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Ask the Dentist: You're kidding yourself if you think clip-on veneers will work

Lucy Stock, dentist at Gentle Dental Care, Belfast, says clip-on dental veneers could hide and help worsen serious problems

If you want a veneer to cover your teeth's appearance, seek professional advice

YOU hate the look of your teeth and you don’t have the money or time to get them fixed, – what do you do? Well, some people are turning to clip-on veneers to fix their smiles. For those out of the loop, clip-on veneers are do-it-yourself teeth masks that fit over your existing teeth.

A person takes their own impression in their home and then a couple of weeks later the plastic teeth veneer mask is delivered and it snap fits over their teeth. Sounds super easy – but what are the real costs to these seemingly cheap veneers?

Many of the people who post YouTube videos of themselves getting clip-on veneers have dental disease. There are teeth which appear to be decayed and severely broken down. When teeth look like this, there’s a high chance of there being abscesses lurking beneath the gum, even if the person is not feeling pain.

So the veneer mask may be perceived as a better look to the wearer but it’s covering unhealthy, out-of-control disease. A person is less likely to seek proper dental treatment when things are out of sight, out of mind, and more likely to need more extensive treatments, with the potential for losing more teeth in the long run.

You can buy clip-on veneers from between £1.59 and £749. It goes without saying that the chances of something that costs £1.59 looking or functioning well are at best unrealistic. The higher-end of costs, for me, is preying on people's vulnerabilities.

I asked my eight-year-old daughter what she thought of the look of them. Without drawing breath she said, “They are too big, too square, too white and all the same size.” Many more comments online are much less complementary, with the general gist being that they look fake and unnaturally white. When dentistry is done right, real crowns and veneers are virtually undetectable to the beholder's eye.

For no extra charge, most of the clip-on veneer wearers have a lisp because the mask is just too big for their mouth; the tongue and lips just can’t accommodate the bulk. More concerning is that, predictably, there are cases of people getting them stuck in their mouth which may be perceived as funny to some but is actually quite distressing.

The best way to approach teeth that you hate is to speak with your dentist and get proper advice. NHS dentistry is there to support everyone. If you’re looking for a different style of dentistry then there are more economical ways to fix smiles and payments can be spread monthly.

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