The porcelain veneer timeline: cosmetic dentistry is not a new thing, veneers have been around since 1920!

If you come to your dentist telling them you are feeling self-conscious or unhappy with your smile, one of the options they may suggest for you is dental veneers. 

Porcelain veneers are thin shells made from a durable ceramic. Rather than providing a full set of replacement teeth (like dentures), veneers are thin shells that are bonded to the front of the tooth or teeth, to correct dental flaws and imperfections.

Most qualified dentists have methods and resources to correct most dental deficiencies, and veneers allow them to aesthetically perfect those corrections.

A brief history of veneers

For most of us, we think of ‘the advent of cosmetic dentistry’ as something new.

This, however, is false. In recent years there has been a rise in interest in veneers, a change that can be accounted for by the increasing number of celebrities sporting pearly-white veneers. 

However, the cosmetic procedure has been around as early as the 1920s!


Veneers were invented by California dentist Charles Pincus in the late 1920s. 

In 1928 Dr Charles Pincus was asked to perfect the teeth of a Hollywood actor for a film shoot, and from this birthed the ‘perfect smile’ that we see so commonly today.

Most of Pincus’s patients were Hollywood celebs, and even in the 20s Hollywood was an image-centred network.

Teeth have always made an impact on a person’s smile, look and confidence, and Pincus zoned in on this, and found a way to give celebrities a perfect smile for the screen.


Progression was slow following Pincus’s discovery, and the use of veneers remained limited to the Hollywood elite. However, dentists realised that everyone could benefit from veneers, if only the treatment was made available to them. 

Many of their patients lost teeth to disease and fake teeth were usually noticeable. In the 1940s veneers were still made using porcelain or composites, but the problem was with the bonding agent. 

Dentists struggled to find a way to offer a long-term type of veneer as they had not yet discovered a bonding process that was strong enough to hold the porcelain or composite for more than the length or filming a scene.


A breakthrough for temporality of veneers! By the 1950s, Dr. Michael Bunocore discovered that light teeth etching with a mild acidic solution made a stronger bonding surface for sealants and restorations, therefore making the veneer more durable. 


In 1982, J.R. Calamia and R.J. Simonsen combined the research and techniques of Pincus and Buonocore and found a way to make the bonding surface strong enough to permanently attach the porcelain to the enamel.

Through the use of technology and modernisation, the procedure became more affordable and with this new affordability, it became readily accessible to many.


Today, veneers are not just restricted to the realm of Hollywood celebs, there are many different types of veneers available, and many different types of people who choose to have the treatment done. 

With improved cements and bonding agents, if you have your veneers fitted by a qualified dentist, they typically last 10–30 years. 

The cost of veneers can vary depending on the experience and location of the dentist. In the UK, costs usually start at around £500 per tooth, but there are multiple payment options available and alternative methods of pay which we can arrange with our patients. 

To find out more about our prices and the treatment procedure get in contact today.