Porcelain Veneer Scam

I need some advice. I had some slightly misaligned teeth and they were also showing their age with their color. I went to someone who advertised as a cosmetic dental specialist who was having a new patient sale of 15% off. He told me he could fix both of those things with porcelain veneers. I was super excited about the idea of having a nice smile again. By the time he was “finished” nothing looked like he said they would. The teeth are still misaligned and the color looks chalky and fake. To top it off he told me he reshaped some of the bottom teeth, which we didn’t agree to or even discuss, yet he charged me$2k extra for it. Now he’s saying I have unrealistic expectations and the only way to get my teeth to look the way I want is with dental crowns and of course, he wants to charge me more for the crowns. He’s the one who suggested veneers in the first place. What do I do?

Carly

Dear Carly,

Wow! I absolutely hate hearing stories like this. He has been so unethical and it makes the rest of the legitimate dentists look bad. Your first thing to do is try to secure a refund. Here are the things going for you that will help you procure one.

  • First, he misrepresented himself by calling himself a specialist. There is not a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry. For him to call himself a true specialist is unethical. That being said, there are dentists who are more qualified than others. I’ll discuss below how to find a truly skilled cosmetic dentist.
  • Second, he promised you results he did not follow through on and then blamed you for your expectations. Telling you he can do something is a verbal contract. He did not fulfill his part of the deal.
  • Thirdly, he did work by shaping teeth you did not even discuss. That is a big no-no. A patient must consent to work before it is done.

I’d start by gently asking for a refund. If he gives you trouble, and I suspect he will, point out the things mentioned above. If he still gives you trouble, let him know you’ll be talking to the dental board and contacting an attorney if need be.

I also recommend, for the benefit of other potential victims that you leave a review documenting your experience with this dentist.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

So you are aware, porcelain veneers CAN actually do everything he said and more. You just have to have a skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist to do the work. Smile makeovers are not taught in dental school so it is up to the dentist how much training they invest in this skill.

The best cosmetic dentists have reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. It’s more than just being a member of the AACD. In order to get accredited, they have to pass stringent exams as well as have a large number of cases they’ve done examined by a board to make sure it meets the highest technical and artistic standards.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Disastrous Dental Implant Case

I need some help. Close to three years ago, I had a full mouth reconstruction done that cost me $38,500. One by one, crowns and implants starting falling apart. I mostly have a mouth filled with implant screws sticking out of my mouth. I’ve contacted the office for a while and kept getting the run-around. Now I find out the dentist has fled the country and is currently in Egypt with no plans to come back. What do I do?

Kelly

Dear Kelly,

Illustration of dnetal implants being placed in three stages.

This is a tough position to be in. If this dentist has fled the country, it is nearly impossible for you to get your money back. Instead, what you will need to focus on is finding a dentist who has the skills to fix these dental implants.

Just having dental school training is not enough. You really need someone with advanced post doctoral training.  For example, Dr. Burba completed Dawson Academy in Florida which teaches full mouth rehabilitation, complex restorative dentistry, and occlusion.

Before you see anyone, ask them what training they have in dental implants. Don’t just go based on fees. Cheap is not affordable. Cutting corners in dental implants tends to lead to disastrous failures in the case.

Which leads me to a second issue. Make sure your second dentist is very thorough with your diagnostics. I would insist on a CT scan. Dental implants are a 3-dimensional procedure and you really need 3-dimensional x-rays. Without them, your dentist could risk placing an implant on a nerve or perforating your sinus cavity.

Finally, check the online reviews. You want to make certain their follow-through matches their credentials and that patients have had a good experience with them.

Because you want someone with artistry as well as technical expertise in order to make sure they can create a gorgeous result, it will help if they are AACD accredited as well.

On that note, please leave a review both about the dentist who did this to you and then fled the country and the practice he was with that is refusing to refund your money. This will protect other potential patients from experiencing the same lack of adequate dental care you went through.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Porcelain Veneer Disaster

I had four dental veneers placed. Nothing seems to be going right with these. When I first got them, I was a little uncomfortable with how yellow my natural teeth looked next to them. My dentist said that people will only notice the veneers, but I noticed the other teeth every time I smiled. Now the two front teeth seem to be turning gray so those are now a different color than when I first got them, just a few months ago. All totaled that makes me smile three different colors. My dentist thinks the teeth under the graying ones are darker so we need to make the veneers thicker. I’m having my doubts. What do you think?

Barry

Dear Barry,

porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

I am very glad you wrote. This is one I am going to place in our cosmetic dentistry horror story file, which is growing by the day. The biggest problem you are facing with your smile makeover is your dentist. He or she is in over their head and at this point is just experimenting on you. Do not let them do any more work on your porcelain veneers. Let’s go through everything that was done wrong on this case and then I’ll tell you where to go from there.

First was the number of veneers. While it is fine to get just four veneers, most smiles (like yours) are much wider than that. Saying that people will only be looking at your veneers is a joke. They’re going to notice you have four very white teeth and then yellow teeth, which will instantly signal those four teeth are fake. To have a uniform smile color, a patient either needs to get enough veneers to cover the whole smile, which is usually 8-10 teeth wide, or have their teeth whitened before getting the veneers. The latter option is much less expensive if you are on a tight budget.

As to the graying, do not allow the dentist to make the veneers any thicker. You said the veneers have started turning gray, not that they were gray to begin with. That means it has nothing to do with the shade of your teeth underneath. It is more likely a bonding issues.

If the porcelain veneers weren’t bonded on properly, then you will have food, debris, and other bacteria getting caught between your natural tooth structure and your veneers. This puts you at serious risk of both decay and gum disease. The good news is, you can use this to get at least a partial refund, possibly a full one. Here is how to go about this. There are other possibilities as well, but you need someone who is looking at the veneers to tell you which. Here’s what I recommend.

Look for either an AACD accredited dentist or one listed on the mynewsmile.com website. Dentists in both these groups are experts in cosmetic dentistry. They’ve invested in post dental school training and have real artistry. Most of them even have a beautiful smile guarantee. Have them look at your veneers and tell you what is wrong. Don’t just have them look at the two that are turning gray, but the other two as well. If the bonding is off on two, it is probably off and all of them and they’ll eventually start having the same problem.

From there I would tell your dentist what the verdict was and simply ask for a refund. If he or she refuses, then the second dentist should be willing to help you. Sadly, sometimes dentists are more willing to listen to their peers than their patients.

Once your refund is secured have the case done again properly. One world of caution. When you go to get this second opinion. Do not tell him who did the work before they’ve given their opinion. You want it to be a blind second opinion in case they are friends with one another.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.