According to Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS, “The first dental veneers were invented in 1928 when Hollywood dentist, Dr. Charles Pincus, needed to disguise an actor’s poor smile with thin slivers of porcelain attached with denture adhesive.” But, cosmetic dentists have seen a chart-topping amount of patients requesting smile redesigns now more than ever before.
“We had our biggest month ever in March 2022, exactly two years after the pandemic started,” says Houston cosmetic dentist Guy Lewis, DDS. “People are more aware of how they look, and it has everything to do with spending more time at home throughout COVID.”
The Big Breakdown
According to Los Angeles cosmetic dentist Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, there are three types of veneers: porcelain, composite and zirconia. “Porcelain and zirconia veneers are having a moment,” she says. “Made of bonded resin, composite veneers are not as long-lasting and discolor over time. Porcelain and zirconia are the most aesthetic and long-lasting, but the choice between the different materials depends on your current dentition.” If you have worn enamel, Dr. Kalasho says you’re a better candidate for a full-coverage veneer, which bonds to the outside of the teeth and the tongue-facing sides.
In Dr. Lewis’s practice, he offers no-prep veneers, a type that benefits those looking for a minor tweak. “No-prep veneers mean that we don’t drill or reduce the natural teeth— they fit right over them,” he explains.
Dr. Lewis also says that taking time with the veneer process is key. “The process usually takes about three weeks,” he adds, noting that he has his patients “test drive” temporary veneers to start. “During this phase, we can customize and perfect the teeth.” In some cases, Dr. Goldstein can achieve a full transformation with veneers in just two visits, and he says this quick turnaround is a driving force for many patients.
Something to note: Just like natural teeth, veneers can chip, but some of Dr. Lewis’s patients have had veneers for 35 years with no problems. “They can last for years with proper home care, regular cleanings and a night guard,” he says.
While veneers may be the best option for the most dramatic transformation, Boulder, CO cosmetic dentist Priya Uppal, DDS says there are three other treatments that can act as an alternative: Invisalign, bonding and bleaching. “These alternatives have
to be carefully selected, as they may not work for everyone,” she says, adding that your dentist will help guide you through the options you have to attain the smile you desire.
According to leading dentists, these are the top reasons for the big uptick in patients’ interest in veneers.
“My primary focus is cosmetic dentistry, so veneers have always been a high volume procedure at our office,” says Chicago cosmetic dentist Nathan Hoffman, DDS. “However, I do think that the pandemic accounts for the recent increase in demand for this treatment. During this time, people deeply analyzed themselves. Plus, they had to see themselves on a virtual screen more than ever before, becoming more aware of how others see their smile.” Dr. Hoffman says that prior to the pandemic, people were requesting veneers because they didn’t like their smile in pictures. “But now, more and more people mention that they saw their teeth on a virtual call or video chat and were not happy.”
We are doing three to four times as many veneer cases in our office since the pandemic.—Dr. Kalasho, DDS
They’re Spending More Time on Social Media
“Social media is a driving force behind veneer popularity,” says Powell, OH cosmetic dentist Neal Patel, DDS. While social media is effective at getting the word out, Dr. Kalasho explains that there is a lot of misinformation. “Social media shows the immediate transformation patients undergo with veneers, but skips out on the entire process. But, it does influence patients to come into the office and ask about the procedure.” It is important to note that doing your own research before visiting a doctor matters, as cutting costs may result in an unnatural look.
Both Dr. Lewis and Dr. Goldstein agree that in order to keep your veneers in tip-top shape, it’s important to wear a night guard while you snooze.
Stress Is at an All-Time High
“Since the pandemic, many people have additional stress in their lives, and as a result, they have more wear on their teeth,” says Dr. Patel. Per a study published in Medical News Today, 34 percent of people saw an increase in their TMD (temporomandibular disorder) symptoms during lockdown.
While Dr. Kalasho says patients with worn enamel are candidates for a full coverage veneer, she can place a “super veneer” on the teeth to cover areas of wear without having to drill into the teeth.
Masks Are Coming Off
With a spike in teeth grinding and the return to a maskless world, people are seeking professional help to get their smiles in shape. “Patients coming in for smile enhancements have shared that they have had the luxury of hiding behind their masks. Instead of being tempted to cover it up, it’s time to unleash the power of their new and improved smile.”
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