Are Some Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments ‘Porcelain Pornography’?

Porcelain PornographyIn the July King’s College Faculty Dental Journal (FDJ) some cosmetic dental treatments are being calledPorcelain Pornography‘.

As reported in Dentistry.co.uk news, FDJ author Martin Kelleher, a consultant in restorative dentistry, expressed concerns  that some dental patients are having unnecessary, expensive and aggressive restorative treatment for minor cosmetic problems because porcelain veneers and crowns are being overused.

In the journal piece Kelleher points out that a relatively sound tooth structure is destroyed to prepare teeth for veneers or crowns. He feels this destruction can rarely be justified for minor cosmetic or wear problems. He points to limited evidence of long-term benefits porcelain veneers.

He argues that some dentists are concerned that fitting porcelain crowns on basically healthy teeth, has become so widespread in the U.K. that it is often considered a more ‘normal’ treatment over conservative restorative treatments that might benefit the patient more in the long run.

Mr. Kelleher goes on to say, “All clinicians should place the long-term health of their patients first. Porcelain veneers have their place in responsible restorative dentistry when provided by suitably trained and qualified individuals, but I believe that other safe and proven cosmetic treatments, like bleaching and bonding, should be considered before the destructive ones. Patients must understand that extensive porcelain veneer or crown treatment is not a risk-free shortcut to a perfect smile.”

He asserts that patients are having their teeth destroyed because some dentists diagnose them with “porcelain deficiency disease”.

Mr. Kelleher points to dental patients who end up with most of their original teeth removed to make way for porcelain veneers and crowns. He writes, “These unfortunate patients are being robbed twice – first of their money and again of their enamel and dentine!”

Dr Susie Sanderson, chair of the British Dental Association’s executive board, responded by saying, “Every patient is different and while veneers are an appropriate treatment in some cases, in others they are not.  In order to ensure that appropriate treatments are provided, decisions should be made between dentist and patient on the basis of a full understanding of the range of options available, what they involve and their implications.”

What is your opinion on the use of porcelain veneers or crowns? Are they ‘Porcelain Pornography’?

Is the U.S. different than the U.K.?

Read more about this topic at: The Daily Mail and Dentist Slams Overuse of ‘Porcelain Pornography

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

  • Snbdds

    I agree the veneers and crowns are over prescribed.  I always recommend that my patients have a consultation with an orthodontist to address any concerns about relieving over-crowding or gaps BEFORE any discussion takes place about indirect restorations.  Not only does placing a large number of veneers or crowns to correct aesthetic complaints or minor issues cost the patient large sums of money and tooth structure, it also commits them to large future expenditures when the restorations have to be replaced…and they will. 

  • Drz

    There’s absolutely no question we have been over-using porcelain for everything including the kitchen sink. Another question you could ask is about robot crowns (like CEREC)…having the machine makes us want to use it. The problem is the results are often worse than Mexican crowns…i know it’s the operator’s fault but many good dentists grow to resent their fancy toys (and the lease payments) and never get as good with it as the saleslady promises.

  • http://www.casepresenter.com Barry Polansky

    Nothing new in the world.  This has been going on since the cosmetic revolution took hold.  I have always contended that the courses that don’t get much attention in CE and dental school are treatment planning and business ethics.  There is a place for every tool in the dental toolbox…it’s just a matter of scruples.

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