There are several brands of porcelain veneers available to cosmetic dentists that are strong enough to be ultra-thin.
Conventional porcelain veneers are made to be 0.5 mm thick, minimum. This is about the thickness of a fingernail, and I believe it is an adequate thinness for most situations. But there is a place for a thinner porcelain. If it is thin enough, it may be possible to do a smile makeover with very little or no tooth reduction.
Lumineers are the most heavily marketed brand of ultra-thin porcelain. I am somewhat critical of Lumineers on this website, as I have seen much mediocre cosmetic dentistry done with Lumineers, some that has even been featured on their company website. Click the link to read what I say about Lumineers and to see the before-and-after photos I’m talking about.
I’m Not As Critical of DURAthin Veneers
I don’t feel as inclined to be as critical of DURAthin porcelain. It is similar to Lumineer porcelain, in that it can also be made ultra-thin. However, it is felt by many expert cosmetic dentists to be a more esthetic material. And I have seen photographs of truly beautiful DURAthin work. I have not ever seen a smile with Lumineers that I would call truly beautiful.
There are two basic problems with Lumineers that are overcome with DURAthin and other similar brands of ultra-thin porcelain. The first is in the esthetic quality of the porcelain. Lumineers are pasty and opaque-looking. DURAthin has a more natural translucency to it.
The second problem is that Lumineers are under trademark restrictions which state that the manufacturer will only allow them to be made at the DenMat Laboratory. This laboratory has been criticized by expert cosmetic dentists as producing mediocre esthetic results. On the other hand, DURAthin and other brands can be used by any dental ceramist, many of whom are highly artistic.
But I also think part of the difference may be in the dentists they attract. The marketing of Lumineers to professionals is framed as being so easy to place and so lucrative. And then they put the stamp of “certified” on the dentist to lend credibility to the dentist’s own marketing campaign, a credibility which I feel would be more appropriately earned with several years of continuing education and experience rather than a single two-day course. From e-mails that I have received and websites and photographs I have examined, this seems to attract a dentist whose commitment to cosmetic dentistry seems too often to be superficial.
On the other hand, the dentists that I have seen who use DURAthin veneers are a much higher caliber. They include a number of the dentists we recommend on this website, and I have yet to see a photograph of a DURAthin case that I think looks mediocre. I’m sure such cases exist, but the several I have seen all look very nice. I have posted a couple below.
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This content was written by Dr. David Hall.