Lumineers® dental veneers.
What are they?
When a dentist places a set of veneers for a patient, they have some options as to the specific type they use. One of these options is the Lumineers® brand of porcelain veneers.
What's special about them?
They're unique because they can be made ultra-thin.
They're crafted out of dental porcelain called Cerinate®. And because it's exceptionally strong, these veneers can be made to extremely thin tolerances.
How thin are they?
Lumineers® can be as little as .2 to .3 millimeters thick. That's less than 1/64th of an inch, and similar to the thickness of a contact lens.
What's the advantage of a thin veneer?
Den-Mat Corporation, the company that makes Lumineers®, promotes a protocol where ultra-thin veneers are placed without any tooth preparation (no drilling) or an anesthetic (no "shots"). (You've probably seen their advertisements.)
What's the advantage of no-prep placement?
No-drill, no-shots veneering technique isn't better than conventional placement, it's simply different. It has some advantages but also some disadvantages.
As far as the way it's performed (its main advantage), here's how it differs from traditional veneering technique.
A) Conventional placement.
When regular porcelain veneers are placed, the dentist will first grind away some of the front side of the tooth. (See picture "A" in our graphic.)
Usually they'll only need to trim an amount that's about the same thickness as the porcelain veneer they plan to place.
B) No-shots, no-drilling veneer placement.
Since Lumineers® can be made so they're ultra-thin, they offer the option that they can be bonded directly onto a tooth's surface, without trimming it back first. (See picture "B" in our graphic.)
That means there's no need for any tooth preparation, and probably no need for an anesthetic either. And since nothing has been trimmed away, having to wear temporary veneers while the permanent ones are being made is never an issue.
Not all dentists think the use of this technique is such a good idea. And, in fact, there is a fair amount of debate in the dental community about if and when veneer placement using a no-prep approach makes a reasonable choice (see below).
More information: Here's an overview of the steps a dentist uses when placing conventional porcelain veneers. The steps for placing no-prep Lumineers® are the same, with the exception that no tooth trimming is involved.
Either method can be used with Lumineers®.
We're not trying to confuse you, but the following point needs to be made. Lumineers® can be placed using either traditional or no-prep technique.
- Lumineers® is simply a brand of porcelain veneer that's made out of the porcelain Cerinate®.
- While the strength of Cerinate® allows these veneers to be ultra-thin, they can also be made thicker, just like traditional ones.
- That means they can be used with either one of the techniques mentioned above (drill or no-drill).
No-prep placement and Lumineers® in general have their critics. Two major issues that are typically brought up are:
- Lumineers® have a reputation for being opaque, as opposed to comparatively translucent and life-like.
- No-prep technique can easily result in the creation of bulky, over-contoured teeth. That can make new veneers hard to get use to. It can also make teeth harder to clean properly.
Proper case selection is the key.
In response to these criticisms, dentists who favor the use Lumineers® are quick to point out that these issues can be kept in check by way of proper case selection.
Who makes Lumineers®?
Lumineers® are only available to dentists through one of the Den-Mat Corporation's Cerinate® Smile Design Studios.
Other no-drill products.
While Lumineers® are no doubt the best known (most heavily advertised) type of no-prep porcelain veneers, there are other brands your dentist can choose from. They include Vivaneers® (Glidewell Laboratories) and DURAthin®.