Why dental veneers are not without risk

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Why dental veneers are not without risk


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Dental 'veneers' might have gone viral, but the practice is not without risk. (Image: Rawpixel)
ETX Daily Up

By ETX Daily Up

Mon. 17. January 2022


After the Hyaluron Pen craze – a source of various unwanted side effects – the latest trend sweeping TikTok is what users seem to think are dental veneers. And that’s exactly the problem. Health professionals are now speaking out to warn people of the dangers of filing down healthy teeth to add not veneers but dental crowns. Lisa Harand, a dentist and Happybrush collaborator, helps clear up some misconceptions about this viral trend.

Where does this craze for dental veneers come from?
Originally, it was mostly Hollywood stars who used veneers to perfect their smile on camera. Today, this trend has spread to a large part of the population, as more and more people want, or feel under pressure, to have teeth that are as perfect as possible. Almost all dental practices offer veneer treatments, so they are no longer just for celebrities and actors.

Our beauty ideals are, of course, greatly influenced by the media we consume every day. Looking at advertisements, magazines, TV shows, or Instagram accounts, everyone seems to have perfect, white, straight teeth. As time goes on, the desire to keep up takes hold of many people, so they look for ways to achieve an equally perfect smile. They inevitably come across what is called 'smile makeovers' involving veneers.

Are dental veneers suitable for everyone, at any age?
There is no specific age for veneers. As a general rule, the teeth must be fully developed, which is why most dentists recommend this treatment from the age of 18 at the earliest. In the case of teenage teeth, you must always take into account that the nerve inside the tooth is still very extensive. Since a thin layer of enamel is removed during the process of applying veneers, the nerve risks being damaged in teenagers.

Can it be dangerous to put veneers on healthy teeth?
When a veneer is applied, a thin layer of enamel is removed, resulting in a loss of tooth matter. Even if this loss is minimal, the tooth may be more sensitive to heat and cold. In very rare cases, the abrasion may also cause inflammation of the dental nerve and require root canal treatment. It is also important to bear in mind that enamel that has been removed cannot be restored naturally. In other words, professional dental reconstruction in a dental practice will always be required. In addition, veneers have a limited lifespan, which can be shortened by poor oral hygiene. Possible reasons for replacing the veneer are, for example, a cavity, discoloration of the veneer, or a fracture.

Is this new craze directly linked to social networks?
For the past year or two, the topic of veneers has been very prominent on social media. Many influencers are documenting their veneer treatments, many of which are performed abroad to reduce costs, and showing their followers the before and after results. Young viewers, in particular, can thus be strongly influenced and get the idea to do such treatment on their teeth – even if they are objectively perfect and above all, healthy.

What is particularly problematic is that there is often confusion between two completely different treatments: veneers and crowns. In the videos, crowns are shown, but they are falsely called veneers. However, crowns require a much greater loss of tooth matter. The tooth is filed down in 360 degrees. What remains are very small teeth that look like shark teeth, which are then covered by crowns.

What advice would you give to people, especially to young people?
Even though there is a lot of social pressure to have the most perfect possible teeth, the most important thing is to have healthy teeth. Regular visits to the dentist and good oral hygiene can already achieve good results. It is important to remember that if veneers are applied at a young age, they will have to be replaced several times during a person's life. This aesthetic treatment has a high price. It is therefore important to carefully evaluate the benefits and risks beforehand. Each set of teeth is unique, and even the so-called imperfections can be beautiful and give character to our smile!

So what's the best way of getting nice white, straight teeth?
Before considering veneers, you should always try to achieve the desired result with minimally invasive methods. This can include professional dental cleaning at the dentist. This will remove stains caused by regular coffee or tea consumption, which deteriorate the natural color of the teeth. If this isn't effective enough, bleaching can be performed to lighten the darkest stains. These measures usually result in a much brighter smile without permanent damage to teeth.

Orthodontic treatment can be helpful in cases of tooth misalignment or gaps. There are also more discreet alternatives for adults who no longer wish to wear traditional braces. For example, aligners – kinds of transparent mouthpieces – can correct the position of the teeth instead of using conventional metal braces. It is also possible to fill small gaps with a plastic filling. In this way, the shape of the teeth and small irregularities can be compensated for.

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