Traditional Dental Veneers Are A “Perfect” Problem

Traditional Dental Veneers and a Perfect

The Real problem with traditional dental veneers has little to do with how they function or their performance. Who determines what a normal, esthetically pleasing smile looks like is the real issue. America struggled for decades with defining “image” as a marketplace bent on exploiting peoples’ flaws for economic gain. The danger of this national obsession has become systemic since the days of Twiggy. Fashion magazines offer Photoshopped perfection as the standard to which we should aspire. The effects of this insidious marketing made their way into breast implants and the definition of a Hollywood smile. Carving their bodies and their teeth, people use their resources to chase a false picture of their “perfect” self. People make investments in the tens of thousands of dollars at their dentist to get the “perfect” smile.

It's okay to not have a Perfect Hollywood Smile

Jane’s Smile Makeover

This message has become so endemic that people with nice smiles are convinced only a “perfect” Hollywood smile is acceptable. One particularly relevant example of this is highlighted in a June 2015 article entitled “Saving Jane’s Smile.” Gary Nankin, DDS discusses how he “saved” the smile of a patient who was not content with her first set of . According to Dr. Nankin, Jane was unhappy with her veneers:

About a year prior to her visit to my office, Jane got porcelain veneers. Her previous dentist placed them on her six top front teeth (numbers 6 to 11). From the very beginning, she was unhappy with them. She said that they just never felt like they belonged. The veneers felt bulky, flat, uneven. Most of the time they were so uncomfortable that she just wanted to “rip them out”. In addition, food frequently got stuck behind them. She thought it looked like the surface of the teeth had “divots” in them.

The high bar of “perfection”

The woman deemed a less than perfect set of veneers for which she had certainly paid at least $10,000.00, Dr. Nankin outlined his approach to “saving” Jane’s smile:

The sequence outlined for Jane’s treatment was as follows:
1. Endodontic referral for treatment of tooth number 15, followed by a composite core build-up.
2. Periodontal therapy in both the anterior region and upper left to achieve optimal tissue health.
3. Wax up of maxillary and mandibular teeth with the plan to place all ceramic restorations on her teeth. (4 to 15, and 22 to 27) Including the construction of a Sil-Tech® PVS index of both the maxillary and mandibular wax ups. This aids in the construction of provisional restorations and utilizing the general shape of LVI Smile Catalog, “Natural.”
4. Preparation of maxillary teeth and placement of permanent restorations.
5. Placement of dental implant by the periodontist followed by preparation of mandibular teeth and placement of permanent restorations.
6. Restore the now fully-healed and osseointegrated implant in the position of tooth number 30.

The link between self-esteem and self-worth

Regarding a person’s smile, the strong link to self-esteem and self-worth make an imperfect set of teeth a concern. However, the picture in the article clearly illustrates what appears to be a well-constructed and healthy-looking smile. The entire premise is puzzling. How does a dentist promote “saving” a smile that 97% of the people in America would love to show off?

One of the primary reasons cited by an article in The Journal of the American Dental Association makes it clear:

…with the decrease in caries [ tooth decay] prevalence, the focus shifted gradually from functional dentistry to esthetic dentistry. As a result, the perception of tooth appearance in modern society could influence the changes in patients’ needs.

Functional Dentistry loses out to esthetics

In other words, patients aren’t visiting the dentist primarily for tooth decay. Therefore, “needs” are more centered on esthetics than functional dentistry. As a result, emphasis has shifted to creating a plan seeking to achieve the perfect smile at huge cost. The previous study details the effects:

Esthetics has become an important
aspect of dentistry. Until about the last
two decades, clinicians considered
esthetics to be far less important than
function, structure and biology. Today,
however, if a treatment plan does not
include a clear view of its esthetic
impact on the patient, the outcome could be disastrous.

Capitalizing on the Commerce of Imperfection

How disastrous was not spending tens of thousands of dollars on a second set of veneers for Jane’s smile? Reclassifying “esthetics” as a necessary component of dental care is particularly troubling as we cannot accurately measure or manage it. People trusting professional opinions of dentists are vulnerable to being convinced. Minor, esthetic problems with their smile, they are told, require expensive measures to correct in order to be “normal”. Hence, the real problem with veneers lies in the ever more pervasive use of cosmetic dentistry. Covering up even the smallest flaw in order to capitalize on the dysfunctional body imagery of a vulnerable population. Requiring Jane’s “before” smile to be saved sets a high bar for a “normal” smile. So high, in fact, that natural, God-given teeth can never compete.

The High Cost of Cosmetic Smile Enhancement

A cosmetic smile enhancement should not have to cost a fortune. You decide when and if you are ready for traditional veneers to achieve your perfect smile. Brighter Image Lab created removable dental veneers allowing people time to evaluate all options before committing to porcelain veneers. We understand that people want to be proud of their smile. As a result, we offer Press On Veneers as a choice for a non-dental, reversible, and removable cosmetic smile contrivance. Call and talk to Laurie Hall today to find out more about Press On Veneers.

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