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Unhappy with Porcelain Veneers

I’m a little frustrated. My daughter had a bicycle accident when she was younger and it knocked her tooth crooked. We originally wanted to get her teeth straightened but the orthodontist told us the ligament damage would make that a bad idea. So, we opted for porcelain veneers when she got older. We went to see a dentist who said he was a cosmetic specialist and had six porcelain veneers placed. We never really got to see them on her before he cemented them on. Neither of us likes how they look. Plus, they’re too big for her mouth and look bulky as well. Is there anything we can do about this? Would the dentist be obligated to make them pretty?

Penny

Dear Penny,

Woman covering her mouth

It is a horrible feeling when our children are embarrassed by their smile. Normally, when getting a smile makeover the dental board will only consider whether or not the work is functional. If it is, then it would be up to the dentist’s personal ethics to do something about this. However, somethings you’ve mentioned regarding your daughter’s porcelain veneers make me wonder if you might have some more leverage here.

There is No Such Thing as a Recognized Specialty in Cosmetic Dentistry

Did the dentist tell you he was a specialist? There isn’t such a thing as a recognized specialty. If that’s the case he misrepresented himself which could work in your favor. Any general dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist if they do any type of cosmetic work, but there isn’t a specialty. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t require special training. Unfortunately for the patients, it is up to the dentist how much, if any, training they get. Smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. They have to invest in post-doctoral training on their own to develop the knowledge, technical skills, and artistry necessary.

Another thing you mentioned which has me wondering is that they are too big for her mouth. If it causes one of two problems, this will mean they aren’t actually functional. The first problem could be speech-related. Maybe she’s having trouble forming certain letters or sounds that weren’t a problem before.

Another problem with her porcelain veneers being too big could be dry mouth. If she’s having trouble keeping her mouth closed naturally, it will dry up the saliva in her mouth. Our saliva is an invaluable tool in our fight against decay. It contains key minerals which fight bacteria. If her mouth is dry as a result of her veneers, then you have a great case to get this made right.

Getting Her Porcelain Veneers Done Correctly

The first thing I’d do is just ask for a refund. You paid for a beautiful smile. You should get one. If he says no, then you’ll have to get another cosmetic dentist on your side. Sometimes, a dentist will listen to a peer when they won’t listen to a patient. I recommend you see an expert cosmetic dentist. Without a specialty, how will you know who is an expert and who isn’t?

The easiest way to do that is to see an AACD accredited dentist. You can find them on aacd.com. These dentists are proven for both their skill and artistry. The accreditation program requires them to pass rigorous exams as well as provide visual evidence of their artistry on a large number of cases they’ve done.

If they agree with you that the case needs to be re-done, it will be a huge help in you getting a refund so this can be done properly.

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