Blushing brides are among those opting for a mouthful of false teeth to achieve a cheap, perfect smile.

Motivated by TV shows such as Extreme Makeover - and to save money on dentistry bills - young patients are resorting to invasive and unnecessary treatments, say dentists.

A bride in her 30s recently had all of her teeth removed and replaced with dentures as a wedding gift from her parents, said Auckland dentist Clarence Tam.

Tam would have warned her against the aggressive procedure but it was too late by the time she visited his clinic, he said.


Another patient, aged 28, who complained of a misaligned jaw and minor fillings, asked him to take out all her teeth and replace them with implants at a cost of between $75,000 and $100,000.

And others wanted their healthy teeth covered with crowns for a perfect, straight smile - all procedures which could have a damaging effect later in life, said Tam.

"Dentures shave 25 per cent of the chewing efficiency of natural teeth and your bone continues to shrink."

Invasive crown work involved drilling around the tooth and capping it with porcelain. Between 6 and 20 per cent of the tooth could die after getting crown preparation, he said.

Other patients wanted overnight makeovers, thanks to reality TV shows in which people achieved dramatic changes fast, said Wellington dentist Angela McKeefry.

"I see the extreme makeover thing where they put pressure on to do stuff you wouldn't want to do on your mother or daughter," she said.

Usually they wanted crowns on stained or crooked teeth rather than spend time and money getting braces, for example, said McKeefry.

"Since these extreme makeover-type shows have been on it's certainly raised awareness of the possibilities, perhaps unrealistically so."

Those opting for extreme treatments would find that crowns and dentures eventually needed replacing.