It is difficult to overestimate the significance of each smile that we send out to the world, but one can calculate how much it will cost and how long it will take to make it as well. if a beautiful smile used to cost a lot, meaning that teeth had to be ground down considerably, with little remaining, modern dentistry now offers low impact technologies.
A Doctor of Medical Science and a specialist at the Swissparc Clinic, Michael Meier is one of few masters who possess the delicate modern technique of installing platinum foil veneers. After an appointment with such a dentist the patients are guaranteed to leave with a smile on their face…
– Dr. Meier, a lot of people have good, healthy teeth, but they don’t have a beautiful smile. What should they do in such cases?
– I would recommend they get acquainted with veneers. These are thin ceramic build-ups which are stuck to the outside of the teeth – many Hollywood stars have them. They can be used to improve the shape of a smile for a more aesthetic look. However, the teeth need to be ground a little to apply veneers.
Grinding is dangerous because over time the root of a tooth might need to be treated, but if the teeth are healthy and regular, just not as white and shiny as they used to be, a person can get a beautiful smile using this minimally invasive technology.
– How much time does it take to install veneers?
– First the patient needs to go through a checkup; we need to see whether all the teeth are healthy, whether the gum is healthy – the teeth need a good foundation. Then an X-ray of the lower jaw and upper jaw can be made; after that the professional will fabricate a trial version of the veneer, which the patient can try on his teeth. Fine porcelain is used for that purpose, so the patient can already see, during the fitting, how the veneer will look. In other words, the dentist used to grind down the patient’s teeth first and then take X-rays, then the specialist fabricated crowns. And as a result, they got what they got. Today, you can see how a smile will look at the stage of the fitting. If the patient wants to change the color or the shape slightly, the fitting can be repeated. The individual build-ups will be ready within 14 days. The use of such techniques allows the patient not to have to see the dentist on a regular basis for check-ups and fittings – the patient merely has to indicate what he or she ultimately wants.
The sample stays on the teeth for five days, and if the patients does not like something they can refuse the installation. Thus you won’t spend much money and will pay only for the fitting. If the patient is satisfied with everything, the production of permanent veneers starts – individually for each patient, for each tooth, so to some extent this is an «haute couture» product, not a mass-market one. For example, it would be the same as if I was driving a Fiat or a Bentley to Zurich from Bad Ragaz – the difference is in comfort.
– Is this some special technology?
– We specialize in production of so-called con-tact lens veneers; the technology is based on the use of platinum foil. The platinum foil veneers are the thinnest facing porcelain plates, which are well-known and have been widely used for a long time; they were invented in the 30s by the Hollywood dentist Charles Pincus. However, this technology has been going through a real renaissance in central Europe – largely owing to the dentist William Heller from Zurich – and has become increasingly complex and refined over the last six years. There are few professionals who have mastered it; maybe several hundred. There is an alliance, a group of people who work worldwide under the Oral Design Group brand and, certainly, understand the technique of platinum foil veneer production. There are approximately 10–20 laboratories throughout the world where the technique is applied.
– People who decide to have such veneers might like to know what problems might arise, and how to resolve such problems…?
– A porcelain plate can slip off; a piece of it can chip. However, the same thing could happen to porcelain crowns as well. In case of damage, a veneer is simply replaced by a new one. The patient does not need to follow any special rules – he or she can use a toothbrush and dental floss. But the patient needs to remember that the teeth with veneers are more susceptible to caries than regular ones; therefore, they need to be brushed well and the patient has to have a preventive dental check-up.
– Are veneers applied to all teeth?
– As a rule, we make veneers for 10 upper teeth and for 10 lower ones. If so-called «black corridors» (diastema) between teeth ruin the smile, they can be hidden using these porcelain build-ups.
– Can the colour of teeth be improved by veneers?
– For starters, the patient may try to bleach his or her teeth to see how they respond to it. However, the patient needs to understand that over time they will grow yellow anyway. Moreover, it is impossible to give all teeth an identical color using chemical agents: some will become white and the others will remain yellow. Therefore, if you decide to make all the teeth perfectly white, it is better to resort to porcelain build-up technology. Professionals usually offer a 10-year warranty on such a product, but veneers last much longer – 15–20 years.
– Who would you recommend veneers to in the first place?
– To the young who have had corrective jaw surgery; their teeth are in good condition, but not as strong as before because of a mechanical effect or a large amount of acid in their mouth. To models who had bulimia or anorexia: usually their enamel has become very thin, although the shape of their teeth remains good. The use of veneers may both strengthen one’s teeth and give a beautiful smile. To 50–60 year-old people, whose teeth have lost their healthy appearance due to age. For people whose teeth have become yellow (for example, as a result of smoking), but their shape remains good. If the problems are linked only to one tooth, the patient can have it covered with a veneer.
Interestingly, men like this technology more than women, not only for aesthetic reasons, but because of its simplicity – the patient does not need injections, grinding… I think this technology will gain even more popularity, especially among the young. Today’s children have much healthier teeth, thanks to regular prophylaxis, than the older generation did at the same age. Besides, modern people do not want to resort to serious grinding where up to 40% of a healthy tooth is lost.
is a Doctor of Medical Sciences, and a dentist at the Swissparc Clinic. In 2002, he graduated from the University of Zurich. From 2002 to 2006, he had a private practice at Dr. Urs Schellenberg’s dental center in Zurich. From 2004 to 2006, he worked in the department of mastication disorders at the Dental Centre in Zurich. From 2006 to 2011, he worked as a private dentist at the Swiss Smile Dentist Center in Zurich. A founder of the first children’s emergency clinic in Zurich (in 2011), since 2011 he has been working in a private practice at the health center of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz (Perfect Smile Ragaz GmbH). He is the author of numerous reports and publications.