Snap on Smile Review by the professionals
Here at Smileworks we’re here to help you make the right choices about dental treatment. And with the rise in popularity of clip on veneers UK and Europe-wide, we decided to give you a professional assessment to help you avoid getting ripped off or even harmed. We are medical professionals and before we get into the nitty gritty – here’s the TL:DR – Get a hygiene appointment before you do any so-called DIY Dentistry. You can either go to your NHS dentist or take a look here for hygiene advice from Smileworks. We want you to look your best not have your friends making fun of you. So here’s our review.
We don’t offer clip on veneers here but we’re not going to just slag them off because we don’t sell them. Far from it. It just wouldn’t make sense for a local Liverpool dentist to sell clip on Veneers because we have the expertise, tools and talent to improve your smile in a variety of different ways including: teeth whitening, teeth bonding (also called resin bonding) , composite veneers and traditional porcelain veneers. We don’t have the infrastructure to ship out thousands of products online like some of the clip on veneer companies. So that’s why we don’t sell them.
…but that’s not necessarily because they’re rubbish. We’re going to give you all the facts, good and bad.
The Cheapest Veneers Anywhere
The big thing about clip on veneers is that they are cheap. And one thing we’ve seen time and again is that many patients don’t actually understand how much veneers cost. One of our most popular articles is a no-bs assessment of veneers cost that you can read by following the link. The aim of this article is to help you get the best results you can taking into account your safety and your budget.
Not everyone can afford veneers (especially porcelain) but that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your smile in a whole host of other ways without having to resort to an emerging economy that (as you’ll see) has some pretty mixed reviews. Also here at Smileworks porcelain veneers are one of the least popular types of veneers – especially for younger patients with healthy smiles.
Clip on veneers are marketed as a cheap alternative to conventional veneers and they are certainly cheap – with some being as little as £25 from ebay. However, many are advertised from £450-900 which isn’t exactly ‘cheap’. For example, this patient at Smileworks got this beautiful result for a few hundred pounds. Things have changed a lot recently in dentistry. We need to make that clear to you.
So for that sort of money you should be getting a decent product that is safe, long lasting and natural-looking. Many of the providers of clip on teeth are offering patient finance so you can pay as little as £20 a month even if you have a poor credit score, making even the more expensive options accessible to patients. This is the same with normal dentistry where 90% of our patients pay on finance and pay a little each month.
What the Magazines Say
According to Cosmopolitan Magazine “clip on veneers are a thing now”. And the link in the article points to a company called clip-onveners.co.uk – where the article claims that the patient ‘stumbled upon them online’ and makes no reference to whether the feature has been paid-for or not by the company (which is linked to so you too can buy the veneers). You need to be aware of so-called ‘advertorials’ where companies pay big brands like Marie Claire and Cosmo to basically test out their products and say that they are amazing so people buy them. Clip on veneers companies have big budgets for advertising and this is for the simple reason that these products need to be hard sold to customers and as you will see many of the claims are either misleading or wrong. It’s not us saying this it’s the UK courts and US courts saying it.
Sure the patient in the article seems to like her new teeth although her friend describes them as, “Like old lady dentures IRL”. We think she looks nice. She’s a very pretty young lady and seems over the moon. But are they just too white an unnatural looking? Well as dentists we know that we can do much, much better than this.
Are clip on teeth too white and unnatural-looking?
Payman Langrudi over at Enlighten Smiles, one of the best whitening companies in the world, says that teeth can never be ‘too white’. You might think “well, he makes whitening products for dentists – or course he’s going to say that!” But wait, he is a dentist and a very clever guy and is actually explaining something more. The problem is not the ‘brightness’ or ‘shade’ but the translucency and the artificial look of the teeth.
Patients come to us all the time for whiter teeth and many of them say ‘I don’t wan them too white’ And Payman explains (having personally overseen thousands of very difficult whitening cases) that this really means patients don’t want a frosty, dehydrated or unnatural looking appearance. If you make teeth from plastic or from cheap materials they are a very uniform =colour and look white like paper or your bathroom sink. Real teeth are translucent and realistic looking because they are layered of many different natural materials.
When a dentist makes resin veneers or when a lab makes porcelain the master ceramist spends hours painstakingly layering and sculpting the restorations to make them look like real teeth – not like joke shop teeth. So one of the biggest complaints of ‘snap-on smiles is just this, that they look fake.
Are Clip on Veneers Safe?
The veneers above are advertised costing £450 and the system works by sending the patient an ‘impression kit’ and then making their veneers in a laboratory and sending them back for you to wear. Impressions are needed so the veneers fit over your natural teeth and taking such impressions is a common dental procedure. We do it dozens of times each day.
We are seriously concerned about people taking impressions at home with no dentist or dental health practitioners present. You’ll probably get away without causing harm a few times but for some people the practice is going to lead to the most awful dental trauma. Ever considered pulling your own teeth out? No – we didn’t think so. But that’s what might happen if you take your own impressions.
Who Should Take Impressions?
You just can’t learn impression-taking on YouTube or from a little leaflet. If you don’t beleive us talk to any of our dental hygienists or therapists or nurses who all need specialist training in impression-taking.
I was actually present at a treatment only two days ago at Smileworks where an impression accidentally pulled out some existing dental work that had to be reattached and the impression retaken. This is not a great result but is also not that uncommon. We can fix things like bleeding and pain from these problems but can you? In your bathroom?
But what happens if the impression material pulls out a filling and exposes the nerve of your tooth? Extreme pain is the answer. You’re going to need emergency dental treatment or end up at the dental hospital with a bill for thousands of pounds. you might feel cheated if this happens and you realise you could have spent that money on beautiful veneers made by a dentist. But let’s face it, you might get lucky and not have this problem. Especially if you have no loose teeth or fillings. But we don’t see many people like that here in Liverpool and if you’re looking for DIY dental treatment it’s usually because you are unhappy with the look of your teeth. And that sometimes means there might be underlying dental health concerns too. So it’s a risk. Especially in patients with underlying health concerns.
In fact our registered dental nurses need to go on a course to be allowed to take impressions because of the risks associate with impression-taking and also must take impressions under the prescription of a dentist who has checked the patients mouth for loose fillings, gum disease and any existing dental work that might be damaged by the impression-taking. Again – you can’t do this in your bathroom.
Did you know you can get a loose filling replaced on the NHS for £59.10 (or possibly less depending on your personal circumstances and at Smileworks, beautiful white fillings start from just £90 and are made of composite and not amalgam.
One website that sells clip on teeth warns potential customers: “If you have a loose tooth, it is advisable to delay taking the impression until the loose tooth is no longer present.”
So are we recommending a home extraction? Or just hoping a loose tooth will suddenly become stable? This is like saying ‘if you leave the gas on and leave the house make sure there isn’t a fire.’ It’s crazy. And for the people of Liverpool it should set alarm bells ringing.
The warning doesn’t say, ‘you might want to visit your dentist for a check-up before you try and take your own impressions’ – Why? Because your dentist may come up with a much better way to improve your smile within your budget and with your personal circumstances and safety in mind. In fact these companies want you to stay as far away from the professionals as possible. You need to ask why that is? You’re sensitive and smart Liverpool people. We don’t need to tell you the answer to this question.
It’s also a warning that will not prevent the vendor from being sued by a patient who uses the product and causes themselves serious harm or pain. Imagine not being able to get the impression out and it taking your loose teeth with it? The pain, bleeding and trauma could be extreme.
Pretty much all of the instant smile companies are making representations that the procedure is ‘pain free’. As dentists we are pretty good at managing pain and will always use powerful, prescription-only numbing treatments to make sure any treatment is pain free. I mean seriously who would have dental work done if it was painful? It’s 2018 not 1820!
Some veneer treatment (such as composite veneers) doesn’t even require numbing. A translucent resin is applied to the damaged or unaesthetic teeth and is sculpted by our talented dentists to create a beautiful natural-looking tooth. No injections. No lab work. One sitting and great results every time. To read about composite veneers and composite bonding follow the links here for more information. They cost just £180 a tooth so you could get a pretty decent mini-smile makeover for the same price as some of the more expensive clip-on veneers. It also lasts 5-7 years as opposed to 4-7 months. So if you do the maths it’s MUCH cheaper to come see the dentist because you’re clip on veneers are cheap plastic and will break. Just like bleaching trays that have a lifespan of about 6-9 months tops.
Can you eat with snap on teeth?
This is a problem. There are many many reports that you can’t eat with cheap snap on veneers. So what happens on that big date when you literally have to take your teeth out to in Nando’s – not sexy guys. Really not sexy.
The real Problems with clip on teeth
But if £450 is still too much money, then you can opt for cheaper alternatives. A company perfect smile was recently reported in an article in the British Dental Journal and might make you think twice about the claims that taking your own impressions is a ‘pain free’ exercise. If you are squeamish or are under 16 then please don’t read on. This is graphic content coming up. You have been warned.
The article here by S. Jadun, L. Monaghan & J. Darcey reports a case of “DIY Dentistry” that ended in emergency dental treatment. A female patient purchased a clip on veneer from a company offering an instant “million dollar smile instantly” using a home reline material – which is a material that is used to adjust dentures by dentists and which can set ROCK HARD in the mouth if not removed in time.
The authors are deeply concerned that the patient had not had a dental exam or any professional support. Unfortunately the reline material became locked onto the patients teeth and ended her up in an out of hours emergency dentist who could not help her. She ended up in A&E who still could not help her and was directed to a dental hospital and “presented in a state of extreme physical and emotional distress”.
The authors report the below images taken following removal of the device that, “demonstrates traumatic ulceration from the prosthesis and unstable oral disease.”
We warn you, this is not for the faint of heart:
The authors continue:
“We hope this case helps support dentists to challenge the perceived wisdom patients may have in these fast and significantly less expensive alternatives to traditional dentistry. The cost to the NHS for the patient’s four attendances and the concomitant emotional burden to the patient serve to highlight how such quick fixes can easily become false economies.”
So granted this is a worst case scenario – but how many more cases like this are going to appear over time? It’s anybody’s guess. And we’re here to give you the facts and make sure you’re not one of them. Remember all we’re asking you to do is stay safe by seeing a dentist for a check-up before buying these products.
It’s not all dental trauma though. Here’s a video of a woman who saw the funny side of getting an instant clip-on smile.
Luckily she wasn’t harmed (although this is the same company who caused the trauma described above) Her video got an enormous amount of social media attention with over 27,000 shares!
Here’s another woman who saw the funny side. But consider what the position might have been if one of her teeth was loose or if she had anterior fillings or dental work that was pulled out with the clip-on veneers? That would have ended up in A&E or at an emergency clinic with lots of blood, pain and remedial work being required.
Here’s an American Dentist, Dr Mauricio Rodriguez of Premier Dental Group, a well regarded and popular cosmetic dentist in Houston, Texas who purchased some veneers from the company, My Perfect Smile and tried them in for you to see. We love this video here at Smileworks and think it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect if you buy your veneers online.
We like Dr Mauricio because, just like us here at Smileworks, he has a sense of humour – but i’ll bet he’s just as worried as we are about potential problems of dental trauma like those above. He clearly cares for his patients and team and has made this video to show you that there is a better way.
Reviews and Social Proof
You may be thinking ‘but how do these companies get such great reviews if they offer dreadful products. Well it’s true that none of these companies have a large amount of positive google reviews because google reviews are difficult to obtain and bad reviews will not be removed. Certain review companies will remove negative reviews because they are a paid-for service. Take a look at this article from Moneysaving Expert who make some interesting observations about reviews surrounding the main clip on veneer companies.
Joke Shop Teeth
There was a highly publicised case right here in Liverpool that got coverage in the Daily Mail where a man claims he was sold ‘joke shop teeth’ after paying £299 and apparently visiting a lab to have a ‘3D scan’ of his teeth made. He complained numerous times to the company ‘Instasmile’ and eventually went to court to sue the company and got a full refund.
He comes across as a very smart young lad and we respect what he’s done defending his rights. He said;
“People should stand up for their rights and not be fobbed off by companies. If you believe them to be in the wrong, do a bit of research, call the Citizens Advice, gather evidence to support you just in case you have to pursue it via the legal system… Don’t let the formal process scare you off, especially the civil court proceedings. That system is there to protect us as consumers so don’t be afraid of using it to challenge a company that you believe has denied you of your legal rights.”
He continued in his statement to the Liverpool Echo;
“The clip-in veneers had a thick excess around the edges, which looked awful and really made it obvious that these were not natural teeth. You can’t eat in them or talk in them, and they do not look natural at all. It was like they had just taken the plastic veneers out of a mould and hadn’t even bothered to file it down or clean up the edges to a professional standard. Some people online compared them to joke shop teeth, and I can see what they mean”.
Are Clip on Veneers Legal?
Finally let’s assess the legal position. Like so much of dentistry, we can’t find a definitive answer to whether it’s actually legal to take impressions at home but would be of the view that if not illegal then it’s extremely dangerous without the assistance of a dentist or dental nurse who can assess your underlying oral health. Or why not just make an appointment to see a dentist for a hygiene appointment and they will tell you if you have a healthy smile. They cost less than a round of drinks in the pub!
A dental information company, the online dentist even goes as far as saying that clip on veneers are illegal in their assessment here. I am incluned to agree with this and it reminds me of the legal position surrounding whitening. Now all whitening is illegal whether you self administer or not. I would imagine with more cases like the poor woman above, the courts will make a ruling that this is the practice of dentistry and force these companies underground.
The authors claim the following:
“This is illegal. I’m fairly sure that providing dental treatment in this way is illegal. A qualified professional hasn’t checked the health of the customer’s teeth. No one has explained the other options. And these clip on veneers are being provided by dental technicians. Dental technicians cannot legally provide an appliance like this without being instructed to do so by a dentist.”
“I am really sorry to be so negative. These look like a nice, quick fix to a lovely, white smile. In theory, it’s not a bad idea. However, like a lot of quick fixes, it’s a bit too god to be true.
I fell very strongly that the people running these companies are putting their profits ahead of the health of their customers. This is not acceptable. Please avoid them.”
So what’s a better choice for people who want to improve their smiles without breaking the bank?
Good old fashioned teeth whitening will typically cost you between £150-£400 at a dentists depending on the type of treatment you choose. This can give you a great confidence boost in a safe and sustainable way. Check out our article on illegal whitening so you don’t end up getting ripped off trying to buy whitening too!
Also composite bonding or composite veneers are a much cheaper alternative to traditional veneers and bonding to fix cracks or chips in the front teeth can cost as little as £100 a tooth and the results can be really dramatic. Here at Smileworks we don’t want to lecture our patients but just like in the case of illegal teeth whitening, back-street Botox and dodgy lip fillers, we feel that it’s our duty as health professionals to make you aware of the risks when embarking on so called ‘DIY Dentistry’.
Also it’s a good idea to speak to an actual dental practice where the front of house team will be able to advise you on the costs of treatment which are often much less than you think. Some transformative treatments like braces, whitening and resin veneers can cost as little at £70/month if you use patient finance companies that are offered by almost every dentist in Liverpool.
The General Dental Council states the only people who should be taking dental impressions are dentists, dental hygienists, dental nurses (under the prescription of dentists) and dental technicians. So make sure that if you are planning on taking impressions that you speak to one of the above professional to make sure that your mouth is healthy enough for this procedure and that nothing bad is going to happen when the alginate is set and you try to pull it out. This means making a hygiene appointment to stay safe before proceeding. We don’t want any of you accidentally extracting your own teeth in the pursuit of a cheap solution to what can often be complex dental health issues.
Another worrying development is that over 90% of people in Liverpool have untreated Gum Disease of some sort ranging from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontal disease. If you think that covering these problems up with nice white veneers is going to fix them then you’re going to end up in the growing proportion of individuals in their 30’s and 40’s wearing dentures.
So please be careful and email or get in touch for free advice and guidance from the Dental professionals who have made a promise to help and not harm their patients. Unlike the many businesses out there who seem to just want to get money off you in exchange for poorly made or downright dangerous products that are not going to give you a ‘Hollywood smile’ but end you up with people poking fun at you.