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Brides-to-Be and Job Applicants: Here’s Your Quick Fix


Reality TV has provided the general public with a glimpse into the world of cosmetic dentistry with shows like "Extreme Makeover"—and people like the "quick-fix" they see. One of these quick fixes is a resin appliance (known as a clip-on smile or snap-on teeth), designed to fit over the teeth to create an esthetically appealing smile.

According to the January 2007 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the AGD, many patients are choosing tooth whitening and other cosmetic treatments over treatment for periodontal disease and decay. "People want a quick, inexpensive, non-invasive way to have what they perceive as a Hollywood smile," explains AGD spokesperson, Charles H. Perle, DMD, FAGD. Snap-on teeth are being used by many patients to obtain a beautiful smile.

There are benefits of using snap-on teeth: A dentist can determine whether or not a patient can tolerate a permanent cosmetic dental treatment, such as the placement of veneers, as well as provide patients with the opportunity to see how their teeth will look before choosing a more permanent solution. Patients with special needs (i.e. those who fear the dentist or who are medically compromised and should not undergo long, stressful procedures) may also benefit from the use of snap-on teeth.

Snap-on teeth, however, are not appropriate for all patients. Those with protrusive teeth, removable teeth, or who are not interested in improving their dental health are not good candidates for the appliance. Patients need to be aware that snap-on teeth are temporary and may need to be replaced often. Also, that the final look of the product is limited to the patient's natural bite, occlusion, and smile-line.

"The fix is temporary; patients are going to need a permanent solution. The snap-on product, if used in the proper patient case, can be a safe, inexpensive, and effective temporary procedure," says Dr. Perle. "However, the patient can't have unrealistic expectations; they need to know their smile will not look like Julia Roberts'," stresses Dr. Perle.

Items to note before you quick-fix:

  • Quick-fix dentistry is just that, a "quick fix." Treatment done is temporary and is meant to be a stepping stone to a more permanent solution.
  • When approaching your dentist about snap-on teeth, be sure to discuss dental needs you should consider before opting for a cosmetic solution, such as decay and periodontal problems.
  • The overall look of snap-on teeth is dictated by a patient's bite, occlusion, and smile-line (the front part of the teeth that is only visible when someone smiles).
  • Cosmetic dentistry is about creating an esthetically appealing look. You may, however, be able to get a better cosmetic look with crowns or veneers rather than using the temporary snap-on teeth.

Reviewed: January 2012