It’s a strange, recent phenomenon: Egyptians with perfect white smiles. Now, not to be cynical, but genetically speaking, perfect pearls are not part of Egypt’s general gene pool. Just like the English, our teeth are not our strongest asset.
So what’s the cause of this all? Simply put, it s veneers, a dental procedure that is now de rigueur in Hollywood and slowly but surely receiving strong and enthusiastic support in Cairo. It is far simpler and less invasive than crowns, and is considered a cosmetic procedure. Yet, it isn’t as controversial due to its simplicity.
Applying veneers involves covering your teeth with a casing to create the appearance of healthier and brighter looking teeth.
People seeking such dental improvement have the procedure done only where necessary to get that perfect smile. From the canine to the canine is the general rule of thumb.
Just about everyone in Hollywood is getting veneers: Tom Cruise, Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus and Kate Beckinsale.
And what brought about this sudden trend for veneers in Egypt?
“People are more health conscious, beauty savvy. People are savvier of what they can do and how they can feel about themselves, says Dr Ahmed Meniawy, a specialist in the field whose has a practice in Heliopolis.
Dentistry a hundred years ago was a luxury, but today, it is cosmetic dentistry that is a luxury, explains Meniawy, as people seek change and self improvement. Yet, he clearly points out that the reasons for acquiring veneers are not simply superficial.
“Veneers is not just about following a hype; psychological studies on the effect of dental cosmetic treatment and how it has improved people’s social well-being and confidence and how they’re perceived [socially] points out that there’s more than a superficial effect on a person.
And who is seeking such treatment? A variety of people and cases, both men and women, mostly in their 30s and 40s. Secondly, people with bad teeth. Veneers can often correct that which an orthodontist can’t. Orthodontists correct the alignment of teeth, but sometimes the problem is the space and form of the teeth.
The procedure for acquiring veneers, explains Meniawy, is quite simple. The tooth is prepared to be fitted with a veneer with a slight 0.5mm grind and the veneer is then placed on it. The upkeep of veneers is just like that of your teeth, regular brushing and dental visits. The only concern that many have is how well the veneers come out. People aren’t worried about people noticing that veneer work had been done per say, because it’s still not a commonly discussed procedure.
“I find pride in it, says Meniawy of the happy smiles and confidence that people have after the procedure is done.
But not everyone is a candidate for veneers or seeks treatment, says Meniawy. “Three types of people typically seek this procedure: people who have a medical defect due to tooth discoloration; people who are self conscious about their teeth and shy away from laughing and smiling, and simply people who are looking for whatever means to make themselves more beautiful.
“I have an ethical code, there’s a limit, you either need it or you don’t from a medical or social viewpoint. In part, I have to counsel patients about the best option for them. People have faith when a dentist turns them away.
In a society where money and appearances speak louder than anything else and mothers and their young daughters fret and worry about marriage from a young age, were any young women turned away?
Meniawy laughs and explains: “The youngest age group ever to request veneers is between 18 to 20, and it’s not acceptable or recommended for an 18- or 20-year-old because at 18, the teeth and gum are still reaching their final setting. Movement of the teeth is still going on.
But is the cost for perfection out of reach? Many in Egypt travel abroad for the procedure, and spend $1,500 per tooth. The average range isn Egypt is between LE1,000-2,000.
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