold of your prepared teeth and make you temporary acrylic veneers. A dental laboratory will fabricate a custom set of porcelain veneers from the mold.
Veneers take approximately 2 to 4 weeks to be made and sent back to the dentist.
This initial appointment may take several hours, depending on how many teeth are being treated.
Once the veneers are back from the lab, your dentist will then cement the veneers to your prepared teeth using a special bonding solution.
After you get veneers, your natural tooth enamel is compromised, which is why some people say there’s “no turning back” after getting traditional veneers.
Veneers can also make it harder to reach your gum line when you clean your teeth. That could put you at higher risk for gum disease.
They last about 8 to 10 years
Traditional veneers can last 10 to 15 years on average, with high success rates up to 20 years. They may last longer if well taken care of.
They cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth
On average, traditional veneers may cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth.
If you’re getting veneers for multiple teeth, there may be a discount for the treatment. In most circumstances, regular insurance doesn’t cover veneers since they’re considered cosmetic.
Lumineers are a brand of veneers that take less preparation and advanced dental work than traditional veneers.
They’re often called “no prep” veneers. Instead of porcelain, they’re made of “ultra thin” laminate.
More translucent than veneers
Like traditional veneers, dentists use Lumineers to treat discolored and unusually shaped teeth. They’re smooth and slick to the touch.
Lumineers are thinner and a bit more translucent than traditional porcelain veneers. For this reason, they’re not a good option for people with severely discolored teeth.
No teeth grinding needed
Lumineers are thinner than traditional veneers, so you don’t have to grind your teeth to thin them before application. Your dentist will have a customized set of Lumineers made for your specific treatment needs.
Shorter prep and application process
You’ll still require at least two appointments after your initial consult. The first appointment will be shorter because your dentist doesn’t need to trim or “prep” your teeth. They only need to take an impression or mold.
The mold is then sent to a DenMat dental laboratory. Your customized Lumineers will be ready in about 2 to 4 weeks.
Unlike traditional veneers, you don’t need temporary veneers to be put on while you’re waiting for your custom Lumineers. Once they’re ready, you’ll set up a second appointment where your dentist will bond them to your teeth.
Unlike veneers, Lumineers are semipermanent. After application, they can be removed with minimal damage to your teeth.
Similar to veneers, Lumineers can make it harder to clean around your gum line. This can increase your risk for gum disease.
They last between 10 and 20 years
The manufacturers of Lumineers claim they last for up to 20 years. Other sources report these types of veneers only last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced.
Few long-term studies have been conducted on the life span of Lumineers.
They cost between $800 and $2,000 per tooth
Lumineers may cost between $800 to $2,000 per tooth. In most circumstances, insurance won’t cover them because they’re considered elective cosmetic treatment.
|longer lasting||permanent (but you’ll need to replace them if they crack or become damaged)|
|more opaque||more expensive|
|better at hiding tooth decay and discoloration|
|no preparation or trimming of your natural teeth is needed||don’t last as long as traditional veneers|
|less expensive||not as good at hiding damage to your teeth|
|semipermanent (after application, they can be removed with minimal damage to your teeth)|
Crowns are another type of tooth covering. Crowns cover an entire tooth, as opposed to veneers, which only cover the front of your teeth.
A crown is a treatment for a tooth that’s severely damaged. A veneer may not be able to fully cover a tooth that’s broken down from cavities, badly positioned, or extremely discolored.
Some types of insurance cover crowns, as they can be medically necessary to preserve your bite. Unlike veneers and Lumineers, crowns are less of an aesthetic choice and more about preserving and strengthening a tooth.
Veneers and Lumineers aren’t a decision to take lightly. Not only are they costly (and typically not covered by insurance), but they also permanently change the way your teeth look.
Lumineers are a brand of veneers that’s made by a specific dental laboratory. Not all dentists offer them. Some dentists may offer other “no prep” veneer alternatives.
The final cost of either treatment option, as well as which one is best for you, will depend on factors such as:
- your dentist
- the condition of the teeth to be treated
- your insurance
If you’re self-conscious about your smile, there may be other options you want to try first, such as braces, aligners, or teeth whitening.
If you’re serious about veneers, talk with your dentist. They can advise you about the best course of treatment for your mouth — and your budget.