I have recently heard of a new porcelain veneers technique called GlamSmile. It looks like Lumineers except that they are made by a Belgian company and they say it only requires one hour to bond to the teeth, and that’s why they’re so inexpensive. Would you recommend this product?
—Grace from California
Yes, I’ve noticed the marketing efforts for GlamSmile and I have read through their website. And I see several potential problems with this technique, which I can share with you. (While the company spells it as one word, some people spell it Glam Smile. And an additional note—In 2010, DenMat purchased the rights to use the GlamSmile technique and they have re-branded it as the Lumitray technique for placing Lumineers.)
Can you try on your GlamSmile before it is bonded?
Here’s my first issue, and it’s compounded by the fact that the system is being marketed to dentists who don’t know anything about cosmetic dentistry, and the dentists are being told that the lab will pretty much do everything. This is similar to what the Lumineers people say, and it doesn’t work. The lab can’t do everything. The dentist is the one who examines the patient, takes note of the facial shape, the personality of the patient, the shapes of the lips and other features, and discusses with the patient what they want to look like. You can’t take this element out of it and come out with a beautiful smile. The dentist needs to be artistically inclined, and only one or two percent of dentists are really artistic enough to pull off creating a beautiful smile. Adding to the serious problems you could have with this technique, they have no mechanism that I could see to try on your GlamSmile before it is permanently bonded. There is reference to being able to preview the case digitally. This means that the preview will be a simlation. As a dentist, I would be uncomfortable with that. For the best results, I want to be able to see the new smile before it is put on permanently, and I want the patient to see it and approve of the look. It’s not good, in my opinion, to leave too much to faith when you’re dealing with a smile makeover. If you add to this that you may be dealing to a dentist who has no clue about cosmetic dentistry, which could easily be the case with their marketing thrust, then there is a high possibility of dissatisfaction with the result.
The Way GlamSmile Is Marketed
Their marketing raises some red flags in my mind. They tell dentists that they can make five times their usual rate of production. So beware of the dentist who advertises himself as a “GlamSmile Dentist.” He or she may just be looking for a quick buck. And I know how dentists think and get into these things. The marketing emphasizes how easy it is, and if the dentist believes that, he or she may be tempted to get in over his or her head. It’s a recipe for trouble.
Issues with the GlamSmile Bonding Technique
Third, I have real questions about their bonding technique, and if an hour is a realistic time for your regular dentist to get these on and properly clean up and polish. Most expert cosmetic dentists who do a lot of porcelain veneers have developed a technique to minimize the time required. There are special tools that will allow you to fix the veneer solidly in place while leaving the excess luting cement either completely soft or at least crumbly and easy to remove. Then, after this excess is removed, they will do the final hardening of this bonding material. When I used that technique, I could completely place and polish eight or ten porcelain veneers in an hour or an hour and a half. But the GlamSmile technique requires positioning of the veneers with a special tray made for the patient, and complete hardening of the cement with the tray in place. When that luting cement is fully hardened, it can be a terrible job to clean it up, easily doubling or even quadrupling the seating time. And getting that all cleaned off without damaging the teeth or the veneers is hard work.
When I first visited the The GlamSmile website, it hinted that this could be a problem. And it suggested that the dentist might need to reschedule the patient for a second appointment to completely remove the excess cement, if necessary. When I went back to the website several weeks later, the issue was ignored. I hope the reason for this is that they have modified their technique and addressed this issue, but I am not sure and I saw no evidence that the technique was modified.
Be Careful about Asking for GlamSmile
Finally, it’s generally not a good idea to ask your dentist for a specific technique. Be very careful about it. Don’t press your dentist in any way to try this, or you’ll end up being a guinea pig. The most I would do is just casually ask my dentist, “What do you know about GlamSmile?” and then try to read your dentist’s reaction to tell how comfortable they were with this technique. I have a stack of horror stories from patients who pressed dentists out of their comfort zones with ugly results. And remember, cosmetic dentistry is an art. Would you commission an artist for a painting and tell him or her what kind of brush and what brand of paint to use? No. You pick the artist and let them use the materials and techniques that work best in their hands. Pick a cosmetic dentist who has the proper training and artistic ability, one you can trust, and let them take it from there.
The upside is that these may indeed end up being considerably less expensive than traditional porcelain veneers. But here again, you have to be very wary. Don’t look for a “bargain dentist” to do these, because you have no legal recourse if you don’t like how they look. Look for an expert cosmetic dentist who does beautiful traditional veneers and offers this as a lower-cost option. I know an excellent cosmetic dentist in Houston who does that, and who tells patients that their smiles will be improved with GlamSmile, but not to expect the stunning Hollywood smile with this short-cut technique.
Here is a before-and-after set of photos from the GlamSmile website. When not checked close-up, they look okay. But the teeth will always be fuller and a little longer after this procedure, which is the case with this patient.
In these photos, notice in the “before” picture that there is some negative space between her cheeks and the teeth. GlamSmile fills this in, and so the “after” photo looks okay. But for many patients, this may not work.
And without an artist/dentist to guide the lab, and since the lab doesn’t examine or even meet the patient, results like this seem to me like a lucky accident.
And maybe it’s just me, but I seem to sense that, in their “after” photos that I saw, the smiles are not as enthusiastic as I’m used to. I took many “after” photos of patients who had just had smile makeovers, and, in almost every case, the overflowing spontaneity in their smiles was dramatic. While I saw “after” smiles on their website that were a little wider than in the “before” pictures, I didn’t see that excitement that I am used to, and I wonder if they’re coached. With a couple of them, they even looked a little forced to me. Maybe I’m expecting too much.