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Dentist Said My Tooth Moved with My Porcelain Veneer

I need some advice. I had a chipped tooth that had some dental bonding on it, but the bonding was old and discolored and needed to be replaced. I went to my family dentist and she said you can’t replace dental bonding that we’ll need to do a dental crown instead. I didn’t want to grind away an entire tooth, so I suggested she do a porcelain veneer instead. In anticipation that I would whiten my teeth afterward, we had the shade made a little whiter than my other teeth. When it came in, it looked fine and then she put it on my tooth. She said everything looked great, but I didn’t get to see it. When I got to the car, I looked in the mirror. I was a bit concerned because it looked like it was a millimeter or two too long and there is a gap between the back of the veneer and my actual tooth. I’m afraid that will get decay. I thought maybe it just looked that way because of the angle of my rearview mirror and went home to look at my bigger, magnified mirror. It was the same. When I called her she said that they can close up the gap, but nothing can be done about the length. She tried to say my tooth must have moved. Really? From the distance of her office to my car? I have a feeling I am not going to like the fix. What should I do?


Dear Mazie,

It is sad how often we hear stories like this. Not many family dentists actually know what they are doing when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. One of the problems patients face is there is not a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, so they are left guessing which dentists invested in the training and which did not. Yours obviously did not.

There were several mistakes made here. First, dental bonding can, in fact, be replaced. She likely just said that because she did not know how. Second, if you were anticipating doing teeth whitening, she should have had you do it before having the porcelain veneer done so you could get a more accurate match. Porcelain veneers are much more precise than teeth whitening. Finally, her bonding was off. In my opinion, she must have known that, otherwise why didn’t she show off the result to you when she finished? A dental office without mirrors? I doubt it.

It is much easier to seat a crown on a tooth. You just slip it on. A porcelain veneer has to be carefully positioned and then cured into place. Somewhere there, she messed up. Rather than admit it, she tells you it looks great. That is not cool. Not cool at all. An ethical dentist would have admitted their mistake. But, no, she was willing to let you go on with a protruded veneer that makes you look weird and puts you at risk of decay.

Now, every dentist has probably seated a veneer incorrectly at one point or another. The problem is not the mistake, it is how she responded to it. If the only thing wrong with the veneer was the length, then she could just have trimmed it. She didn’t even offer that, because she knew the problems here were more substantial and the entire veneer needed to be re-done.

In cases where a skilled, ethical cosmetic dentist has this problem, they would tell you what happened, show you the result, then schedule for you to come back at your earliest convenience to have it redone.

Getting this Porcelain Veneer Done Right

What you will need to do is go to an expert cosmetic dentist and have them document with photographs the problems with this tooth. Look for either an AACD accredited dentist or one recommended on the mynewsmile.com website. Both sets are expert cosmetic dentists. They can arm you with what you need to secure a refund. Then, have the true cosmetic dentist fix this tooth in a way that is beautiful.

This blog is brought to you by Boston Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.