I went to my dentist for a consultation on Lumineers. I thought they’d be good for me because I have uneven discoloration and a small chip on one of my teeth. I also really liked the idea of having minimal preparation work done because my teeth are healthy. I don’t want to ruin them. My dentist said that Lumineers, and any other type of veneer, are a bad choice because people will be able to see where the veneer ends and my natural tooth starts when I open my mouth wide or tip my head back. Is this true? He wants me to have “cosmetic crowns” done because they’ll cover the whole tooth and be indistinguishable. I don’t want to remove more tooth than I need to, but I also don’t want to look ridiculous. What should I do?
Aurora in Illinois
It isn’t true that porcelain veneers will look fake or that people will be able to tell where the veneer ends. Done correctly, porcelain veneers are the most natural-looking and beautiful of all dental restorations. However, with the Lumineers brand, our experience is that they often look fake–not because of seeing where the Lumineer ends, but because the color ends up being too opaque and the shape isn’t natural.
Having said that, I would still listen to your dentist because he is telegraphing to you that he is uncomfortable doing porcelain veneers.
Cosmetic dentistry is like an art and takes extensive training to deliver beautiful results. Although cosmetic dentistry isn’t a designated specialty are within dentistry, you should look for an accredited cosmetic dentist in your area. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) has put into place a rigorous accreditation program for dentists that seek the highest level of professionalism and skill in cosmetic dentistry. If you find an accredited cosmetic dentist, you can trust that the dentist has a high standard when it comes to the services offered.
With any kind of cosmetic dental work, the doctor has to have quite a bit of skill. This is true whether you’re getting some form of porcelain veneer, a porcelain crown, or even a tooth-colored filling. The doctor has to be able to make the colors match flawlessly and make sure the joint between the veneer and the tooth is perfectly smooth. If he fails in getting the color or translucency correct, your dental work stands out like a sore thumb. If the restoration is bulky, or not flush with your natural tooth, it will be obvious, plus it will collect debris and plaque.
Also, doing porcelain crowns would be overkill. It would seem a shame to grind down perfectly healthy teeth to do crowns simply because your family dentist doesn’t know how to do veneers well.
If you insisted on having the veneers procedure done by your current dentist, you would probably be unhappy with the results. He knows his limitations and he’s telling you he can’t make it look right, even though he’s blaming the procedure and not his technique. If you want to have porcelain veneers done, see an accredited cosmetic dentist. If you can’t find an accredited cosmetic dentist, the next best thing would be to ask about their cosmetic dentistry credentials, check out their portfolio and ask to see cases similar to yours. But whatever you decide, don’t ask your current dentist to do veneers.