Veneers were the first prostheses used by cosmetic dentists in the history of modern prosthodontics, which actually beings in the 1930s – and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
Despite the beauty movie-goers saw on the Silver Screen, the fact is that many Hollywood stars didn’t take the best care of their teeth. Many a movie goddess or leading man was only one until they opened his/her mouth to reveal crooked, stained and rotting teeth leading to severe facial collapse. It was a dentist named Charles Pincus who pioneered the concept of gluing a thin, tooth-shaped piece of porcelain over the top of an actor’s natural (but imperfect) teeth. These were the first dental veneers, and were the prototype of the veneers used by cosmetic dentists today.
Of course, it was another four decades before the materials and techniques had advanced to the point at which veneers were a practical, permanent solution for patients whose teeth had become discolored, worn, or damaged through injury or neglect.
For those with stained teeth as a result of the consumption of certain foods – red wine, tea and coffee, berries, etc. – there are many different methods of tooth whitening available to cosmetic dentists. However, in the case of teeth that have become stained as a result of illness or because of side effects of certain prescription drugs (such as tetracycline), veneers often produce better results.
Today’s high-tech cosmetic dentist usually employs porcelain veneers because of its durability and strong resemblance to natural tooth enamel. These thin slivers of porcelain are trimmed to shape and bonded to the patient’s own teeth using a permanent adhesive. Although they usually do not last forever, porcelain veneers used by cosmetic dentists today can last for as long as fifteen years when properly cared for.
Cosmetic dental pioneers, such as this cosmetic dentist in Santa Monica, has taken the use of porcelain veneers to a whole new level by using this technology for jaw reallignment.
Veneers have their downsides; one of them is cost. As of 2006, the cost was for such veneers averaged approximately $1000 per tooth. Much of this cost is due to the amount of delicate, precision work required to prepare the patient’s tooth to receive the veneer; it must be carefully shaped, resulting in a permanent alteration of its shape. For patients whose teeth are chipped or worn but otherwise in good health, many cosmetic dentists may recommend other alternatives. Some of these include professional whitening techniques that produce results superior to those from OTC kits, as well as dental bonding, which allows cosmetic dentists to actually reconstruct damaged teeth.