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As Love Island returns to our screens this January, it is likely that the controversial show will once more raise debate concerning the cast and their appearance.

In previous years, the reality show has raised concerns due to the lack of ethnic diversity and poor representation of different body types from its participants. It also came under fire in 2018 when an advert for breast enlargement surgery was shown during an advert break, leading to claims that the show was actively encouraging viewers to undergo cosmetic procedures.

One trademark feature of the programme’s stars is their perfect teeth, often achieved through the use of veneers, a form of cosmetic dentistry. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of this procedure, and consider whether it is worth it in order to achieve the Love Island look.

What are veneers?

Dental veneers - also known as dental porcelain laminates or porcelain veneers - are extremely thin custom-made materials that are bonded to the front surface of a tooth. Dental practitioners can use veneers to alter the colour, shape, size and length of the teeth, depending on what is required by the patient. They can also cover gaps between teeth, and cover chipped, crooked or misshapen teeth.

What can go right?

When applied carefully by a skilled, qualified and experienced dentist then veneers can be a quick and relatively painless way to improve the overall appearance of the teeth. As veneers are custom made, they can give the patient a subtle look that blends in naturally and works well with the overall shape of their face.

What can go wrong?

As part of the process in attaching the veneer to the tooth, the original tooth must be filed down so as to make space for the new cover to fit. This can cause pain and sensitivity as a natural part of recovery following the treatment. However, if too much of the tooth is filed away, then the nerve underneath may become exposed, which can cause long-lasting pain and even infection in some cases. Ultimately, if the treatment is not carried out correctly, irreversible damage can be done to the tooth structure and this can lead to root canal treatment and even tooth loss.

Additionally, problems can arise if the veneers are not fitted correctly. If this occurs, the jaw can be moved out of alignment leading to difficulty with the patient’s bite, pain while eating and bruxism (teeth grinding).

Finally, many patients can be tempted to go for very white teeth, which can look false or very unnatural. Good dental practitioners will recommend an appropriate shade that looks natural.

Are veneers worth it?

Veneers are not cheap, and they will need to be replaced a number of times during a patient’s lifetime. There are two main types of veneers available: composite and porcelain.

Composite veneers can cost up to £400 per tooth, and can last between five and eight years. Alternatively, porcelain veneers can last up to 15 years, but come with a higher price tag of up to £1000 per tooth. As this will be an ongoing cost - and prices may rise as the years pass - this is most certainly something to consider before anyone commits to their first set.

Choosing not to replace a veneer is problematic as the original tooth will have been filed down considerably in order to have it attached. This means the appearance of the teeth will be far removed from what the patient is used to, and often worse than before the veneers were originally attached.

The importance of the smile

Despite the risks and the price tag, it looks as though veneers are here to stay. In our 2018 survey into the public’s attitude towards teeth, 2 in 5 said they were unhappy with their teeth, the same number said they had already had some kind of cosmetic dentistry, and nearly half (48%) said they wanted to undergo some form of cosmetic dentistry in the future.

If you are interested in achieving the Love Island veneer look, then we encourage you to do your research in order to find the very safest, most experienced and highly qualified cosmetic dentist you can. To help you, we have put together a checklist to guide you through the process: ‘How to safely find a cosmetic dentist’.

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