Dental laminates and dental veneers are two common procedures done to improve the overall appearances of someone's smile. From color to shape and size, both options ultimately provide non-invasive treatments to unpleasant smiles. But what is the difference between the two?
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells placed on the surface of the teeth to improve appearance, giving patients a better-looking smile. The procedure used to place veneers is minimally invasive and requires a small amount of enamel be removed for them to fit.
What are dental laminates?
Dental laminates have the same function as veneers and are sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. Laminates differ in the sense that they are much thinner and require less amount of enamel to be removed for them to be placed.
Does this difference matter?
Knowing the difference between dental laminates and dental veneers matters because it can help a patient decide which option is best for their teeth and smile needs. For instance, someone with crooked teeth or who has gaps are much better off getting veneers which are more flexible and stabler than dental laminates. However, if the issue is discoloration or minor chips, laminates are a great option because they are lightweight and do not require much enamel removal.
Dental veneers are made of two different materials namely composites and porcelain.
Composite veneers are the less preferred choice as they are prone to staining. However, getting composite veneers requires less prep work on the natural teeth and a patient can walk out with them on the same day.
On the other hand, porcelain veneers are typically double the price of composite veneers and require the removal of enamel for their placement. They also cannot be repaired if chipped or damaged. However, they have a natural appearance, are more durable and can last up to ten years.
Placing veneers, especially porcelain veneers, requires the removal of some of the enamel on the teeth and the reshaping of the tooth. This is done in order for the veneer to lay flat and avoid having a bulky, unnatural appearance. This poses a problem because the tooth’s natural protection is removed and the only thing left to protect it is the veneer. While they can be replaced, once the veneer is removed the tooth loses its protection.
Laminates can be referred to as an advanced porcelain veneer as they both share the same function and benefits. However, when placing laminates, the enamel and structure of the tooth do not have to be altered. While this may be better in the long term for the health of the tooth, getting laminates still has its disadvantages.
While laminates are only as thick as a contact lens and a thinner alternative to porcelain veneers, they can be bulky on the teeth when they are placed without altering the tooth. They are also usually more expensive than porcelain veneers.
Which is best? It all depends!
The decision ultimately lies in the hands of the patient and the dentist with regards to which option is better. This is because the needs of each patient vary and one option usually outweighs the other when personal needs, cost, and other factors are applied.
Dental veneers and dental laminates are great options when it comes to having a smile enhancement. Visit your dentist to find out if you are a suitable candidate and which option would be best for you!
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