I am living my very own porcelain veneers nightmare. A couple days ago I had two porcelain veneers placed on my two front teeth. The main reason for the cosmetic dentistry in the first place was because I had a chip in my tooth. It had dental bonding on it that eventually came off. When I went into the dentist, I was originally thinking that I’d get the dental bonding redone. But the dentist basically said it wasn’t an option. Then he proceeded to tell me I would need a crown, since the 1/5 of the tooth was chipped. I felt like that was pretty invasive and told them I preferred porcelain veneers.
So, when I went back in for the final fitting, I decided I wanted the tooth to be a little whiter than my natural tooth because I was hoping to get teeth whitening on the others done later. I liked the way it looked during that appointment and so he had me sign a consent form. After it was cemented on, I didn’t have the chance to see it again until I got int he car.
They told me it looked great but I didn’t see it until I got to my car. I was instantly in tears when I saw it. It was more than a millimetre out of position and now it looks like it protrudes. It’s almost like the hygienist put too much cement on it and it kind of sticks out further than the others. It feels so funny on the backside, like there is a gap between the bottom edge of the tooth and the veneer. Biting just doesn’t feel right either.
When I called in to explain my issues, they told me that the gap on the back may be able to remedied but I was stuck with the length. She said it’s possible that the tooth moved. Are you kidding? I noticed the protrusion and length problem in their parking lot. It didn’t move in three minutes.
I don’t know what to do? I don’t feel like they want to help me or make it right. And I’m embarrassed to go see another dentist. Do you have any advice?
-Sherry in Florida
Sadly, your porcelain veneers horror story is not uncommon. It’s difficult to give you exact recommendations without seeing your case in person and my response is largely based on some general assumptions from other similar mishaps. But here is what it sounds like based on what you have shared.
Cosmetic dentistry is not a separate specialty area within dentistry. This means that any dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist without any extra training. Cosmetic dentistry is like an art. It takes a passion for aesthetics and a thorough understanding of dental bonding materials and techniques used to create natural-looking, beautiful work. A dentist without this mindset, skill set or understanding comes from a functional mindset. They are more focused on fixing a problem versus creating beauty.
From what you have explained, your dentist doesn’t sound like an expert cosmetic dentist. First, there is no reason that dental bonding should have been off the table. If the chip is as you explained, dental bonding would have been an ideal choice for an experienced cosmetic dentist. It is quite possible that your dentist doesn’t have that experience. He may be used to doing porcelain crowns and therefore recommended what he is better at, not what was best for your specific needs.
It also needs to be said that your instincts were correct. A porcelain crown in this situation is not necessary and it is an invasive treatment. In hindsight, you never want to ask a dentist to do a treatment (like porcelain veneers) that they aren’t comfortable with or that they didn’t recommend.
You also mentioned that you selected the shading based on the fact that you were interested in teeth whitening down the road. An expert cosmetic dentist wouldn’t have had you picking the colour or shading. They would have insisted that you have the bleaching done first and then after the colour stabilized, the porcelain veneers could have been matched perfectly to your surrounding teeth. This is just another indicator that cosmetic dentistry may be out of your dentist’s comfort zone.
It’s good that you had a look at the veneer prior to it being permanently cemented in place. But it is very strange that you weren’t aloud to see it after it was bonded. Most cosmetic dentists would be so excited for you to see the final product. They live for your positive reaction because they would want you to love the work. It’s frustrating that you didn’t see it until you were in the car.
Regarding the positioning of the restoration, it sounds like the veneer wasn’t seated correctly. Properly placing a veneer is an entirely different process than it is with a crown. This isn’t the end of the world, but it isn’t right or fair to you. Patients trust their dentist, which is the key to a successful patient-doctor relationship. It doesn’t sound like this dentist had the proper technique or experience, but did the porcelain veneers anyway.
When you called back in and they told you that the length and positioning cannot be addressed, that is not correct. A porcelain veneer can be trimmed and honestly if it isn’t right – it should be redone. Your tooth didn’t move from the time you walked to your car and it is absurd that this is the response you were given.
The porcelain veneer sounds like it needs to be fixed and completely redone. At this point, based on what you have shared, you probably don’t want this dentist to do it. That said, you have every right to request a refund. The dentist has to realize that he messed up and should be embarrassed. You can state that you are going to a new dentist to have it fixed. If they give you any grief, the new cosmetic dentist may be able to help you out by confirming the mistake. Document everything and take photos. If it doesn’t go well, you have every right to file a complaint with the dental board. Hopefully it doesn’t’ get to that point though.
On behalf of cosmetic dentists that truly care about creating beauty, please accept our apology. I’m sorry you have to go through this.