I've written previously about the more technical aspects of porcelain veneers, but not it's time to go right ahead and talk about the "style" aspects of movie star smiles, seemingly perfect teeth, and porcelain veneers.
Quick -- what's the one physical trait thing that almost any movie star, celebrity, network news anchor, or really any television or media personality has in common? It's not height, weight, body type, hair style/color, or even taste in clothing. It's not even physical fitness or "perfect abs," as many portly stars exemplify.
No, the one thing they all seem to have in common is perfect (and I mean perfect) teeth. Everything is straight, white, polished, etc. No stains, no chips, no discoloration -- in fact, on many stars, you see no imperfections at all. Just a mouthful of pearly white choppers.
So how do most of them get smiles that are perfect? Simple: High quality porcelain veneers. And it's something that more and more people with funds are looking to do.
Veneers have been around for roughly 80 years, having been invented in the 1930's by California dentist Dr. Charles Pincus. In an interesting bit of "perception meets fact," they were actually created for Hollywood actors and actresses for the sole purpose of improving their smiles. They worked then, and they work now better than ever, as almost every "red carpet" picture suggests.
Now, I know some people think that the "movie star smile" is just teeth whitening. That could be the case for a few people, but as most of us here in the real world have found out, teeth whitening can only do so much. And, of course, it does nothing for the shape and actual structure of the teeth -- a chip is a chip is a chip, and no matter how much you whiten it, it's still a chip (you can replace "chip" with "gap" as well, as whitening does nothing for gapped teeth either.) Veneers change all of that: because they are razor thin slices of porcelain bonded to the front and sides of your teeth, they look perfect in every way (shape and color), and actually become the "face" of your mouth.
I've already done a few posts on the how and why of porcelain veneers, so I won't repeat myself here except to say that "porcelain veneers" are just like any other product or service you use -- quality and craftsmanship differ. So does color. In terms of shade, white shoelaces look different than milk which looks different than a piece of Chicklet gum, yet they are all "white." Cheaper veneers may not look exactly like tooth enamel. And as far as craftsmanship, depending on which cosmetic dentist you go to, he or she will work with porcelain veneers fabricated by a machine out of Lucite, or porcelain veneers handcrafted out of feldspathic porcelain by a master artist (yes, I call the people who do this type of work artists.)
This brings me to other lifestyle issues. First, I want to talk about cost of porcelain veneers for a moment, as this was a sticking point in many of the comments from my previous porcelain veneer posts. I will come right out and say porcelain veneers are not for everyone, as they can run from $1,000 - $2,500 (and up) per tooth. But this is all relative -- I am loath to call them "expensive" because to a certain income level, this is NOT expensive. Trust me -- to a millionaire movie star, dropping 100k on their smile is well worth it. The last thing they want is the close-up picture of crooked or stained teeth running in some tabloid.
But it's not just movie stars who want this kind of thing. Whenever anyone is experiencing financial success, their "looks" are one thing that almost always gets improved to a degree. For some people, that may mean a personal trainer; for others, a facelift. And for still others, porcelain veneers might be the thing. And for some people, they might do all three (amongst other things.) In my career as a NYC Cosmetic Dentist, I have seen people from all walks of life come in for porcelain veneers. From stage actors and actresses to ad agency executives to Wall Street investment bankers to a police captain to a housewife, I've improved the smiles of all kinds of people who found the price tag worth it. To some, it stretched the budget -- for others, it may as well have been a lunch bill. But that part isn't important -- what is important is how much you want that perfect smile.
In the end, porcelain veneers are a fashion and lifestyle choice -- it almost doesn't matter who you are or where you are from. Like any other purchase or service, it depends on what you can afford, and what you value. Yes, they are pricey, but if you are truly interested, there's likely a price point you can live with, whether it's A-List or B-List.
Until next time, keep smiling
Follow Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dr_connelly