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I had extensive bonding on teeth to improve some wear and chips. I hated it as it felt bulky and I couldn’t speak properly. I had it removed but my teeth have been left patchy and discoloured. My dentist and the one she referred me to for another opinion both tell me it’s my natural teeth and I just hadn’t seen it before. I’m devastated as feel my teeth have been damaged.
– Marie from the UK
I can’t fully tell what has happened to you without seeing your case personally, but I can make a good guess based on what you are telling me.
It sounds like you are in the hands of a basic general dentist who doesn’t know enough about cosmetic dentistry to give you a beautiful smile, and there are two things that were done wrong.
The first is that your bonding made your teeth bulky, so much so that it interfered with your speech. Dental bonding should never add significantly to the bulk of the teeth. That doesn’t produce an attractive appearance, plus it can interfere with speech, and it could create food traps that can lead to either tooth decay or gum disease. I don’t understand, if you’re just dealing with wear and chips, why you would need any bulk at all added to your teeth—the dentist should be able to just fill in the chips and replace tooth structure that has worn away. Look at the photographs of dental bonding work on this website. None of them look bulky at all.
The second mistake was in removing the bonding. While some dentists who lack confidence in their cosmetic dentistry skills will tell patients that dental bonding is a reversible procedure because it can simply be ground off if you decide you don’t like it, that may not be as easy as it sounds, especially in the hands of a basic general dentist. So the dentist starts grinding off the composite bonding and stops when he or she hits the enamel. But the composite looks just like the enamel, so how do they know when it stops? In this process, it is very easy to believe that your dentist may have removed a small amount of the enamel of your teeth. I don’t know—I’m just guessing. But you clearly know that they don’t look the same as they did. Of course she’s going to want to tell you that this is how your teeth were. And as far as the dentist she referred you to, there is no way for that dentist to tell you how your teeth used to look or whether any enamel was removed. Your complaint is very credible to me. If your teeth were always splotchy, that would have been your chief complaint and the reason you got the bonding, and you would certainly know it.
A good cosmetic dentist would have taken “before” photographs, and there would be no argument then about how your teeth looked before the work was started.
So what do you do now? I would go to an expert cosmetic dentist and either have this bonding done correctly or go with porcelain veneers, which will be the much more durable and cost-effective alternative. You should be able to get a beautiful smile out of this. We have an excellent cosmetic dentist listed in London, and I see by the city you mentioned that you are just outside of London. He should be able to take care of this for you.
I think your leverage for a claim against your current dentist is rather weak, because of the lack of documentation of what you are saying. Maybe you can get some kind of refund from her, but it seems to me that this would be entirely voluntary on her part.
– Dr. Hall
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