Beware: Filing down teeth for dental veneers is harmful
You might have seen the TikTok “shark teeth” trend, where a number of TikTok influencers are showing off their natural teeth filed down to pegs in preparation for a veneer procedure, which is an orthodontic treatment aimed at giving you a perfect smile.
However, dentists have warned that the trend is misleading. Teeth filing is completely unnecessary, is an unhealthy procedure, and is potentially harmful.
Dr Emi Mowson, a dentist active on TikTok, has explained that shaving teeth are not meant for veneer procedures, but rather for crowns. Many people go to Turkey for a veneer procedure, not knowing that they’re getting crowns instead.
Another dentist, Dr Shaadi Manouchehri, warned in her video that shaving teeth into “shark teeth” will damage the nerves. You may end up requiring a root canal treatment, dentures, and an extraction at some point.
Here’s why you should be wary of being told to file down your teeth to prepare for veneers.
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Veneers don’t require major teeth shaving
A veneer is a wafer-thin, translucent layer of ceramic, composite resin, or porcelain shell that is placed over the front surface of the tooth. It is applied with special glue and can be a way to get a smile makeover if you feel self-conscious about teeth discolouration or broken teeth.
Traditional veneers require a teeth preparation process that involves shaving or drilling some of the outer tooth enamel of the teeth to enable the veneers to bond seamlessly and permanently. However, there is certainly no need to file your teeth down to pegs.
Types of veneers
The veneer procedure is an effective cosmetic dentistry solution that can be used to correct cracked, chipped, or discoloured teeth and gives you a new smile.
Although most people are aware of the benefits of having veneers, which can feel like getting new teeth, only a few understand the different types of veneers that are available.
There are several different types of veneers out there, ranging from porcelain veneers to temporary solutions such as “snap-on” or “trial smile” veneers.
The veneer types available include:
- Porcelain veneers are the most popular and most effective veneers of all the available types.
- They are resistant to stains and provide a perfect treatment method for discoloured, chipped, and cracked natural teeth.
- Although they are often the most expensive option, porcelain veneers are a worthwhile investment that leaves you with your dream smile.
- It can be custom-tailored to suit your needs and fit the individual teeth.
Temporary (trial smile)
- Temporary veneers allow you to visualise how your new smile will look after the permanent veneers are fitted.
- They are a short-term solution while you wait for your permanent veneers to be completed in the lab.
- These types of veneers require less preparation and dental work than porcelain veneers.
- They are mostly referred to as “no-prep” veneers because they require minimal teeth shaving and are less intrusive.
- They are made from an ultra-thin material and are slightly more translucent than porcelain veneers.
- It’s not the best option for patients with extremely discoloured teeth.
- These are made with ultra-thin porcelain.
- They are very popular amongst patients who require minimal teeth preparation.
- Ultra-thin veneers procedures require a highly-skilled dentist or clinician.
- Emax veneers are made with highly durable porcelain.
- Unlike most traditional dental veneers, Emax veneers require minimal preparation and can be fitted without the need for tooth etching.
- Laminate veneers are very similar to traditional dental veneers; they function the same way, and the two terms are often used interchangeably.
- The major difference with laminate veneers is that they are much thinner and require less enamel removal for them to be placed.
- Composite veneers are made from tooth-coloured resin, a material that is also used for tooth bonding.
- They are more affordable but less durable than porcelain veneers.
What is involved in the veneer process?
If you’re suffering from discoloured, stained, misaligned, chipped, damaged, or crooked teeth, getting veneers can be the best way to restore your healthy teeth.
The veneer procedure can require up to three visits to the cosmetic dentist. The first dental visit is usually for consultation, diagnosis, and treatment planning. The final two visits cover the preparation and veneers bonding.
The procedure is the following:
First Visit: Consultation, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning
At this stage, you can discuss your dental goals with your cosmetic dentist, who will also carefully check your teeth to ensure that you are eligible for a veneer procedure.
If you’re eligible, the cosmetic dentist will discuss the various types of veneers available and whether you need any additional procedures prior to the veneer bonding.
The veneer procedure doesn’t always require shaving of the tooth enamel. There are several no-prep veneers that don’t require tooth preparation or tooth filing. If you opt for veneers that are a thin layer of porcelain, they are thin enough to go over your teeth without needing to make space for them.
However, minimal preparation of the existing teeth may sometimes be required where only 0.5mm-1mm of tooth enamel will be filed off. You may feel some pain and discomfort when the cosmetic dentist is trimming down your tooth enamel.
To avoid this, the cosmetic dentist may use a local anaesthetic to numb the affected area.
The dentist will also take an impression of the affected teeth to create a bespoke “trial smile” before applying the permanent veneers.
At this stage, you will be given a custom-made trial smile or temporary veneers made with composite resin to improve the affected tooth or teeth.
Second Visit: Customising Your Smile
After wearing the temporary veneers for a few days, you might have feedback on your desired results.
Together with the cosmetic dentist, you would discuss the shapes, symmetry, angles, feel, bite, colour, and texture of the veneers so these preferences can be applied to your permanent veneers.
Third Visit: Veneer Bonding
This is the final step in the veneer procedure where the temporary veneers will be removed. A special bonding material is used to bond the permanent veneers to the existing teeth before a special light beam is applied to harden the bond quickly.
Finally, the cosmetic dentist would remove any excess cement and carry out a comprehensive bite balancing to ensure that the porcelain veneer fits properly and that your teeth are healthy and stable.
The colour of the veneers will also be adjusted to match your other teeth. A follow-up visit may be required to examine the veneers’ placement and to check how your gum tissues are responding to the veneers.
The process of veneer bonding should not be painful if done correctly.
How much do porcelain veneers cost?
Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. Having healthy teeth can greatly boost your confidence and self-esteem, and you can laugh freely without feeling embarrassed.
That’s why many people feel that a veneer procedure is a worthwhile investment. There is no fixed cost for porcelain veneer procedures.
The cost of porcelain veneers depends on a number of factors, which include the skill and experience of the cosmetic dentist, the area where the dentist is located, the number of affected teeth, additional treatments for other dental issues, and whether or not your dental insurance plan covers veneer procedures.
However, the cost of a veneer begins at £850, while a hygienist’s appointment will begin at £69.
Finally, there is no need to file down your teeth for dental veneers.
The TikTok “shark teeth” trend is an unhealthy practice, and filing down your healthy teeth to pegs can cause permanent damage.
Consult your dentist first to understand if filing down your teeth is necessary and how to do it in a safe way.