I had four Lumineers on my teeth from a long time ago that looked ugly, so I’ve been planning to have them redone for awhile now. Well, I just had 10 new Lumineers done and I hated the color. The dentist used a stain to make them look “natural.” I thought I had thoroughly explained that I wanted a white smile. So when I called in to complain, he had me come back in to fix the color. He drilled off the top layer to whiten them, as I was freaking out inside. Do you know what it sounds like to drill away over $13,000?! Was drilling really the right way to handle botched Lumineers? Now, I’m left with dull, lifeless veneers. The shape is messed up too. Is there anything that can help?
-Beck in Illinois (a.k.a. Going Broke and Still Not Smiling)
This sounds like a cosmetic dentistry horror story. And sadly, it happens more than you might think. At this point, it sounds like you are coming to grips with the fact that there isn’t much that can be done to fix your Lumineers. Although, if they are really bad, there is a chance you may be able to pursue a refund, either partially or hopefully a full refund. At that point, you may be able to have the porcelain veneers redone.
The first step is to find another cosmetic dentist to help support your cause. The new dentist would have a vested interest of course, since you will still need to have your porcelain veneers redone. So, the new dentist may be willing to put some pressure on the dentist to help you get a refund.
As you select a new dentist, you need to look for an excellent cosmetic dentist. As you have realized and experienced, not just any dentist can do cosmetic dentistry. Any dentist can claim to do it, but fewer than one to two percent of dentists have the artistic ability and passion to create beautiful work. Another issue at play here is that most true cosmetic dentists don’t like Lumineers. This is because this particular brand of porcelain veneers come with strict trademark restrictions, which dictate them to be done in their laboratory. Also, the results aren’t up to the standard of most excellent cosmetic dentists. In the mindsof a reputable cosmetic dentist, the best Lumineers case may deliver an okay or above average smile. They often end up looking opaque and bulky. An expert cosmetic dentist will settle for nothing less than perfection and for you to absolutely love their work. That is the dentist you’re after. One that would go to bat on your behalf so you end up with the beautiful smile you deserve.
As far as your comment about the stain to whiten them after drilling them down, this probably is a result of a technique taught in dental school. Instructors (without cosmetic dentistry expertise) would state that a “natural” stain should be placed on teeth, so they don’t look too white. He was probably taught that if the teeth were too white, they would look fake. But, a true cosmetic dentist will listen to you and deliver results that are exactly what you are trying to achieve. They will figure out what smile design is best for your face shape, personality and complexion.
In order to get the smile you have in your mind, unfortunately the cosmetic dentistry needs to be redone. This time around, choose carefully. Ask to see cases similar to yours, look at their portfolio of work and be sure they have extensive advanced training in cosmetic dentistry. If you find a dentist that is a member or affiliated with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, you are on the right track.
Sorry there isn’t better news for you. But thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully, it will protect another patient from falling into a similar situation with a dentist that isn’t equipped to provide beautiful cosmetic dentistry.