Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

September 19, 2015

I have a bad feeling about how these Lumineers are going to turn out


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Dr. Hall,
My husband and I went to a local dentist who advertised cosmetic dentistry. We wanted Lumineers. Our teeth were prepped and impressions were taken. She told us the veneers would arrive in 2 weeks. Exactly 2 weeks later the dentist called and told us that the lab had called, there was a problem with the impressions, and that we needed to return to have the impressions redone. My question: is this common? We paid upfront so they have our money. Your thoughts will be so helpful as we are a bit anxious. Thank you so much.
—Didi from California

I’m a little concerned over your situation.

That is not a big deal, to have the first impression not work out and to have to take another impression when you’re having laboratory work done. That happens in the best dental offices from time to time. And I’m confident you’ll get your Lumineers.

What concerns me about your case is what I’m reading between the lines. Admittedly, I’m doing a little guesswork, but this is informed guesswork. And I have some advice for you on how to handle this. It appears that you are dealing with a dentist who may not know what she is doing. I’m drawing this conclusion from the time delay in discovering that the first impressions were inadequate and that this information had to come from the lab.

Knowing what goes on behind the scenes with these things, here’s what appears to have happened. The dentist sent the case to the dental laboratory. The laboratory began working with them and realized that there was a fatal flaw in both impressions. They then called your dentist and told him that. Your dentist would likely resist, because this is embarrassing to have to tell a patient that they need to come back for new impressions, so the flaw must be serious enough to make the case unworkable. The problem is that the dentist didn’t recognize the problem herself, but had to be told. And it wasn’t just one of the cases, but both of them. Added to that is the fact that these are Lumineers, not another brand of porcelain veneers, and Lumineers tend to attract novice cosmetic dentists.

Here’s what I recommend that you do to protect yourselves. Insist that before the Lumineers are bonded to your teeth that they be placed with try-in paste. Insist on this. If your dentist doesn’t have any try-in paste, tell her to get some, because you need to have a good look at these on your teeth and be sure that you are happy with them. If you have any hesitation at all, backing out before they are bonded onto your teeth is comparatively simple. They can always be sent back to the lab to be re-worked or even re-made. And if your dentist can’t put them in with try-in paste, or if she can and you’re not happy with how they look, you can easily switch dentists if it’s before they’re bonded. By the dental code of ethics, enforced by the dental board, your dentist has to cooperate fully if you want to switch dentists, even if it is in the middle of a procedure like this. She would have to forward the models and Lumineers to another dentist. And if it comes to that, let me help you find an expert cosmetic dentist who will be sure that your case turns out looking good.

And don’t accept any excuses here. I have all kinds of stories in my files of patients who had try-ins like this and they didn’t like how they looked, and the dentist pressured them to having them bonded saying that once they got bonded permanently they would look better. Or they would look better in a couple of weeks. Or the patient would get used to them and learn to love them. Don’t buy any of these lines.

Try-in pastes for Lumineers or other brands of porcelain veneers are water-soluble gels that will hold the Lumineers on the teeth very loosely–not firmly enough so that you could wear them out of the office, but enough so that you could stand upright and look at yourself in a mirror. As I said, you and your husband need a good look at these before they’re bonded on, and if your dentist can’t do this for you, then you can find a dentist who can.

Now there are other possibilities for what has happened here. It’s possible that the impressions were damaged or lost after being sent to the lab. Or it could be something else. But I would still insist on the try-in based on this suspicion that we’re dealing with a novice. Excellent cosmetic dentists will all do this and if you have any hesitation about how the smile makeover looks, they will insist on fixing it before they are bonded on. Do a search on “beautiful smile guarantee,” and you’ll find the websites of a number of dentists we have advised about this and will learn how each of them has a variation of this same practice. They will try on the veneers before they’re bonded, and if you don’t love them, they will adjust them or even re-make them until you do and then bond them on. And maybe this is what your dentist was planning on doing all along. But if not, you still have a right to insist on this.

I hope this is helpful.
Dr. Hall

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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.

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