Dental Veneers and Laminates: What’s the difference?

Dental Veneers and Laminates: What’s the difference?

If you have crooked teeth with large spaces between, dental veneers are a popular go-to solution. For people with small teeth or teeth with minor chips, laminates are the way to go. These two types of dental corrections are widely used for patients with a variety of oral care needs. Let’s take a look at differences between them and how they might work in your particular scenario.

What are dental veneers?

Simply defined, dental veneers are utilized to correct oral crowding, discoloration, spacing, chips or breaks in teeth, or poorly shaped teeth. Veneers are a very effective and flexible solution and they blend in with surrounding teeth. Patients have a choice of resin or porcelain veneers to fit best with their needs and look. Veneers are excellent choices to enhance color and shape of teeth, as well as close gaps and help give you a vibrant smile.  

So what are they? Veneers are a very thin shell of composite resin placed on the visible front section of a tooth. Shaving a small area of the tooth is sometimes necessary in order to securely attach the veneers and if part of the existing tooth is not removed, the veneers will protrude farther out than adjacent teeth.

What are laminates?

Dental laminates are also a form of oral correction but laminates have a thinner shell (similar in size to a contact lens) than veneers. Laminates are used to extend comparably smaller teeth and their very small size contributes to their popularity with patients, as does the minimalist factor—no enamel, or only small amounts, must be removed prior to application and the tooth is essentially unchanged, with enamel intact.

How to choose between laminates and veneers

All major dental solutions should be taken seriously, with time dedicated to making the right choice. It is important to take a close look at all of the latest information related to veneers and laminates prior to choosing a dentist and treatment plan.

Be sure to consider all available information and match it with your specific oral health needs, and then choose which treatment fits best. In all cases, don’t be overly concerned with cost. Yes, your budget is a big factor with dental treatments but the quality of care you receive should focus more on what you need than what it costs. In times of indecision, it always helps to consult with a dentist’s expertise.

How does the procedure work?

One of the best things about dental laminates or veneers is the procedures can be performed simultaneously on multiple teeth in a minimally invasive manner. Two types of procedures are available, direct or indirect, and take up to three office visits.

Direct procedure

The Direct procedure follows a technique of applying composite resin on the outside of the tooth. This method is also known as bonding or composite and requires very little removal of the tooth’s original enamel. Resin comes in a variety of colors and is usually far less expensive than porcelain options but it demands more maintenance with any chips or breaks. In addition, resin loses its polish over time and eventually must be replaced.

Indirect procedure

With the Indirect procedure, veneers are made from porcelain at a lab and are applied over two separate patient visits. The first appointment involves impressions of the teeth and a temporary composite covering is applied. Two weeks later the temporary coverings are removed and prepared porcelain is bonded to the teeth. Many patients choose this procedure as porcelain closely resembles the vitality and bright appearance of natural teeth, and average life span is 15-20 years.

What about crowns?

Crowns remain a widely used option but the big advantage with veneers is impact. Veneers are adept at repairing many oral issues without removing much, or any, of the original tooth, and the procedure is simpler and much faster. Choose crowns for large fillings or damaged tooth structures but for more minor issues, whether cosmetic or repair, laminates and veneers are excellent choices. Your dentist can help make a sound and strategic decision, thoroughly clean your teeth, conduct a detailed analysis, and perform the procedure that improves overall oral health and boost the quality and integrity of your teeth and gums.

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