Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

February 27, 2018

Another porcelain veneer horror story

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Hello Dr. Hall,
I have had 6 veneers done on my top teeth. They are too bulky and not natural looking.

When I first started the process I was very clear with the lab and the dentist what I wanted. He sent back the first set because they were too bulky yet continued to use the same lab. At this point most of this was paid for so it wasn’t like I could have just gone somewhere else. It was all very rushed. There was no style guide whatsoever provided either. I really tried to be patient and put my trust in this dentist professionally. He was nice and everything but that is totally irrelevant.

The day of the cementing I was totally stressed with this whole process and when they held up the veneers for me to see they kept falling out making it impossible to make a proper judgment call. I was unsure about it but they kept telling me that they could make adjustments after. Which was untrue. They were not able to, hence me reaching out to you.

I have tried for the last month or so to get a hold of the dentist, asking for a refund and I’m being avoided it seems. Any advice would be so appreciated, how do I get my refund? I’ve cried so much over this, literally. It’s my teeth not a haircut—teeth don’t grow back after all.
– Leanne from Toronto, Ontario

Your basic problem is that the vast majority of dentists, while they may know in theory how to place porcelain veneers, don’t have the artistic inclinations to do a smile makeover. At the same time, most dental laboratories, while they know the mechanics of making the porcelain veneers, don’t know enough about the artistic aspects of the work to do a smile makeover.

So you go in to this dentist and you say you want porcelain veneers, and he thinks he can do this and thinks his regular dental lab that he uses for crowns can do this. When the first set came back completely inadequate, he’s not going to sour this long-standing relationship with the lab by demanding a refund and switching labs.

Every excellent cosmetic dentist has had a first smile makeover. I had mine, and I will tell you honestly that I wasn’t proud of how it turned out. But I have learned over the years in talking with hundreds of cosmetic dentists that the excellent cosmetic dentists have a fundamental difference in attitude in that they will not be satisfied unless the patient is excited with the result, and they will go through whatever expense or work they have to until the result is beautiful and makes the patient happy. You will never have what happened to you, where they pressure you to accept the result. In my case, my first smile makeover patient was borderline satisfied with the result and didn’t object to my bonding the veneers. But the teeth didn’t have any sparkle, and when she came back for a checkup I told her that her results weren’t good enough, that I didn’t want a mediocre smile out there attributed to me, and I re-did them with a different lab completely at my expense. I have learned since that this is what all of the really good cosmetic dentists will do.

So your dentist, because he lacked this commitment to your satisfaction, either didn’t bother to learn about try-in pastes or decided to skip that step so that you weren’t able to see for yourself how this would turn out before they were bonded. And now, rather than wanting to fix it, he doesn’t want to be bothered.

To get satisfaction and to hopefully get a refund, you’re going to need to get an excellent cosmetic dentist on your side. We’re a little thin on recommended cosmetic dentists in the Toronto area, but we do have Dr. Goodlin there. I would go to him for an opinion, and see if he will work with you to try to get a refund from your dentist. A call from one dentist to another can be very persuasive. Your legal leverage in this case, unfortunately, isn’t that great if the veneers have stayed on and are functionally okay. Your dentist has probably met those two standards, which is how the profession at large will judge your case. Your best point to make, legally, is that you were pressured to have the veneers bonded on against your will with false promises. If you have to go to a lawyer to get enough pressure on this dentist to refund your money, that is the point your would want to make.

I wish you well and hope you end up getting the beautiful smile you thought you paid for. And a tip for others in your situation—even though you have paid for the work, you can switch to another dentist at any point. A dentist is ethically obligated to help facilitate that change, for whatever reason you feel you need to switch.
– Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment or a question or anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.


  1. I agree with Dr. Hall. We see lots of dentists who treat cosmetic work just like a filling or a standard procedure. It’s kind of like getting an Italian sports car serviced at a quick service oil change shop or getting plastic surgery from your family physician. Better to go to a specialist.

    Comment by Brian H. — February 28, 2018 @ 8:57 am

  2. I wonder if because he lied and said they could be adjusted after they were bonded on gives her more legal leverage?

    Comment by Annmarie — February 18, 2019 @ 3:51 pm

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