Avoiding Dental Perfection With a Slight Twist

August 28, 2008
Avoiding Dental Perfection With a Slight Twist

RAMY GAFNI, a makeup artist in Manhattan, used to have snow white, straight veneers.

He hated them. “They were too perfect,” Mr. Gafni said. “My nickname in college was Lite-Brite.” As a child, Lite-Brite’s natural teeth had grown in with gray striations, a result of antibiotics he had taken. So when he turned 21, he covered the offending teeth with veneers — wafer-thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded atop filed-down teeth.

Two years ago at 40, Mr. Gafni decided it was time to trade in his flawless teeth for veneers that look natural, but not flawless.

Rebecca Trachtenberg, a nurse practitioner in San Francisco, also asked her dentist to make her veneers subtly less than perfect. “I didn’t want them too white, so he graded them so they get darker as they go back,” said Ms. Trachtenberg, 31. “I also didn’t want them too symmetrical.”

Veneer placements are the third-most-performed cosmetic dental procedure in the nation, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a nonprofit organization with 8,000 dental-industry members.

The veneerification of American mouths is most noticeable on reality television makeover shows, where new sets of straight, gleaming white teeth are often showcased. Nationwide, veneers have been so widely embraced that our smiles are becoming as indistinguishable as so many Starbucks.

Read the rest on Imperfect Veneers on the NY Times web site


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