I recently had a broken veneer replaced. Initially, when the veneer came back from the lab it was a little too light. It was sent back to the lab and the technician baked a glaze onto the veneer making it darker. The dentist was then able to remove glaze as needed in order to achieve the desired shade. Everything looked fine, so we bonded the tooth in place and I was on my way.
However, after seeing the tooth in the sun it still appears a little too dark. My question is, can I return to the dentist and have them remove more of the glaze to lighten the tooth, despite it being bonded already?
David from Georgia.
Hello again Dr. Hall, I just emailed you about the shade of my replacement veneer. The case where a glaze was applied to a veneer that came back from the lab a bit too white and then polished off until the desired shade was achieved. I forgot to add that the veneer appears somewhat less glossy than the other veneers. Could this be a result of polishing the glaze off to change the shade?
Thanks for your time. Sincerely,
David from Georgia
I do hope you’re in the hands of an expert cosmetic dentist. When you’re replacing one veneer, manipulating the color is very tricky and it requires special training and artistic sensitivity.
I am worried that your dentist isn’t as expert in this as might be needed for a job like this. Let me recap what has happened and explain what I would have done differently. You went to get the veneer replaced, and when there was difficulty with the first attempt at matching the shade, the technician baked some tint onto the surface of the veneer, and then the dentist polished some of the tint off until the veneer was the correct color. This is an okay technique, though not the best way to get that final match. In my office, I would have sent a photograph of the shade discrepancy back to the lab and a careful description of the color, and tried to nail the color, and maybe done a couple more trips back and forth to the lab to get it perfect. And my fee for a single front tooth was a little higher, because I would routinely expect at least two or three try ins, and I would keep at the task until the match was perfect. Any final manipulation chairside I would have done with tints UNDER the veneer. That is the way I think most expert cosmetic dentists would approach this task. The way your dentist did this makes me think he or she wasn’t familiar with this tinting process or doesn’t stock any of these tints that expert cosmetic dentists use. The problem with the way it was done is that as time goes on and if anything happens to this veneer, such as a hygienist that doesn’t understand porcelain chemistry giving you an acidulated fluoride treatment, or using an inappropriate polish on this veneer, it could abrade away more of the tint and change the color further.
But anyway, getting back to your two problems. One is that this veneer isn’t as glossy now as the rest of them. To solve this, there are special diamond polishing wheels and polishing pastes that will bring the glaze back to porcelain. I’d ask your dentist to arrange to get some of these. Again, this is something that an expert cosmetic dentist will usually have in his or her armamentarium.
The second problem isn’t exactly that the color doesn’t match, it’s that the color match changes depending on the environment. This is called color metamerism. It appears, from what you’re telling me, that there are some differences it the materials between the replacement veneer and your original veneers, and under the artificial light of the dentist’s office they match, but in natural sunlight they don’t. Again, expert cosmetic dentists are familiar with these issues, and they will either double check any critical shade matches next to a window, or they will have special color-correct fluorescent light fixtures in their office. Yes, you can go back and have your dentist polish away more of the tint to brighten your veneer a little more, but be careful, because then in artifical light it may not match. I think in your case, I would err on the side of matching in artificial light, because over time this new veneer may get lighter anyway, and if it doesn’t, you can always have it polished more later.
I hope this is helpful.
And this whole issue just underscores the main theme of this website. Use an expert cosmetic dentist, such as I recommend on this website, for these smile makeovers – not your family dentist or a dentist who SAYS he or she is a cosmetic dentist. There are so many skills required to do this work well, and 98% of dentists simply don’t have them.
David from Georgia had a follow-up question two days later, about completely re-doing this veneer. Read his question and my response.