'Dentally speaking, we all want to go to Hollywood'

Dazzlingly white, perfectly aligned ... and now with a touch of glamour: New York cosmetic dentists are offering smiles fit for a movie star.

Recently, a semi-permanent prothesis—known as “snap-in veneers”—has become available. Made of resin, the veneers are placed over patients’ teeth, allowing them to flash teeth like those of their favourite actor or actress.

Whether it’s the smile of Cameron Diaz or of Britney Spears that is reproduced, the cosmetic lift can be put on and taken off in the blink of an eye ...
all at a price of $1 500-$1 800, says Dr Marc Liechtung.

“It involves no drilling, no cement, no needles, it just involves taking an accurate impression,” says Liechtung, who has fitted out more than 100 people.

“If somebody wants to look like somebody, they like a certain smile, it’s round, it’s square, it’s long, they show us the picture, and we can do it.”

Asked if he can reproduce Julia Roberts’ smile, the Manhattan dentist replies: “Yes, a hundred percent.”

The ready-to-go set makes uneven teeth, discoloration disappear. Customers of the dentist might include the 25-year-old actor who is headed for an audition, a senior who is preparing for a reunion with old friends, the bride-to-be before she goes for a photo session—not to mention people who are fearful of dentists’

syringes.

But this type of prothesis has existed since the 1930s and was used in Hollywood, says dentist Jeff Golub-Evans, who works for Broadway and cinema but has recently extended his services beyond the theatrical crowd.

“When I started making them two years ago, I called them square teeth, round teeth, triangle teeth,” says Golub-Evans. “People couldn’t relate, people had no idea what that meant.

“Then I started calling them sexy teeth, sophisticated teeth, sporty teeth. But still they didn’t know what that meant. And that’s when I hit upon the idea of making a Nicole [Kidman], a Gwyneth [Paltrow], a Julia [Roberts], choosing the five favourite

smiles that people would come in with pictures.”

From that moment, people were able to relate to it, he said.

He also sells the “Halle” [Berry], the “George” [Clooney], and the “Mel” [Gibson]—all available in five sizes and five shades—but the favourite is “Hollywood white,” he says.

“Our society is celebrity-driven. People replicate the lifestyle of celebrities. They copy their mode of dress, they copy their hairstyles—why not copy their smile style?

“In America now a good smile is a fashion accessory, it’s no longer about health. It can be done safely and affordably,” says Golub-Evans, speaking from his Upper East Side office.

Howard Halle, a columnist with New York events guide Time Out has no doubts.

“We don’t just want nice teeth, we want those sublimely chiseled incisors we see glistening from cineplex screens and magazine covers.

“Dentally speaking, we all want to go to Hollywood, and in this respect, I’d argue that smiles have become far more than umbrellas: they’re shiny little mirrors for the national soul,” said Halle.

The technique does nothing toward fixing bad teeth, and is not recommended for problem teeth.

The snap-ins require cleaning after every snack, and need to be taken out two or three times a day.

One customer, Jennifer Vasquez, is witness to the fact that they need some getting used to.

“I had to relearn how to speak. ... The most difficult thing to handle is getting used to it in the mouth.”

Dietary habits also need re-examining to cater to the prothesis.

“You start with a softer diet and you see where it goes. You can eat fish, pasta, chicken, but I don’t advise eating spare ribs, because there is some sort of trade-off here,” says Liechtung.

“You’re doing something cosmetic but you’re not doing porcelain veneers,” he says, noting that they also don’t come with a porcelain veneer price tag.

“Therefore you have to understand that you might not be able to eat ribs with them.” - Sapa-AFP

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