If you look at the advertising for no-prep porcelain veneers, called Lumineers by manufacturer Cerinate, you come across a number of claims. The manufacturer claims that they look as good (or better) than traditional porcelain veneers, don’t require modification of your teeth, and they last more than 20 years. This last claim looks especially good, when responsible dentists will tell you that the lifetime for most porcelain veneers is about 10 years. But will they really last 20 years? Not likely.
What Are Lumineers?
Lumineers are a relatively recent innovation in cosmetic dentistry. They’re also called no-prep veneers because they are glued to the front of your teeth without any preparation to the teeth themselves. The manufacturer claims that they can perform all the roles that traditional porcelain veneers do, but without the difficulty of preparing your natural teeth.
The Basis of the 20-Year Lifetime Claim
Lumineers started making the claim that they last more than 20 years based on a single study that was reported in 2005, called “Long Term Clinical Evaluation of Etched Porcelain Veneers.” Although it’s hard to find on their site nowadays, references to this study used to be all over their advertising. The study looked at 30 patients who received a total of 167 Lumineers. According to the researchers, after up to 240 months (20 years), only 10 of the Lumineers needed to be replaced.
What’s Wrong with This Study?
It’s worth noting that the findings presented above were not published in any scientific journal. Instead, they were presented at an academic conference. Work presented at an academic conference is considered provisional. It doesn’t undergo peer review (when other dentists and scientists look over a study’s findings to make sure they’re accurate), although it’s typical for researchers with significant findings to go on to revise their paper for publication. Certainly, it seems that a finding like this would be worth publication, but it has never been published. We don’t know why the study has never been published, but the fact that it hasn’t moved past peer review in 8+ years since presentation suggests that the research is faulty. In fact, a recently published review of all research on porcelain veneer survival concluded that data on the survival of Cerinate veneers beyond 5 years “were lacking.”
Other Problems with Lumineers
Without the potential for long-term survival, Lumineers’ other problems come to the fore. Because Lumineers are just stuck onto the front of the teeth, they can create a bulky appearance for many people’s smiles. In addition, they cannot be used to reshape your smile in a significant way. Finally, because they are applied to the front of your teeth, they can create a ledge at the edge of the veneer that may provide shelter for bacteria.
During your consultation at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics, we can discuss your porcelain veneer options frankly and give you the best science for helping you make an informed decision. Please contact us today at (509) 532-1111 for an appointment with a Spokane Cosmetic dentist.