Dental Veneers – A Short History

The Original Hollywood Smile – Dental Veneers

Before the invention of dental veneers, it was the case that when the surface of a tooth became damaged, there were two choices; either to leave it as it was or to have it filled.

However it 1930, a Californian dentist called Charles Pincus created the first veneers. These were predominantly used to improve the look and smiles of Hollywood actors and actresses at the time, many of whom it is thought, failed to take care of their teeth and appeared glamorous until the moment when they opened their mouth, only to reveal their broken or decaying teeth. It is thought that it was the procedure of adding veneers which led to the legendary ‘Hollywood Smile’.

However, in the 1930s’ dental veneers were in their infancy and had a tendency not to bond well with the tooth. This was fine for the Hollywood industry as the veneers only needed to last for the duration of the filming, but it was becoming obvious to dentists that there could be a much wider use for these amongst the general public, however, improvements would be needed to improve their longevity.

Veneers are made from either porcelain or composites, a thin layer of which is then bonded onto the surface of a tooth to either protect a damaged tooth or to improve the look of it. However, it was this bonding process which proved to be problematic.

It was not until 1982, however, when  research took place which showed that porcelain veneers could be etched with hydrofluoric acid which it was felt would enable the placement of veneers to be bonded onto the tooth permanently. This and the fact that porcelain tends to wear better than composites has led to porcelain being the most widely used material for a veneer.

With the improvement in design and materials as well as the bonding agents, it is now reasonable to expect a veneer to last between 10 and 30 years although several factors other than wear and tear may lead to them having to be replaced. For example, the veneer may become damaged or cracked or discoloured or the gum may recede causing decay. However, with care and perhaps a little bit of luck, most veneers will be long living bringing that ‘Hollywood smile’ to their wearers. Please contact our Harley Street Dentist for more information about dental veneers.

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