Hollywood Smile – A Million Dollar Smile
White, straight and shiny teeth are the dream of millions of people. A bright and a beautiful smile radiates openness and charisma, helping create closeness between people. White teeth are thought to be sexy, young and healthy. The problem is that most people are not born with perfectly beautiful teeth, and a crooked row of teeth does not really make you smile from ear to ear. In the course of life, various bacteria damage the teeth and black holes may form in them.
Bacteria also damage teeth gums and so the bone that holds the teeth in place is affected, exposing the roots of the teeth. The pressures of the modern world cause half of human population to grind down their teeth to one degree or another. So, as we age, the aesthetic and health condition of our teeth and gums deteriorates. The gap between the dream of having a Hollywood smile and the reality is ever widening, pushing the dream of a million dollar smile further away. Thankfully, dentistry has made amazing progress in recent decades. In most cases, a skilled, professional dentist can bridge this gap, giving you a perfectly natural-looking smile.
Without a doubt, the success of the treatment depends on many factors. But first and foremost, it depends on the talent, good conscience and skills of the dentist and his team of technicians. That is why it is crucial to ask around and make inquiries before starting treatment in dental aesthetics that will give you a perfectly white smile. Questions like: who is the dentist, where did he study, what are his skills and who recommends him, should be at the top of your list. Long before inquiring about the cost of porcelain veneers.
What are the origins of the expression, “a Hollywood smile”?
It comes, of course, from the movie city of Hollywood, located in Los Angeles. In the early days of the American film industry, the movies were silent. Actors did not speak and hardly ever smiled. Therefore, they did not have to show their teeth. Most actors and actresses looked like a million bucks, of course, and the shape or the color of their teeth didn’t interest anyone. At the beginning of the 20th century, the western world began consuming more and more sugar-rich foods. At the same time, the proper oral hygiene awareness was almost non-existent. The immediate result of this was teeth cavities, rotten and blackened teeth, and bleeding gums.
It is important to understand the mechanism of caries formation, tooth decay, to know how easy and simple it is to prevent it. Bacteria accumulate in the mouth all the time, especially in the areas where the food or tooth brushing do not reach. The most affected areas are the spaces between teeth, the points of contact between teeth and the transition area between teeth and gums. The layer of bacteria that accumulates on dental surfaces is called plaque. The exclusive source of food that bacteria use to produce its life sustaining energy is sugar. Bacteria (Streptococcus Mutans) break down sugar and receive from that their life sustaining energy (measured in ATP units). The problem is that there is a byproduct to this process. It is called lactic acid. The acid causes tooth cavities.
Let’s go back to Hollywood and the origin of the term “a Hollywood smile.” As long as there was no audio in the film industry and the actors did not have to talk, nobody really saw their teeth and so, most of the actors had tarnished and unhealthy teeth. In the twenties and thirties of the 20th century, the audio revolution began in the cinema, and the layer of sound was added to the movies. When the actors started talking in the movies, suddenly their teeth were exposed, creating a whole new problem. Crooked teeth, missing teeth, blackened teeth and asymmetrical smiles. In the film industry, in which the appearance is so important, it is a big, big problem.
That’s why they started thinking about possible solutions – how to create a beautiful white smile, a million dollar smile, befitting a movie industry that stood to rake in billions of dollars in profits. Max Factor, one of the top make-up artists in the early days of Hollywood, turned to Doctor of Dental Medicine Charles Pincus, to find a solution. Dr. Pincus performed experiments in casting thin porcelain shells, which would be placed on teeth and hide the defects. Although this was only the beginning and the first porcelain veneers were not glued, but only placed on teeth, Hollywood became the first place where such a technique was tried. That is why the term “a Hollywood smile” comes from there.
What has changed in porcelain veneers application from the early days of Hollywood to now?
In the beginning, laminate veneers were accessible only to very specific populations. Movie actors – hence “a Hollywood smile” and the rich people – hence “a million dollar smile.” Today the world has become one huge global village. Thanks to the film industry that dominates the whole world and the social networks (Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok), everyone can see white teeth and perfect smiles. The greater the exposure, the greater the demand.
At the beginning, the porcelains shells were bulky and relatively thick. Indeed, this created an immediate effect of some dramatic change – black teeth turned white, which was enough to herald it as a revolution. However, many aesthetic challenges were not addressed, because the appropriate technology was not available yet. Today, porcelain veneers accurately imitate natural enamel. Emax porcelain (Emax) and feldspar porcelain both have a texture and shade like that of natural tooth enamel. Areas of transparency (opalescence) at the tooth edge and a wavy texture, just like natural enamel.
Gum health was not on the agenda in the early days of porcelain veneers. The transition area between porcelain veneers and gums is super important for a natural and healthy look. Millions of bacteria can accumulate there and cause gingivitis, bleeding and pain. Today, thanks to the dentist’s sophisticated magnifying glasses and techniques of porcelain cutting and restoration, it is possible to apply laminate veneers to teeth and gums, without causing the body to reject them as a foreign body. They also make for a very smooth transition that leaves little opportunity for bacteria to accumulate.
The bonding techniques and adhesives have improved tremendously in recent decades. In order for porcelain veneers to be in demand by the entire population, they need to remain firmly in place for many years. It makes no sense for patients to come to the dentist to reapply their dental veneers every few days. In the early days of the laminate veneers revolution, the porcelain shells were only placed on teeth and, therefore, were suitable for a short time only, like for a few moments of movie shooting. After that the veneers simply fell off. Today there are multiple bonding techniques. Some of them are stronger and require high level of technical skills on the part of the dentist, and some are less permanent but easier to use. Dr. Gilad Fiskus bonds Emax dental veneers only with the 4th generation technique, which is known to be the strongest bonding application in dentistry. The bonding protocol is longer and the technique requires high level of skill and maximum precision, but it has proven itself over the years.
In conclusion, Dr. Gilad, what is the most important thing to check before we run to fulfill the dream of a Hollywood smile?
It is very important to understand that this is an aesthetic procedure that can also affect the health of teeth and gums. It is a treatment done to obtain a more beautiful smile that will remain healthy and natural for many years to come. Choosing the right dentist is much more important than the cost of the laminate veneers. When you compromise on the cost, oftentimes at the end of the day, you will get whiter teeth, but with a less natural smile, a smile that will look white but exaggerated. Unnatural and noticeable dental veneers, produce no aesthetic improvement in the smile, but quite the opposite.
In addition, gum health can be compromised if porcelain veneers are not attached well; or if the transition area between dental veneers and gums is not smooth; or if the residues of the adhesives remain in gum pockets. Such results are harmful and leave the gums permanently inflamed.
It is true that the treatment is not cheap, but as the saying goes, ”Think before you act!” The cost of treatment that is too low is usually a sign of insufficiently professional treatment (although the opposite is not always true as well). Before realizing the dream of a Hollywood smile, you should choose a skilled and professional dentist in the field of porcelain veneers application. A dentist who has a team of professional dental technicians and an impressive work resume over the years will guarantee a winning result – a healthy, natural, white and beautiful smile.