What are Lumineers and Who Can Get Them?

You may have seen commercials on TV advertising Lumineers as a way to enhance your smile. While most patients have some idea as to what a veneer is, most are uncertain about the difference between a veneer and a lumineer.

A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain that is placed on the tooth to close small spaces between teeth, hide tooth discoloration, reshape the teeth and cover small chips that may be present on the teeth. In the past, it was necessary to remove a small amount of enamel in order to place veneers. But removing too much enamel could cause tooth sensitivity as well as increase the potential for the veneer to later pop off. So over the course of time, things have evolved so that nowadays, we have what is known as no prep or prepless veneers, which is what Lumineers are. Lumineers are very thin porcelain veneers that require very little or no enamel reduction.

But they are not indicated for every patient. If your teeth are very discolored, the lumineers might not be able to mask this. If your teeth stick out a little, placing lumineers can make your teeth look bulky. In these instances, it may be better to remove some enamel in order to achieve the desired result.

A good way to visualize what the final outcome will be is to have an impression or mould taken of the teeth so that the laboratory can prepare what we call a wax up. The lab takes the stone models of the teeth and uses white wax to carve the teeth into their ideal shape, size and position. The wax up along with photos of your teeth taken from different angles and “pre-wax up” study models allow us to decide which veneer will work best for you and help you achieve your esthetic goals.

Is it possible to guard against them reoccurring? Yes and no. Cold sores are caused by a virus, which lies dormant until triggered by any of those things mentioned above. But you can strengthen your immune system by increasing your intake of Vitamin B, zinc and iron.

How long do the sores take to heal? Most often, they heal on their own within a few weeks. There are some over-the-counter and prescription strength creams and ointments that can lessen your discomfort and speed the healing process. But a dental laser will, undoubtedly, provide the fastest resolution of a cold sore. The laser looks like a small wand with a tip that is moved in a circular motion above the sore for a few minutes. There is no contact with the sore, and you do not feel any pain during the procedure. Therefore, there is no need for anesthesia. The laser works by disinfecting the area, killing the virus and sealing the nerve endings. These all combine to expedite the healing process and quickly diminish any discomfort caused by the sore.

You can also choose to be proactive and treat a potential sore even before it manifests on your lip. As soon as you feel a tingling sensation and can tell that you are about to develop a sore, go ahead and schedule a dental visit to have the area treated so that it does not manifest as a full blown lesion. It has also been shown that laser treatment for cold sores can decrease the likelihood that you will have a sore reoccur in the same area.

So let us help you manage your cold sores better and minimize interruptions in your daily routine.