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

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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.

January 5, 2012

Opaque, bulky veneers from a dentist we recommended. Uh-oh!

I had an e-mail exchange from one of our visitors. Her name is Robin, and I’m not even going to say the part of the country she is from, because of the sensitive nature of what I did and what I told her. You can read her initial question and my initial response on my post: A $30,000 cosmetic dentistry blunder.

Here’s what she wrote back, which really surprised me:

Dr. Hall,
Thank you so much for responding to my question. I don’t do Facebook, but I would be happy to write a very positive review for you if you will tell me where to do it.

The dentist who did my dental work is actually on your recommended list, although I did not find your site until after the work was completed. I will happily check out your other recommendations. Thank you for taking the time to help me.
– Robin

After getting this I wrote back to her and asked her to identify the dentist that did her work, she responded to that with the following additional information:

Yes. I want to be fair, so I’ll tell you that I sought a second opinion from a periodontist because [Dr. Unnamed] stated that the brown margins are visible due to gum recession. This did not make sense to me because my gums are in most excellent condition by all accounts. I am told this at every check up. The hygienists tell me with amazement that I have no bleeding and that my home care is excellent. [Dr. Undisclosed], a periodontist, confirmed this as she said “Wow. These are really good numbers.” She also said the veneers fit very well. Yes, I guess they fit well, but they look bulky, opaque and lifeless. I was so disappointed from the moment I first saw them. I don’t want to suggest that [Dr. Unnamed] is an incompetent dentist. He is just not an artist.

I also saw [Dr. Anonymous – another cosmetic dentist we recommend in her state]. His opinion is that I should have them redone, as he thought they look lifeless.
– Robin

This was my response to that:
Generally, there are a lot of general criteria for whether or not I recommend a specific cosmetic dentist, and those criteria are lumped together, weighed, and I make a judgment call on the ability of the dentist. But there is one absolute, and that is that they have to listen and they can’t seat a case without the patient loving it. [Dr. Unnamed] has a lot of beautiful cases to show off. But an excellent cosmetic dentist will always try in a case and make sure it meets the patient’s expectations, and even if the patient doesn’t really object and the only clue to their dissatisfaction is the tone in their voice, I would expect the dentist to stop right there, find out why the patient is hesitating or not enthusiastic about the work, and send it back to the lab to fix whatever the issue is. If a dentist doesn’t do this, I don’t want to list them. Seating a case in the face of patient misgivings is a big “no-no.” I didn’t want to say this up front for fear you might be alarmed and out of niceness would then not tell me your complete, honest opinion. But I am going to pull his listing. I list these dentists with my personal recommendation, and it’s an embarrassment to me, a stain on my reputation, and a disservice to the patient to not have the dentist measure up to the expectations I create.

About the gum recession and gum disease – recession is one thing and pockets and bleeding are another. You can have very healthy gums with no bleeding and still have recession. There is a way to tell if the upper front teeth are vulnerable to recession, and placing a case where the bone and the gums are healthy but thin can provoke recession if the dentist isn’t extremely careful. So maybe this is what happened if the margins weren’t showing when the case was first placed but they are showing now.

[I’m embarrassed and a little nervous about taking the risk of being so open with our readers, but at the same time I wanted to let you know that I take seriously the responsibility of recommending the dentists I recommend. I made a mistake in listing this particular dentist and I feel bad about it. But this sort of thing hasn’t happened before, and hopefully it won’t happen again.]



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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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