In the world of cosmetic dentistry, there is some confusion regarding veneers vs Lumineers. The confusion is warranted because Lumineers are actually a special type of porcelain veneers - and porcelain veneers are different from composite veneers. So in reality, you have to understand the difference between all three types of dental veneers.
A veneer is a type of dental prosthetic that’s cemented onto a natural tooth. It resembles a thin shell that covers the front of the tooth for cosmetic improvement.
In some instances, veneers can also be used to manage diastema, a condition where there is a sizable gap between teeth.
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Lumineers’ thinness allows dentists to install them without shaving the teeth, but that also means they break easily and cost more long-term.
The main difference between Lumineers and porcelain veneers is the thickness. Lumineers are thinner and therefore require less prep, but they're also less durable.
Veneers are usually made out of porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain veneers are superior to composite veneers for a few reasons:
They last much longer than composite veneers (often 15 years or more)
They are more durable and crack-resistant than composite veneers
They are more stain-resistant than composite veneers
These high-quality veneers are popular with celebrities and Hollywood types who demand a perfect fit. Think of them as a mask worn on the front of the teeth to correct whatever imperfections are on the surface.
Porcelain Veneers Require Some Prep Work
For the veneer to be bonded onto the surface of an existing tooth, the tooth will have to be prepared by reducing the tooth surface area. This means that the surface of the tooth will be shaved by half a millimeter to accommodate the thickness of the new laminate.
The goal is to see the veneer flush to the gum line. So, extensive prep work is a big part of getting veneers to look good. This is also the biggest factor distinguishing traditional porcelain veneers from Lumineers.
Porcelain Veneers Cost More
You might expect to pay between $950 to $2,500 per porcelain veneer. The actual cost is based on factors unique to each patient. The cost of porcelain veneers is higher than the cost of Lumineers.
Why do porcelain veneers cost more than Lumineers?
The primary reason porcelain veneers cost more than Lumineers is because of the required prep work. To ensure that the prosthetic is flush with the natural teeth and doesn’t stick out, your cosmetic dentist must perform the initial prep work during a preliminary appointment.
Porcelain Veneers Last Longer
With proper care, porcelain veneers can last 15 years or longer. They’re thicker than Lumineers, and the high-quality porcelain is resistant to cracks, chips, and staining.
Of course, you still have to do your part to keep your veneers white and clean. That means brushing after every meal with a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and avoiding unhealthy habits like consuming tobacco, chewing on hard foods, and grinding your teeth.
Lumineer is a brand name of porcelain veneers. They are a special kind of porcelain veneer that comes with its own set of pros and cons. The main reason they are popular is because they require little-to-no prep work.
Lumineers are just like standard porcelain veneers, but much thinner (which is why they require less prep work). The biggest downside is that the thinner construction translates to less durability over time.
If you’re on a budget or if you’re apprehensive about the tooth-shaving required for traditional veneers, Lumineers are a good option.
Lumineers Require Less Prep Work
The main advantage of getting Lumineers is that don’t require the degree of surface preparation as traditional veneers. The laminate is super-thin and bonds quickly onto the surface of the teeth, no shaving required.
Lumineers May Not Last as Long
While some sources claim that Lumineers can last up to 20 years, this is the exception and not the rule. Because they’re made of high-quality porcelain, Lumineers should be able to maintain their integrity for at least as long as traditional veneers, but that’s not always the case.
Because Lumineers are substantially thinner, they are more vulnerable to the harsh effects of chewing hard foods and grinding your teeth. In order to get the maximum life out of your Lumineers, you have to be extremely diligent in caring for them.
Lumineers Cost Less
Though the total cost will vary, Lumineers tend to be more cost-effective than traditional porcelain veneers. The lack of required prep work eliminates a critical step in the implantation process and enables less skilled dentists to offer Lumineers as part of their practice.
This is not a good thing. Fixing poorly-applied Lumineers for patients is a common treatment for experienced cosmetic dentists. Oftentimes, the poorly executed application causes more problems and adds more costs for the patient.
When fitted improperly (which dentists refer to as an improper emergence profile), Lumineers can scrape against the gum line. This produces irritation and inflammation and can subsequently lead to periodontal diseases. There have also been issues with Lumineers being too bulky and brittle, further increasing the risk of gum tissue injury.
If you’re considering Lumineers, it’s worth it to pay a bit more and go with an experienced, trusted cosmetic dentist.
Summary Chart of Similarities & Differences
Recommended for minor imperfections:
Recommended for major imperfections:
Number of appointments (on average):
Tooth preparation required:
15 to 20 years with proper care
$950 to $2,500 per tooth
10 to 15 years with proper care
$800 to $2,000 per tooth
Lumineers can be an excellent choice - if done correctly - but only for minor teeth imperfections. They offer almost all the benefits of traditional veneers, with the only difference being the preparation and possibly the outcome (if they’re not done correctly).
For most problems such as diastema and severe discoloration or even chipped and cracked teeth, porcelain veneers are still the way to go.
Note also that while Lumineers and other no-prep veneers cost less up front, they have less longevity which translates to a higher cost of ownership in the long run. When deciding between Lumineers vs veneers, consider the long-term investment and not just the up-front cost.
Should You Get Lumineers or Veneers?
Your cosmetic dentist can help you determine whether Lumineers or porcelain veneers are the more suitable choice. Some of the factors that go into making the right decision include your overall oral health, budget, and long-term goals.
Our Beverly Hills porcelain veneers treatment provides a permanent or semi-permanent solution to minor teeth imperfections such as teeth discoloration, cracks, chipping, and even heavy staining.