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Lumineers are a brand of porcelain veneer, created at a specialist laboratory in the United States. Lumineers tend to be much stronger than most other kinds of porcelain veneer which means they can be made much thinner. The slimness of Lumineers has the added benefit of limiting the amount of preparation required prior to fitting the veneer. In many cases this means that your dentist won't have to remove any of your natural tooth structure before the Lumineers are fitted. This has the added benefit of making the process completely reversible. Due to their tough composition and provided you maintain a decent level of oral hygiene; Lumineers tend to have a much longer life than conventional veneers with some sets lasting over 20 years.

Fitting Lumineers

In the first stage your dentist will provide you with a thorough oral examination, which will help to ensure you are a good candidate for veneers. If you are suitable for treatment, your dentist will start by taking an impression of your mouth in dental putty which will be sent away to a specialist laboratory where your veneers will be designed and created. This will take a couple of weeks and in some cases, a temporary veneer will be fitted. After a few weeks, your Lumineers should be ready and you can commence the fitting process.

Despite the claim that Lumineers don't require any existing tooth structure to be removed before fitting, in many cases dentists still prefer to prepare the teeth in order to avoid a number of potential dental problems (such as problems with bonding or spaces at the top of your teeth). If this is the case, your dentist will give the front of your teeth a slight reshaping so that they can accommodate the veneers.

Following preparation, your Lumineers are placed onto your teeth using special dental cement. They may need to be altered a few days after being placed, so that a more comfortable fit is achieved and so it is common for you to have a couple of follow-up visits. Your Lumineers should have a decent life as long as you maintain a decent level of oral hygiene and have regular check-ups with your dentist. Lumineers have the added benefit of being extremely resistant to staining, even in the face of a regular intake of red wine, tea, coffee or tobacco.

Drawbacks of Lumineers

There are some reasons why you may choose not to have Lumineers fitted and to have porcelain instead. Because the veneers are so thin there is less opportunity for the dentist to shape or alter the colour of it. This means your smile may not look as natural. Particularly if you are getting veneers to cover severe discolouration you may choose porcelain because, being so thin, Lumineers are more opaque.

In some cases, despite the strength of the bonding process, the Lumineers may come loose or fall off as there has been little preparation performed on the teeth. Although Lumineers are renowned for their strength, they can still become damaged or chipped. In cases such as this they can't be restored so a whole new veneer is required. If your natural teeth darken or lighten in colour then your lumineers will not match the rest of your teeth. To avoid this it is common to have any bleaching done prior to having the Lumineers fitted. As with all veneers, if the patient doesn't maintain a decent level of oral hygiene, veneered teeth have a much greater chance of decay and damage.

Lumineers are not the only kind of ultra-thin veneer, and your dentist may offer the same service with another brand, for instance Vivaneers, made by Glidewell Laboratories.

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