Boulder Daily Camera Article

‘Prepless’ veneers change the face of cosmetic dentistry
Thinner veneers require no anesthetic

Prepless Veneers Change the Face of Cosmetic Dentistry

By Aimee Heckel
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

LAFAYETTE — A new kind of veneers has changed the face of cosmetic dentistry for several local dentists.

Gordon West, with Centaur Dental in Lafayette, began offering a new kind of Durathin “prepless veneer” this fall. He trained with Boulder dentist Marc Alber in September.

Patients unhappy with the shape of their teeth have them reshaped with a thin, cap-like veneer that requires no anesthetic or drilling of the original tooth.

Traditional porcelain veneers required doctors drill the teeth into small pegs and affix the veneer around them. Other prepless veneers looked bulky and unnatural.

But the Durathin veneers are about as thin as two pieces of paper, so they can fit over the tooth without shaving off anything. They’re reversible, painless and cost the same as regular veneers, between $1,000-$1,500, depending on the mouth.

The trend in modern dentistry is to preserve as much of the tooth as possible, while creating a straight smile.

Because they are glued to the untouched enamel, Durathins bond ten times stronger than regular veneers — and veneers are stronger than the original tooth, experts say.

Plus, Gordon said, the new veneers look more natural.

“It’s almost like putting a thin layer of really beautiful enamel over what you have,” he said.

People get veneers to mask discolorations, fill gaps and reshape teeth. Because of “extreme makeover” television shows, West said the popularity of veneers has quadrupled in the past year.

“Everybody knows they can have beautiful teeth without braces — instant gratification,” he said.

West completed his first mouth mid-November.

Janessa Scarpella, of Thornton, said she had felt self-conscious about her smile all her life because her laterals were too small, set too far back and they looked darker than her other teeth. She wanted to fix her smile, but an orthodontist said braces could not bring her problem-teeth forward.

She said she didn’t want permanent damage, so she never considered veneers, until she heard about the Durathin option.

West applied her Durathins several days before Thanksgiving. Scarpella said she barely felt anything. The procedure took about two hours, and she could get them removed if she wanted.

“But I never would, definitely not,” she said. “My whole family has those same laterals. I will definitely recommend it for them.”

Still, thin veneers are usually only as good as the dentist who applies them, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The academy advises patients make sure the dentist is skilled and that the veneers aren’t too thick, because that can cause gum problems.