It is the latest fashion accessory, a rapid answer to the problem of unattractive teeth. The new line in cosmetic enhancement is the "snap-on smile".

No drilling, bleaching or injections are needed. In place of expensive "mouth restorations", people with crooked, stained or unsightly incisors can get a new set of teeth which fit over the old and can be put on and off at will. It is even possible to eat with them.

The technique, developed in America, offers clients a choice of celebrity smiles, including Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie's, and has now been brought to Britain.

Philip Lewis, a dentist on the Isle of Wight and member of the British Association of Cosmetic Dentistry, is the first to offer the treatment.

After hearing about it in California, he bribed his daughter, Chloe, a model in her teens, to try the device and then persuaded her boyfriend Daz Barbrook to experiment too.

"Chloe wanted a celebrity smile. She chose Jessica Simpson [a US actress and star of the reality TV show Newlyweds] who has a typical American smile - toothy and broad and very white. "Daz didn't want a celebrity smile - he had gaps in his teeth and wasn't too happy about their colour so we used a nice even set up, lighter than his own teeth and he was pleased with the results. That is what most people want."

Mr White said the procedure had rapidly become popular in America thanks to its simplicity and relatively low cost.

"It is ideal for weddings, job interviews or for people just wanting to emulate a celebrity. It is not a substitute for the thorough and more permanent results of veneers and crowns - but it can give a pleasing instant smile enhancement without any discomfort," he said.

The device can be made in three weeks. An impression is taken of the patient's mouth and sent with photographs to a laboratory in California where the Snap-on smile is made. Mr White explained: "It is a plastic overlay, half a millimetre thick, and it snaps on over the patient's own teeth. It is made of a resilient material and it fits tightly. It takes a couple of days to get used to eating with it. We recommend people start with soft foods and work up."

The cost is £950 for one set of teeth - upper or lower - or £1,500 for both. While that may wipe the smile from some people's faces, Mr White claims it is a snip. "If you are thinking of spending £15,000 on veneers to improve the appearance of your teeth then this is another way of getting a similar effect," he said. "You could do it as a trial run to see if you like it. The great advantage is it is reversible - if you don't like it, you can take it out . Once you have cemented veneers on your teeth there is no going back."

With normal wear, the Snap-on smile is expected to last three to five years. If your family, friends and colleagues can take it, that is.

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