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Teeth Veneers

Lumineers vs. Veneers
You should give up bad habits like biting your fingernails before you get veneers.
You should give up bad habits like biting your fingernails before you get veneers.

Maybe you're a little hesitant to get veneers after hearing phrases such as "enamel shaving." If that's the case, you might want to consider a specific brand of veneers called Lumineers.

Lumineers are essentially thinner veneers made of modern glass ceramic containing a high density of leucite crystals [source: Spiller]. While most traditional veneers are 0.5 millimeters thick, Lumineers are about 0.2 millimeters thick [source: Den-Mat Holdings].

With traditional veneers, the dentist must shave down a layer of enamel on each tooth that will be receiving a veneer, or else the veneer will protrude from the tooth and feel extra thick in your mouth. That enamel shaving can leave teeth more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. And, as mentioned on the previous page, once a tooth has been shaved down for a veneer, there's no going back.

However, since they're so thin, Lumineers often need very little -- if any -- enamel scraped off the teeth they're destined for. Lumineers can usually be fitted in two pain-free visits, with a mold of your teeth being made on the first visit. Since in most cases, no enamel has been removed from the tooth, the process is also reversible. In other words, you could go back to a veneer-free smile if you so chose. And while traditional veneers usually last for only about 10 years, Lumineers often stick around for about 20 years [source: Stehula].

But Lumineers aren't right for everyone. For one thing, the contouring of the Lumineer at and just beneath the gumline can cause discoloration of the gums in some cases [source: Hall]. If you have sensitive gums, porcelain veneers may be a better choice. Controlling the final color of the Lumineer-covered tooth -- and making sure it matches all other teeth -- may also be difficult, since Lumineers are so thin.

Lumineers are similar in cost to porcelain or resin composite veneers -- anywhere from $800 on up, depending on where you live and how much prep work your teeth need beforehand [source: Hall].

Your dentist will help you decide if veneers or Lumineers are right for you, and either option can radically improve your smile, not to mention your self-confidence. For lots more information on veneers and cosmetic dentistry, check out the links on the next page.