October 26, 2011
– Patients who come in for cosmetic work are often seeking the perfect
smile. But some dentists are compromising sound enamel and dentin to
give patients unnecessary porcelain crowns and veneers, according to
Martin Kelleher, BDS, MSc, a consultant in restorative dentistry at the
King’s College London Dental Institute.
In an editorial published this summer in Faculty Dental Journal
(July 2011, Vol. 2:3, pp. 134-141),Dr. Kelleher discussed the dangers
of aggressive,expensive, and at times unnecessary treatment of minor
cosmetic problems with brittle porcelain.
In fact, Dr. Kelleher has coined a new term for this phenomenon: “porcelain pornography.”
It is increasingly common to see patients who have received
restorative treatment that was probably of more benefit to the profits
of the dentists than to the patients’ long-term dental health, he stated
in the editorial.
“In my view, many of these unfortunate patients are being robbed
twice — first of their money and again of their (even more precious)
sound tooth structure,” he wrote. “I call this ‘double mugging.’ “
According to Dr. Kelleher, the overuse of porcelain crowns and
veneers originated in the U.S. to produce the “very even, very white
look” Hollywood look, and various factors may have contributed to the
growth of this trend.
Some possible reasons could be patient demand from a largely superficial and image-obsessed society, Dr. Kelleher told DrBicuspid.com. “Payment systems, a fix-it culture, money, or speed could also be factors in some specific circumstances,” he said.