I damaged a few teeth recently after an accident, and after whitening the teeth, I am now thinking about a few veneers. I have heard MAC veneers are the best looking veneers available at the moment. Also they are twice as strong and there is slightly less drilling on your tooth enamel before placement, compared with other traditional style veneers. Is this all true? I would much appreciate an unbiased opinion on these, thanks.
– Oliver in the UK
It is not accurate to say that the best porcelain veneers are MAC veneers or any other type of veneers. Just as, when you’re building a house you pick the contractor, not the lumber company. For a smile makeover, you need to pick the cosmetic dentist, not the lab.
MAC veneers are nothing more than veneers made by Microdental Laboratories, which is a large dental laboratory in California that specializes in very aesthetic ceramic work using pressed ceramics. They’re an excellent lab, but only a small percentage of great cosmetic dentists use them. In the hands of a great cosmetic dentist, MAC veneers are beautiful veneers, but in the hands of an amateur, they’re not — they could be terrible. And there are many great porcelain veneer laboratory technicians. They’re not all at Microdental Laboratories. And Microdental has a variety of lab technicians. Some of them are wonderful, but some of them aren’t so wonderful. And the very best laboratory technicians are not at Microdental. Usually they operate on their own with a very limited clientele of great cosmetic dentists who pay them very well. Some great technicians work for only one cosmetic dentist. The lab technician and the dentist are a team. And to rise to the top, they need to work together for a while. There are understandings and ways of communicating that develop. The dentist prepares the case and communicates to the technician what needs to be done, and the technician translates that into a smile makeover. The best technician in the world cannot make up for mistakes that the dentist makes. The dentist communicates the color requirements, the opacity needed, the shape requirements, and gives the technician a model to work with. If the teeth haven’t been prepared correctly, the technician simply cannot make up for that.You’re making a big mistake if you’re going to a cosmetic dentist with a particular brand of porcelain in mind, or a particular lab. If you go in and tell your dentist you want such and such a material or such and such a lab, you’re going to do two things:
1) You’re going to strain your doctor patient relationship. And to get a beautiful smile, you need a great relationship. Remember that a great cosmetic dentist is an artist. He or she needs your trust in order to perform at a high level.
2) You’re possibly going to be pushing your cosmetic dentist out of his or her comfort zone if YOU prescribe the material or the lab. Again, cosmetic dentistry is an art. As an artist, the cosmetic dentist is very passionate about how beautiful it looks. He or she will choose the materials he or she likes to work with. Once he or she becomes comfortable with that material, the results will be beautiful. And he or she will have a great working relationship with a laboratory ceramist, and they work as a team. So my advice is to pick the cosmetic dentist. Don’t pick the material or the lab. Get a cosmetic dentist you can trust, and then give him or her the latitude to use the material they are most comfortable with in doing your case.
And pick an EXPERT cosmetic dentist. That is the most important thing I can tell you, if your goal is a beautiful smile. Generally, the people who are attracted to dentistry are people who like to fix things, and they think like engineers and have a technician mentality. The cosmetic dentists we list on www.mynewsmile.com are very different. We carefully screen them before we list them so we know they do beautiful work. And they’re artists. Yes, they have to master the materials in order to do beautiful work, so they have to be technically very proficient. But they have an artistic temperament. They love to create, where the other 99% of dentists love to repair. Oh, you look in the phone book, and MOST of the dentists there will claim to be cosmetic dentists, at least in the States this is the case — I don’t know what it is in the UK. And in their minds they do beautiful work. But their concept of a beautiful smile isn’t in the same league as a true artist-dentist would be.
Most great cosmetic dentists will have a particular master ceramist and they will have a long and deep relationship where they understand each other and work as a team to produce beautiful work.
And MAC veneers actually require a little more drilling on the teeth than other types of porcelain veneers, not less. For the record.
I hope this is helpful.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. 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 advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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