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