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Dear Dr Hall~
I have been reading all your expert information and advice about cosmetic dentistry and I am quite impressed. However, I noticed that you have not mentioned if it is possible to reapply new lumineers over existing lumineers. I have lumineers that just are not white at all and can never be whitened with any kind of bleaching due to the nature of the porcelain material. Would you recommend this “new over old” lumineer procedure and is it possible? My dentist is aware that I originally desired whiter lumineers but his tech said that was not available at that time. I do not want to insult him now because he is super nice but I feel there is no reason for “dingy” teeth in this day and age. Can you please respond with your thoughts? Thank you kindly.
– Gilda from Pennsylvania
Yes, you can do new Lumineers over old ones. But you wouldn’t want to, and I’ll explain why.
First, I noticed that you’re saying Lumineers without capitalizing it. Some people don’t realize that Lumineers is just one of many brands of porcelain veneers, so I wonder if you meant to refer to only the Lumineers brand. It’s the same answer whether you’re talking about Lumineers or another brand of porcelain veneers.
Lumineers are distinguished by the heavy marketing that has been done by the manufacturer. Back a few years ago, they were promoting among dentists this idea of putting Lumineers over old crowns, which is close to the same thing you’re suggesting. I think what happened is they ended up with a lot of patient complaints over how this turned out, and so I haven’t seen any of these ads for maybe five years now. Here is a photo of one of the ads in a print dental journal:
Two main reasons you don’t want to do this.
First, it’s just as much work to put new porcelain veneers over old ones as it is to re-do the old ones. The dentist would have to prepare the old veneers some, at least, to have the final result be not too thick. So you’re going to pay the same as if the dentist just started over.
Second, the “new over old” technique wouldn’t last as long as brand new veneers and has a risk of looking funny. Bonding porcelain on top of porcelain doesn’t give as reliable a bond as bonding porcelain to a natural tooth. Even if the dentist did get a good bond, what happens if the underlying, original porcelain veneer fails? By adding another veneer on top, you’re doubling the chance of failure. It would be much better to have a brand new one.
And then the margin where the new porcelain meets the old tends to be more susceptible to staining than margin at the porcelain-to-enamel bond.
Another point about your question. Whiter Lumineers or porcelain veneers have been available since the time Lumineers were invented. Telling you that the whiter color wasn’t available at the time—that’s simply not true. I question whether or not this dentist or this tech is up to speed on cosmetic dentistry. Only about 1-2% of dentists are capable of doing a beautiful smile makeover. This team you have sound like they’re in that bottom 98%. I’d seriously consider looking for an expert cosmetic dentist if you want a better smile.
– Dr. Hall
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