We asked a dentist what the procedure should really look like

Dr Emi Mawson insists that teeth should not be filed down to fit traditional veneers, which are little more than a thin shell-like covering for the tooth. Think of it like false nails, she suggests.

However, the treatment is being sold as a ‘faster and cheaper’ option because it means that teeth don’t have to be aligned before applying a traditional veneer – therefore you don’t need orthodontic treatment first.

The British dentist posted a TikTok video warning, watched over 100k times, about the dangers of having the teeth shaved down, including nerve damage, pain and massive expense.

If you’ve seen the ‘shark teeth’ trend on TikTok, you’re probably starting to wonder (or panic) about what it really means to get a perfect smile these days.

The trend is all about TikTokers sharing their ‘pre-veneers’ smiles after having their natural teeth shaved down to pegs in preparation for a new cosmetic smile.

But one TikTok dentist, with over 25k followers on the site, says this scary trend is not the right way to prepare the teeth for veneers.

In fact, it’s completely wrong.

We recommend giving it a watch.

So, caught up with The TikTok Dentist to find out what exactly a veneer procedure should look like and why we should be wary of any other treatments being sold as ‘veneers’.

What is the ‘shark teeth’ trend and why is it so worrying?

Something we are seeing a lot is ‘crowns’ being sold and marketed as ‘veneers,’ which can cause some confusion when considering treatment for yourself.

Crown preparations require less time and skill for both the dentist and the lab technicians but they can be a lot more damaging for the teeth in the long-run.

Dental tourism – where people go abroad to seek cheaper or faster alternatives to UK treatments – is becoming increasing in popular and it’s worrying because people don’t always know the facts about what they’re paying for.

Once your teeth are down to stumps, there is no going back.

What is the difference between veneer preparation and crown preparation?

Whereas a veneer requires minimal preparation to a single surface of the tooth, a crown preparation requires a heavier preparation of all surfaces of the tooth, creating this ‘stump’ appearance upon which a crown is fitted.

A crown preparation means that more of the natural tooth is removed, this significantly weakens the tooth and leaves the tooth much more vulnerable to problems in the future.

So, what are veneers and why have they become so popular?

Much like a false nail, a veneer is just a thin shell that covers the front surface of a tooth.

With increasing societal pressure for the ‘perfect smile’, veneers have become extremely popular as a way to adjust the shape and shade of teeth to give a more even, white and aligned smile.

However, in order for veneer preparations to be minimally invasive, teeth have to be fairly well aligned. If there is some misalignment, orthodontic treatment may be recommended beforehand.

Often that means that crown preparation (where the teeth are filed down) is cheaper and faster – which attracts a lot of people – but actually, it can lead to many problems and huge expense in the future.

What types of veneer can you get?

There are two common ‘types’ of veneers.

1. Composite veneer: Where a tooth coloured material is added directly to the tooth and shaped by the dentist, this usually requires no preparation or ‘shaving of the tooth surface’, these usually last 3-5 years before they need to be replaced.

2. Porcelain veneer: A thin layer of porcelain that is custom made in a dental laboratory, it is then bonded to the tooth by your dentist. These require a small amount of tooth preparation on the front surface of the tooth, these usually last for 8-10 years before they need to be replaced.

Why might it be damaging to get teeth shaved down at a young age?

The more of the natural tooth that is taken away, the shorter the remaining life-span of that tooth and the more problems you’ll face in the future.

Every time a tooth is re-treated, more of that precious tooth tissue is taken away.

A crown removes over 60% of the natural tooth, this leaves a tooth extremely vulnerable to breaking, and 1 in 4 crowned teeth will go on to need a root canal treatment and a post to hold the crown in place, this is usually the last stage of treatment before the tooth has to be taken out, and you may end up forking out to replace teeth as early as your 40’s.

Furthermore, the pulp of the tooth, which contains the nerve and blood supply of the tooth, is much larger in younger people. This means there is an even higher chance of damaging the nerve and requiring a root canal treatment in young healthy teeth.

Not only this but if you have crowns fitted abroad and begin to experience pain and broken teeth, you will not be eligible to have the tooth fixed on the NHS. You will also not be able to gain legal representation for medical negligence in the U.K. as it is outside our jurisdiction.

The TikTok Dentist’s Top 3 Watch-Outs

1. Make sure you ask your cosmetic dentist if they are minimally invasive. Check out some of their work on Instagram and make sure their style suits you.

2. Make sure you’re properly informed on all the treatment options available to you, the cost, maintenance and how often they will need to be replaced.

The cost of dental treatment will depend on the skill of the dentist, the skill of the lab technician making the veneers/crowns, and the amount of time spent treating you.

3. Consider if you really want treatment! It’s a huge commitment and a large expense, you need to make sure it’s right for you. Consider a trial smile before committing.

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