Hi Dr. Hall, I have been meaning to get my teeth fixed for about a year now but I am still not sure as to which procedure to get done. I have irregular teeth two of my front teeth are badly shaped one is very thin and has a triangular shape and the other one pretty much looks like a broken tooth. I have been thinking about getting either lummineers or veneers but dont know which would be best. I have heard lummineers crack easily and i went to a cosmetic dentist and he recomended veneers beacuse my teeth are already worn down so they would not have to ground them down much but I am still not sure as to which would benefit me most in concerns to durability. This procedure is very expensive and I am still saving up for it so I want to spend my money wisely and not have to go back to fix more problems which would mean spending more money. If you can please advise me as to which of the two would be a better choice concerning not only the look but most important the durability and which in your opinion can give more problems. thank you.
– Joyce from Florida
I’m going to suggest that you change your frame of mind in “shopping” for a new smile. This isn’t a product like a pair of shoes that you buy and it doesn’t matter where you buy it. This is a work of art and you’re hiring an artist to create it for you. Let’s say a community group asked you to commission a painting for the lobby of a local concert hall. Would you start by picking out the brand of paint to be used and the type of brush? Of course not. But that’s how it sounds like you’re approaching this new smile.
Lumineers is simply one brand of porcelain veneers. So asking whether to get Lumineers or porcelain veneers is like asking whether you should buy a Chrysler or a car. Lumineers is one of many brands of porcelain veneers.
There is a very big difference from one dentist to the next on how well they do with smile makeovers. Some dentists are exquisitely talented at this and they attract movie stars and models who fly to see them from across the country. And then there are many dentists who have no concept of beauty, and I could show you the e-mails I have received from patients who are literally in tears because their “cosmetic dentistry” that they paid thousands of dollars for is ugly. Here’s the deal: dentists pick this field because they like to fix things. 98% of them have an engineering mentality, and they simply aren’t artistic.
Start by picking the cosmetic dentist. And you’re going to have to delve a little deeper than simply that the dentist claims to be a cosmetic dentist. The reason I operate this website is to help steer patients to dentists who are true artists and can do beautiful work. There are a number of dentists who are capable of doing beautiful cosmetic dentistry beyond the handful who treat the movie stars, and that’s the kind of dentists I list on this website. It’s about one out of every fifty dentists who is artistic enough to create a beautiful smile. And the whole reason for this website is that I try to teach people that, and then I research the dentists and ask for photos of their work and I tell the website visitors who those dentists are.
A word about the Lumineers brand. Many excellent cosmetic dentists refuse to do Lumineers. They are strong enough, but they tend to be somewhat opaque and pasty-looking. Plus, because they are a trademarked brand, the dentist has to send them to the Lumineers laboratory in Santa Maria, California, and many excellent cosmetic dentists feel that lab doesn’t produce truly beautiful results. So the best you can get with the Lumineers brand is maybe a “B” smile, even with a great cosmetic dentist. That might be good enough for you. But the little secret is that usually you can get an “A” smile for the same fee or maybe just a little more, like $1100 per tooth instead of $1000.
You said that you went to a cosmetic dentist. I’m wondering how you know that he is a cosmetic dentist. I hope you have more to go on than just that’s how the practice was advertised. You can’t count on that. Cosmetic dentistry is an unregulated field – you don’t need any special training to be able to announce yourself as a cosmetic dentist.
My advice is, before you spend all your money and then write me another e-mail a year from now asking what to do now that you hate your new smile – spend a little more time on this. Get a second opinion from one of the cosmetic dentists on our list. I’m guessing from your area code that Dr. Jose Abadin is probably closest to you, but there are others you could check out. Go to our Florida page, pick one you think you’d be comfortable with, and spend some time picking a great cosmetic dentist. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.
And about the durability – actually even that is mostly dependent on the dentist and the techniques used rather than the material. All porcelains are very hard, but they are somewhat brittle. They get their strength from bonding them to the tooth. When Lumineers crack, it is usually because they weren’t bonded properly.