Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

August 10, 2017

This cosmetic bonding went bad


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Dear Dr. Hall,

I recently had four of my front teeth bonded. My two very front teeth overlapped one another slightly and the dentist ground down both of them. The lateral teeth were set back in my mouth, and those are filled out to make it look more like a normal arc. My teeth are very uncomfortable and sharp feeling inside where he did the grinding down of the teeth. In other words, he “sacrificed” the one front tooth by grinding down the side of it in order to make the other front tooth look straighter. In addition, he also made the teeth a shade that is yellowish to “blend in”, no matter how much I protested. I have had such terrible regrets about doing this. I wish I could go back to the way my teeth were before the work because they were still intact and not damaged as they are now. I know there is no going back but would love your opinion on my options at this point. I have also had a problem at the gum line for a couple of years now, with there being a gap that has had to be bonded a couple of times before this work was done. I went with the bonding because I did not want to do anything drastic, but in fact that is what I had happen. I would like my teeth to be whiter and also not have that “damaged” feel to the back and sides of them. They were ground down quite a bit. I am very upset and this dentist is very difficult to deal with. I know this is rambling but if you have any advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time and assistance.

Sincerely,
Alani from Washington

Alani,
Your explanation of what happened is clear enough that I can help you with what to do from here.

This type of cosmetic bonding work is really beyond the ability of, I would estimate, 98% of general family dentists. It requires some artistic sensitivity, stocking a variety of dental bonding materials beyond the ordinary inventory that most dentists have on hand, and a fair amount of training and experience beyond dental school in shaping, coloring, and polishing the dental bonding materials, besides the shaping of the teeth.

I would need a photograph to see exactly what went wrong here, but I can tell enough to be able to say, with a fair level of confidence, that you aren’t going to get a pleasing result from this dentist. This is not to disparage him. I imagine he did the best he could and the work is probably up to the standard of care for general dentists. Your case was just over his head.

The good news is that there are a couple of excellent cosmetic dentists in Washington who are not too far from you. Go into our find a cosmetic dentist directory, type in your zip code, and it will pull up the recommended cosmetic dentists near you, either of which I’m confident could get you an attractive, comfortable result.
– 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.

August 31, 2015

Dentist got the tooth bonding color wrong, doesn’t want to fix it

Dr. Hall,

I would like to send photos of what we consider is a bonding error. My granddaughter (25 years old) had a gap fixed between her two front teeth, and then had her lateral incisors bonded to make them a little larger. She immediately remarked on the color difference between her front teeth and her lateral incisors. But the dentist then told her, “The color difference was to match your eye teeth.” But then later he told me on the phone that he used the same material on all her teeth. So these are two different stories. The central incisors look fine and the color looks fine, but he told my granddaughter that he used a darker color on her lateral incisors to match the eye teeth, but he told me he used the same color.
He now wants further payment for a correction. He says to try whitening toothpaste too. I already paid $350 for whitening by tray and gel, and $900 for the bonding work. Her lateral incisors are a definitive blue/grey.
Where can I send pictures?
Thanks
John from Ontario

(Note – John then sent these photos of his granddaughter’s teeth after I told him how to send them)

before dental bonding errorBefore dental bonding[/caption]

dental bonding error - color mismatchAfter dental bonding error showing color mismarch.[/caption]

You can see in the after photo that the lateral incisors look substantially darker than the centrals.

Dear John,

Actually, truth be told, the lateral incisors should be slightly LIGHTER than the central incisors—just slightly, and then the canine teeth are darker, in a natural smile. I think this dentist knows that, which makes it seem like he is trying to make excuses. So my answer is, yes, this is a dental bonding error, a cosmetic dentistry mistake. The teeth look fake and her smile doesn’t look natural. And you didn’t ask about the shaping of these two lateral incisors, but that looks off, too. The tooth color error is particularly noticeable and makes the case unacceptable, in my opinion. Like you said, they’re kind of a gray putty color and are actually darker than even the canine teeth.
But then the next question is what do you do about this. You say that you’re okay with the work that was done on the central incisors. It looks like there was a chip in one of the centrals that he must have fixed and a gap between the two central incisors that he also closed. That much looks okay to me, thought the photo is a little fuzzy.
There are two directions to take in trying to get some satisfaction from this dentist. You can ask that he fix it himself, or you can ask that he pay to have someone else do it right. Generally it is better, when you’re talking about cosmetic dentistry, to forget about trying to turn the first dentist into an artist. That just doesn’t happen. So I usually recommend getting someone else who can do it right and getting some compensation from the first dentist to cover those costs. But in this case it looks like he maybe did okay on fixing the central incisors (though the photo isn’t as sharp as I would like). And while the shaping of the laterals isn’t great, you seem satisfied with that and are only concerned about the color.
You’re welcome to take this dentist my email here. I would recommend not being confrontational. Like I said, it appears that he did a nice job on the central incisors. See if you can get him to agree to re-do the bonding on the laterals. Bleaching isn’t going to work. Toothpaste isn’t going to work. I kind of think he knows that, too. The color is embedded in the bonding, and it needs to be removed and replaced with a lighter color. It needs to closely match the central incisors, maybe just a teeny tad lighter.
And then, of course, this needs to be at his expense. You paid to have a nice smile, and you haven’t gotten it yet. He should make good on the work.

Dr. Hall

Read more about fixing a discolored tooth from a root canal treatment.

Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

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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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