A veneer is a thin sleeve of restorative material used to cover a tooth which is either damaged or not aesthetically pleasing to its owner. First developed in the 1930’s by Charles Pincus, a California dentist, for use by Hollywood actors who wanted to augment their smiles, veneers were not originally long lasting due to the simple denture adhesive which held them in place. In the early 1980’s a pair of researchers named Simonsen and Calamia made advances in veneer technology by discovering that porcelain veneers could be bonded to teeth permanently with hydrofluoric acid and composite resins.
Today’s veneers can be expected to last as long as twenty years before needing replacement, and are often used by dentists to camouflage a number of concerns including discolored, misshapen, fractured, worn-down, malpositioned, or excessively small teeth. In addition, veneers can improve the patient’s facial features by making teeth fuller and longer – giving a more healthy and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Patients have the option of choosing between a composite veneer which is built-up directly on the tooth or a porcelain veneer which is indirectly fabricated in a dental laboratory and bonded to the tooth using resin cement.
Lumineers® are a particular brand of extremely thin porcelain veneers which require less preparation and are reversible, unlike the traditional alternative. The procedure is simpler and requires only two visits, one for making a mold and one for final positioning, with no need for shots or tooth reduction. The brand offers a limited lifetime warrantee which allows for replacements free of charge. Lumineers® also provide better aesthetics and are better for periodontal health. Price and results are usually comparable, although some dentists feel traditional veneers provide fuller coverage, an issue particularly relevant to covering discolored teeth.