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Why Did Her Dentist Stain Her Lumineers?

I recently went to the dentist about a smile makeover after I received an advertisement from him about Lumineers. I spoke with him extensively ahead of time about the type of smile I wanted. One of the requests was to have a very white smile. When the Lumineers were placed on my teeth I realized they were darker than I expected. When I questioned him about that he told me he ordered a stain on them so they’d look like natural teeth. He told me I’d realize he was right in a few days. After a few days, I called him back asking him if he could make them whiter. He had me come in and then he drilled off the outer layer to get to the white underneath, but it looks uneven and dull. What do I do?

Melody

Dear Melody,

I am glad you wrote. You are dealing with a family dentist who is in over his head trying to do cosmetic work he doesn’t have adequate training for. My first hint was when you said he advertised Lumineers.

This particular brand of porcelain veneers is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. They say this because the veneers are thinner than some other brands which in some cases means there doesn’t need to be any tooth preparation. Unfortunately, in most cases, they end up looking bulky.

A second thing that told me he was not an experienced cosmetic dentist was his attitude. In dental school, we are taught that we know better than their patients. This philosophy does not work with cosmetic dentistry. With smile makeovers, we are creating an image the patient has in their head. Their dream smile. He doesn’t get to tell you what you’ll like.

The stain is also something taught in general dentistry. Most people have at least some stained teeth so your dentist thought that to make your smile look natural he’d have to add one to yours. However, patients don’t pay to get a smile makeover that looks like every other smile. They want something that looks exceptional.

Finally, he bonded your Lumineers on before letting you see them on your teeth to approve them. Experienced cosmetic dentists will use a temporary try-in paste for you to see the smile makeover. If you don’t absolutely love it, instead of bonding it on, they will send it back to the lab to make any necessary changes.

Unfortunately, you can’t get a refund on a smile makeover just because it is ugly. The standard is function. In your case, this is good news. When he filed away the stain, he also took the protective glazing with it. Now they have no protection and will pick up stains quickly. You should be entitled to a refund because of this.

If he gives you a hard time, contact us again and I’ll tell you how to get a refund from a dentist.

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