Porcelain Veneers for Discolored Teeth

Dr. Hall:

My teeth are a little crooked and discolored by smoking, coffee etc. I had been looking into Cerinate porcelain veneers and I went to see a dentist about them, he started saying how we needed to do several other procedures and then teeth whitening, however, I have had to have several composite fillings and know that teeth whitening will not work on composite fillings, I really feel that the porcelain veneers would be perfect but he acted like they would not work on my teeth. Would it be better to have all my filings redone and then get my teeth whitened or should I try to get veneers?

—Julie from Oklahoma

Dear Julie,

Porcelain veneers are an excellent treatment when your teeth are a little crooked and discolored. I think that your dentist is giving you a signal that he isn’t comfortable doing porcelain veneers. You see, most dentists are trained to fix things that are broken. They have strong “technician” inclinations, and aren’t that interested in creating beautiful teeth. And cosmetic dentistry requires a lot of specialized training.

We’re trained in dental school not to ever let a patient see that we are uncomfortable with a procedure we’re doing. It causes the patient to be uneasy and anxious. So, when you’re trying to push a dentist out of his or her comfort zone, their answer will often be that this procedure just won’t work well for you.

Now, doing fillings and tooth whitening works well, too. It depends on what you want. A good cosmetic dentist will listen carefully to what you want and then explain what treatments can be done to get the results you’re wanting. If you want your teeth to look straight, you either need porcelain veneers or invisible braces, or regular braces. With invisible braces, you can whiten your teeth with the clear trays that are used at the same time you’re straightening them. But if you’re willing to live with them being a little crooked, you can just get your teeth whitened.

You may want to read our page about how it is done when you both whiten and need fillings.

And after whitening, you have to wait about two weeks to see what the final color of your teeth is.

I hope this is helpful.

—Dr. David Hall

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