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Cosmetic Bonding Gone Wrong

I had four of my front teeth “repaired” with dental bonding. The front two teeth overlapped a little and the other two teeth he did to make sure everything matched. Here are my problems. First, he ground down the two teeth quite a bit and added a bunch of bonding, but the backs where he ground feel sharp and painful. Second, he used a yellow color even though I told him I wanted white. When I complained he said it was the only way to get all my teeth to match. I feel like my smile was prettier before he did this work. Can this be made to look good?


Dear Amelia,

Before and After Dental Bonding-

This can be made to look good, but I’m not certain that your dentist has the skills to make that happen. The fact that he needed to add bonding to extra teeth that didn’t “require” it in order to get the color to match, is one hint that he is in over his head. If you look at the image above, you can see that dental bonding is able to match a tooth even when doing small areas. In fact, that is what dental bonding is intended for–small repairs, such as chipped teeth or small tooth gaps.

I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean by the backs feeling sharp and painful. As you have to get this redone to look the way it should, the new dentist should be able to repair whatever you mean by that. Your dental work should never be painful.

As to the color. Why didn’t he just have you whiten your teeth with professional teeth whitening if you wanted white bonding but the adjacent teeth were more yellow? It is common to whiten teeth before any type of cosmetic work because most people want their teeth white when they get any type of smile makeover done.

Finding an Excellent Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty therefore any general dentist can technically call themselves a cosmetic dentist. To make matters even worse, smile makeovers are not taught in dental school. It is completely up to the dentist how much, if any, training he gets in doing cosmetic work.

Because of this issue, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) began an accreditation program to help dentists get the training they need and patients to know who has the expertise necessary. The best cosmetic dentists in the country are AACD accredited. I’d start there.

Dental Bonding or Porcelain Veneers

porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth
Porcelain veneer

As I mentioned earlier, dental bonding is meant for small repairs, like chips and gaps. It is not really as useful over large surfaces. Plus, it only lasts a few years. It’s one thing to replace a tiny section every few years, but whole surfaces of teeth will get very expensive quickly.

Because of that, don’t be surprised if whatever dentist you see suggests porcelain veneers to you. These are tiny wafers of porcelain that can be bonded to your teeth. They are more stain-resistant than dental bonding. In fact, they are even more stain-resistant than your natural teeth. When done well and cared for, they can last your lifetime.

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