The concept of snap-on smiles began with the invention of the overlay cosmetic appliance by Arvid Saunaitis, president of Kromex Dental Laboratory. Saunaitis' appliance was designed to be worn temporarily by patients who were waiting for their porcelain veneers to be crafted. Patients who could not afford to have a full set of veneers placed at one time could wear the overlay cosmetic appliance while having their veneers placed over the course of several years.
Using the concept behind the overlay cosmetic appliance as a launching pad, Dr. Marc Liechtung created the snap-on smile. Unlike the overlay cosmetic appliance, which has a metal base, snap-on smiles are made completely of resin and therefore look more natural. The price of a snap-on smile has also made it a popular alternative to porcelain veneers and other cosmetic restorations. Snap-on smiles start at around $1200, which is nearly the cost of a single porcelain veneer. Many dentists are even offering snap-on smiles that replicate the smiles of celebrities and models.
On a more practical level, snap-on smiles are proving to be an excellent option for people, such as dental phobics, who would rather not endure the process of having porcelain veneers placed on several teeth. They also represent a "try before you buy" option for patients who are considering porcelain veneers but would like to "test drive" their smiles first.
As for the safety of snap-on smiles, patients are advised not to wear them every waking hour as doing so could promote the growth of bacteria between the appliance and the tooth surface. If worn properly, however, a snap-on smile should not cause any damage to a person's underlying natural teeth.
As more and more people look to enhance their smiles quickly and conveniently, the popularity of snap-on smiles will certainly continue to grow. As a fast, easy, natural looking method of restoring beauty to teeth, snap-on smiles are making smile makeovers a snap.
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