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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?


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.