After years of living with a gummy, crooked smile, Susan W. knew just how to get the look she wanted, but wasn’t sure that she was the right age for porcelain veneers.
At the tender age of 29, this frequent viewer of extreme-makeover television already was well acquainted with cosmetic options in dentistry. Veneers. Invisalign. Tooth-colored fillings. Gum reshaping. Zoom teeth whitening treatment. She could tick them off in one breath, because all are nearly as popular as liposuction and nose jobs, but she wasn’t sure if she was the right age for porcelain veneers and other services.
“So, when I sat down with my dentist to talk about a new smile, I was so ready,” says Susan, who works as an investment banker at a large firm. “It was easy to okay a plan to re-contour my gums and place six veneers. And, of course, step one was to go under the whitening light.”
Susan represents a growing number of patients heading for the cosmetic dentist’s chair—before their 30th birthday. Once the province of the “middle-age-plus” group, appearance-related dental care is now a part of the cosmetic culture for every age group. This seems to be the right age for porcelain veneers and other services for many young professionals seeking a boost to their career and personal life.
“It used to be that people considered their teeth the way they considered their height, something that cannot be changed, and what could be changed was done as we age,” says Dr. Daniel Deutsch, of the Washington Center for Dentistry, in Washington, DC. “But today’s younger people aren’t waiting until middle age to improve their smiles. They expect to immediately improve the color and shape of their teeth—that when it comes to dentistry—they can go from 5’5” to 6’2.”
And so it is that these days Susan sports pearlescent porcelain veneers between her lips—under a gum line that now barely shows when she smiles—just as doctor and patient intended. She now knows she was the right age for porcelain veneers and this was the right time for her to make this transformation
Here is what she had done:
- The teeth achieved a lighter color after a one-hour session under the blue light of Zoom treatment, making her teeth at least six shades lighter.
- Then the doctor designed her veneers to match them to her new whiter teeth.
- The doctor used a soft-tissue laser to reshape her gum line, revealing more of her tooth structure underneath.
- The doctor prepared six of her front teeth to receive six veneers. He took impressions and placed six temporary veneers that instantly made the smile look better.
- The permanent veneers looked amazing, turning a dark, gummy, crooked smile into a smile with shiny veneers and a lovely gum line relocated to a new and proper place.
“This is the smile I should have been born with,” says Susan. “Now my beautiful white teeth fill the space between my lips. And my gums are trimmed back under my lips, where they belong!”