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A Quick History of Porcelain Veneers

By Joe McIntyre, DDS on November 27, 2018

Digital illustration of veneer being placedPorcelain veneers can conceal a variety of aesthetic issues, such as chipped, discolored, gapped, or misaligned teeth. They are bonded to the front portions of the teeth, delivering a more balanced, uniform appearance.

Our team at Smiles for Life in Harrisonburg, VA explores a brief history of porcelain veneers, and explains how decades of research helped our experts design the beautiful veneers we know today.

When Were Porcelain Veneers Invented?

Porcelain veneers may seem like a modern invention, but they have actually been in use since the 1920s. Dr. Charles Pincus, a dentist in California, provided dental care for a number of celebrities.

Appearance has always been a concern for actors, and Dr. Pincus set out to find a cosmetic treatment that would help them look and feel their best while on screen. As a result, he invented the first veneers - acrylic shells that were temporarily bonded to the teeth with adhesive.

1930s - 1940s

During the next couple of decades, progress in cosmetic dentistry was slow. However, movie stars and celebrities continued to use veneers to enhance their appearance. As the popularity of this treatment grew, dentists realized that other people could benefit from veneers as well.

At the time, veneers were commonly crafted from composite or porcelain, and were incredibly lifelike. The problem, however, was finding a way to bond the veneers to the teeth for longer than just an hour or two.

1950s

The issue with bonding was improved in the 1950s, thanks to a doctor by the name of Michael Bunocore. He discovered that the application of a mildly acidic solution etched the teeth and effectively created a stronger bonding surface.

In addition to bonding porcelain veneers, this was also beneficial for sealants and other restorations, such as inlays, onlays, and crowns.

1980s

Until this point, veneers could be bonded to the teeth for prolonged periods of time, but experts had not yet found a way to bond them permanently. This changed in 1982, when Drs. R.J. Simonsen and J.R. Calamia discovered a way to affix veneers permanently to the teeth.

To do this, they combined dental etching with bonding resins. These methods created a stronger, longer-lasting bond. Once this had been achieved, it made porcelain veneers more accessible and affordable for the general public.

Today’s Porcelain Veneers

Modern cosmetic dentistry practices combine the discoveries of researchers like Pincus, Bunocore, Simonsen, and Calamia. Furthermore, today’s advanced dental materials reflect light similarly to natural teeth. As a result, patients can enjoy a more attractive smile that will last for several years.

In most cases, porcelain veneers last approximately 10 to 15 years with proper care. As materials continue to improve, they could last upwards of 20 years.

Contact Smiles for Life

Are you looking for ways to enhance the aesthetics of your smile? If so, porcelain veneers could be the solution. During a visit at Smiles for Life, we can design a customized treatment plan to meet your needs. To make an appointment at our practice, contact us online or give us a call at (540) 828-2312.

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