Having a beautiful smile is crucial to your self-confidence and overall appearance. Unfortunately, no one has a perfect smile. If your teeth are misshapen, stained, crooked, or have gaps, and you are self-conscious about their appearance, you can consider Lumineers. Lomita dentists apply Lumineers directly to teeth in a minimally-invasive, painful procedure that requires no grinding, drilling, or shots to create an elegant, natural smile. At Washington Dental, your oral health is our priority. We can listen to your needs and create a cosmetic treatment plan that enhances your look and appearance.

What are Lumineers?

Lumineers are a brand of ultra-thin veneers made of patented cerinate porcelain. They are thin shells of tooth-colored material customized and attached to the teeth’s front surface to enhance your appearance.

They are exceptionally thin, as thick as a contact lens, making them different from conventional veneers. Their thinness permits them to be applied to your teeth with little or no preparation. That means your dentist will not remove enamel from your natural teeth before placing them.

Any patient who wants to improve their smile’s appearance can consider Lumineers. The restoration camouflages:

  • Broken or chipped teeth.
  • Spaces or gaps in your smile (diastema).
  • Too tiny teeth.
  • Stubborn stains that do not improve with teeth whitening.
  • Misshapen teeth.

Please note that you only qualify for this procedure if you are free of gum disease and cavities. It would help if you addressed your severe oral health conditions before placing Lumineers. 

Pros and Cons of Lumineers

The section below discusses the advantages and disadvantages of Lumineers to help you determine whether this oral health treatment option is optimal for your unique needs.

Notable Advantages

Its benefits include the following:

a) Non-Invasive

You will experience minimal discomfort or sensitivity during the procedure. The installation process does not require anesthesia administration. Reducing your tooth’s enamel to place Lumineers is unnecessary, depending on your tooth's condition.

The doctor will not offer you temporary acrylics to wear while they make your customized Lumineers in the lab. Usually, if it is unnecessary to make any adjustments before positioning the Lumineers, you can reverse the Lumineers.A Better Alternative to Braces

b) A Better Alternative to Braces

If your front teeth are slightly misaligned and you do not want to endure wearing braces and the related hassles, Lumineers can be an ideal solution. Lumineers can close gaps between your teeth and give your teeth a more balanced, symmetrical look. You can also consider this option to fix irregularly-shaped, broken, worn out, or chipped teeth.

c) Efficient and Convenient Construction

Lumineers are made of Cerinate porcelain and are approximately 0.2 millimeters thick, thinner than conventional porcelain. They are lightweight and will not cause any discomfort after placement.

Additionally, their composition allows them to resist cracking and leakage better than porcelain veneers. They are also durable and can last up to twenty years.

d) Permanently Eliminates Stained Tooth Issues

While teeth whitening is an effective solution to staining and discoloration, sometimes it does not eliminate all stains on natural teeth and might not last long. With Lumineers, you will instantly have a permanent, brighter smile, regardless of what you drink or eat.

e) There is No Recovery Time

Dentists place Lumineers without extensive drilling, surgical procedures, or significant tooth alterations. With hassle-free installation, you can avoid the painful recovery time associated with most cosmetic dental procedures.

Lumineers do not require downtime after the treatment, and you can continue with your everyday routine immediately after the procedure.

Its Cons

Some of its cons include the following:

  • Similar to veneers, Lumineers are hard to clean around the gum line, which can increase the risk of developing gum disease. If your Lumineers are partially flush with your gum line, you are at risk for caries near your gum line.
  • They are expensive.
  • Lumineers are more translucent and thinner than veneers, making them not an ideal option if you have severely discolored teeth.
  • The bonding can loosen and slip out of place over time. Consequently, patients are advised to avoid tearing and twisting foods.

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Lumineers Placement Procedure

You will only need two appointments after the initial dental consultation.

Initial Appointment

During your first appointment, your cosmetic dentist will take x-rays and impressions to determine how your teeth fit together. They will also thoroughly examine your teeth to ensure you do not have any signs of gum disease or tooth decay.

You and your dentist will choose your Lumineers’ color and your desired transparency level.

You can preview the Lumineers before your dentist at Washington Dental installs them in your teeth. With digital imaging, you can tell how Lumineers will look in your mouth and guide your dentist. It is free, quick, and only requires your smiling photos.

After taking your picture, your dentist will send it to a dental artist who will apply Lumineers to your teeth. Before leaving the dental office, the artist will return your picture, and you will receive a portfolio with a prospective smile.

Second Meeting

Your second dental appointment involves placing and bonding Lumineers to the teeth. The adhering material can ooze from beneath the Lumineers during bonding. Your physician can carefully remove the excess bonding material with a beveled feather edge margin.

Next, your dentist will polish your Lumineers until they are even. The smoothness prevents staining substances and bacteria from adhering to your smile’s surfaces, making these surfaces durable.

The final phase in your Lumineers placement process is separation. Until now, where the bite impressions indicate that teeth would naturally unite, the Lumineers have been cemented in place.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Lumineers?

Typically, Lumineers cost between $800 and $2,000 per tooth. Typically, they cost more than veneers.

Some factors that affect the Lumineers' cost include the following:

The Extent of Your Treatment

Placing Lumineers on one tooth is less expensive than placing them on all your teeth. The number of Lumineers you need depends on your budget and treatment goals. Your proficient dentist should make recommendations and suggestions based on your desired smile outcome.

Your Treatment Intricacy

Lumineers are a versatile treatment option that addresses different cosmetic issues. When you use them to fix a straightforward concern like discoloration, they are likely more cost-effective than when used to hide more complicated issues.

Moreover, you should first undergo preliminary treatment if you have an underlying oral health issue like gum disease or cavities. Supplementary dental treatment can increase the total treatment cost.

Laboratory Fees

Generally, Lumineers' laboratory fees are more costly than veneers. The price variation is due to the fabrication method needed to create ultra-thin shells that can withstand wear and tear.

Nevertheless, Lumineers' design allows dentists to place them without altering the teeth, saving patients money on anesthesia and tooth reshaping costs.

The Dental office's Geographical Location

Typically, dental procedures are more expensive in major cities. Higher overhead in urban areas means dental health providers will charge more to maintain their practice.

The Dentist’s Experience

As with every medical procedure, your dentist’s reputation, skills, and expertise can affect the overall treatment cost. The more qualified and seasoned the practitioner is, the higher their charges.

However, using an experienced dentist can save you money in the future. Appropriate placement can assist you in avoiding challenges with your bites and future replacement and repair costs.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Lumineers?

Most dental insurance providers consider Lumineers an elective cosmetic dental treatment instead of restorative dentistry, which is medically essential.

However, many cosmetic dentists perform restorative treatment procedures for aesthetic reasons. So, how does a restorative dental procedure differ from a cosmetic treatment?

Your treatment is restorative if:

  • Medically essential due to a disease or decay.
  • Medically needed due to an injury or accident.
  • Used to replace a missing tooth or improve your teeth's functionality.

On the other hand, dental health insurers consider a treatment elective or cosmetic if:

  • The treatment’s purpose is to boost your smile.
  • The tooth or tissue underneath is not hurt, decayed, or compromised.
  • You do not have a medical justification for changing your teeth or undergoing the treatment.

The difference between restorative and aesthetic dentistry can be blurred in specific circumstances. That means Lumineers coverage is not completely out of the question, particularly if it concerns your oral health or dental treatment after an injury or accident. 

What is the Difference Between Lumineers and Traditional Veneers?

Lumineers and veneers are cosmetic dental options, but they vary in the following aspects:

Thickness Aspect

Veneers are thicker (about 0.7 mm), while Lumineers are remarkably thin (approximately 0.03 mm). The Lumineers’ ultra-thinness allows dentists to apply them with minimal or no tooth preparation. Conversely, veneers require enamel removal to accommodate their thickness.

Durability Aspect

While both Lumineers and veneers are made from robust materials, porcelain veneers can last many years with appropriate care.

Reversibility Aspect

Since Lumineers require minimal or no tooth preparation, they are reversible. You can remove Lumineers, and your natural teeth will remain intact.

Veneers require enamel removal; your dentist cannot undo the process after placing them.

Veneers Have a Lengthy Preparation and Application Process

Veneers are applied in a multi-step process customized to your treatment. After your initial consultation, the dentist will grind down your teeth’s surface to prepare them for treatment. Then they will mold the prepared teeth and give you temporary acrylic veneers. A dental technician will fabricate your veneers from the mold and send them to the dental office after two to four weeks. Finally,  the dentist will cement the porcelain veneers to your teeth with a bonding solution.

On the other hand, Lumineers have a shorter application process since the dentist does not need to prepare or trim your teeth. The dentist will only take a mold or impression of your mouth before sending it to the laboratory.

Consider your dental health needs and goals when choosing between these two options. For instance, if your teeth are severely damaged, it would be best to have traditional veneers. Ensure you discuss your needs with your dental health provider, and they will guide you accordingly.

How to Extend Lumineers Longevity

Lumineers can last up to 20 years with proper care.

Below are instructions and guidelines to remember for the new Lumineers restoration.

Eat a Soft Diet

Dentists recommend a soft diet for 24 to 48 hours following placement. Eating soft food reduces irritation and avoids biting with the affected tooth.

Numerous nutritious foods do not require chewing, including the following:

  • Mashed potatoes.
  • Shakes or smoothies.
  • Yogurt.
  • Soft scrambled eggs.
  • Cottage cheese.
  • Wheat cream or oatmeal.
  • Cream or pureed soups.

After the procedure, be mindful of specific food groups that you should avoid, including the following:

  • Carbonated and hot drinks, coffee, and alcohol.
  • Spicy foods can irritate your gums, resulting in discomfort and pain.
  • Acidic juices like orange can cause a burning sensation.
  • Seeds and popcorn can hurt your gums and stick near your treatment area.
  • Crunchy and hard-to-chew foods.

Brushing Your Teeth

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day.

Brushing removes plaque buildup from the Lumineers’ surface. Plaques can dull their elegant color and shine. Moreover, brushing helps keep the teeth underneath the Lumineers healthy. The long-term success of your cosmetic dental work depends on your natural teeth. Oral health issues like tooth decay, gum disease, or cavities can shorten the restoration’s lifespan.

It is a misconception that a hard toothbrush is essential to keeping your teeth clean. Brushing correctly with a soft-bristled toothbrush can remove bacteria and debris without damaging your teeth.

Brush the teeth in a circular motion, starting at your gum line and working towards the mouth’s center. Also, brush in quadrants and brush every section for thirty seconds.

While brushing, apply even pressure, but do not be aggressive.

Finally, ensure you choose a toothpaste specifically designed for Lumineers. This solution requires special care. The toothpaste should be non-abrasive.

Use Mouthwash

Ensure you use a mouthwash with fluoride to kill all lingering bacteria and strengthen your gums and teeth. Rinse the mouth after meals or drinking coffee or soda to reduce the possibility of developing gum disease and cavities.

At Washington Dental, we understand that brushing more than twice daily can be challenging. Instead, we recommend rinsing the mouth because it is easy, and all patients have time for it.

Floss Once a Day

Flossing cleans and dislodges food particles and debris struck between the teeth, reducing plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Plaque is the sticky film that builds up on teeth and causes gum disease and cavities.

It is not adequate to floss; it is essential to floss properly. Incorrect flossing can damage your gums, teeth, and Lumineers. Here is a guide on how to floss the Lumineers:

  1. Break off 18 inches of dental floss. Wind most of your floss around with your middle fingers and leave about an inch of floss for the teeth.
  2. Hold your floss taut using your index fingers and thumbs.
  3. Next, place your dental floss in between two teeth. Gently move your floss up and down, rubbing it against all sides of every tooth. Avoid gliding your floss into the gums since it can bruise or scratch them.
  4. Once your floss reaches the gums, curve it at your tooth’s base to form a “C” shape. It permits the floss to enter the space between the tooth and gums.
  5. Repeat these steps as you proceed from one tooth to the next. With every tooth, use a clean floss section.

You should floss before brushing your teeth. Flossing lifts and releases plaque and food between the teeth, while brushing removes the particles from the mouth.  

Quit Smoking

Cigarettes and other tobacco products have numerous health risks that harm natural teeth and Lumineers due to yellow discoloration. Once the Lumineers are permanently bonded to your teeth, there is no way to change them. Therefore, if you want them brighter or whiter, you must redo them.

Avoid Stain-Causing Drinks and Foods

To keep your Lumineers looking their best, avoiding drinks and foods that can cause staining is vital. It includes coffee, tea, dark-colored sauce, dark juices, and red wine.

If you eat or drink these foods or beverages, rinse your mouth immediately.

Make Regular Dental Visits

You should visit your dentist every six months. During the dental checkup, the dental health professional will look for signs of wear and tear or damage to Lumineers and recommend Lumineer care. Additionally, your dentist can remove plaque and tartar buildup and lower the risk of staining.

How to Tell Your Lumineers Need Replacement

Practicing good oral habits daily and seeing your dental health provider regularly can extend their durability and ensure you maximize your investment. Well, there will come a time when the restorations should be replaced. Here are signs to watch out for and consult your dentist immediately.

  • The gums are pulling back — Poor oral hygiene and gum disease can cause your Lumineers to separate from your gums, causing gaps or receding gums. It indicates that you should replace your Lumineers because you have periodontitis, and the Lumineers could become loose and fall out.
  • Your Lumineers feel uncomfortable to wear — If the Lumineers are improperly customized-fitted and are too large for your teeth, they can be uncomfortable. They can also impact your bite. Your seasoned dentist should fix the issue.
  • Your restorations are cracked or chipped — Worn-out, cracked, or chipped Lumineers are ready to be replaced. While Lumineers are made of durable material, that does not mean biting on hard food cannot affect them. Cracked or chipped Lumineers are a functional and aesthetic issue that could affect your ability to chew and talk normally.
  • The Lumineers are stained or dark — Highly pigmented drinks and foods can stain the restoration if drunk or eaten excessively. Regrettably, Lumineers cannot be bleached like natural teeth, so if brushing cannot remove the stains, you should replace them to restore your elegant smile. Likewise, if the adhering material starts to darken with time, it is time to consult a dentist.
  • Your underlying tooth is decayed — Lumineers are tailored to fit tightly to your underlying tooth, preventing cavities and decay-causing bacteria. Nevertheless, they can become loose, and your supporting tooth can decay. Once the Lumineers start detaching, your dentist will remove your restoration to treat the decay before replacing it.
  • If you run your tongue over your teeth and they feel rough, it is time to consult your skilled cosmetic dentist. Biting and chewing can cause your Lumineers to wear out.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist During Your Initial Dental Consultation

Although cosmetic dentistry is expensive, your dream smile is within reach. It is normal to have concerns. Below are questions to ask your dentist to get the most out of your dental appointment. They will also help you make an informed decision, prepare you financially and psychologically, and ensure you have a good experience.

  • Is the placement process painful?
  • How long will the recovery process take?
  • Do you have before and after photos of patients who have undergone Lumineers treatment?
  • What are the potential complications and risks related to the treatment, and how do you mitigate them?
  • How long will the results last?
  • How long does your placement process take?
  • Does dental health insurance cover cosmetic dentistry?
  • How much does the procedure cost?
  • Are there dietary restrictions or special care needs after the Lumineers' placement?
  • How will the treatment affect your teeth and gums’ health and functionality?
  • Are there alternatives to this treatment that are more appropriate for you?
  • Can you explain the treatment procedure step-by-step?

Effective communication with the dentist ensures that you have realistic expectations about your treatment. Do not hesitate to ask any additional questions. The knowledgeable and friendly dentist at Washington Dental will gladly address your concern.

Find a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist Near Me

Your smile is the first thing people notice. To make a memorable first impression, you can consider Lumineers to beautify your gums and teeth and improve your appearance. This cosmetic solution is ideal regardless of whether you have a gummy smile, gaps between your teeth, or chipped, crooked, discolored, or cracked teeth. With ultra-thin and bright white shells, Washington Dental has helped patients throughout Lomita realize their perfect smile desires. 

Call us at 310-326-5183 to schedule your dental consultation and discuss your treatment options with our knowledgeable dentists.