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Angela saw my post, “Do porcelain veneers lose their shine?” and wrote the following comment, which deserves its own post to answer:
I don’t know why he wants shine. I just had my porcelain veneers installed and I HATE the shine. That’s how you can tell that those teeth are fake, they have this crazy unnatural shine and spoil every picture. Is it possible to REDUCE shine? Is there anything I can do to make them shine less. Its a blinding shine that looks awful , real teeth don’t shine like that.
Thanks for a great comment. It opens up an opportunity to discuss an important aspect of a smile makeover that isn’t often discussed, and that is the shine and texture of the surface.
The glaze on the porcelain is very important. That’s what gives the porcelain it’s excellent stain resistance and gives the porcelain its natural sparkle that makes it look so real. But it needs to be applied correctly. In order for it to look lifelike, there has to be some texture. It sounds like what you have is a very flat surface on your porcelain veneers, and that will generally look fake.
Here is a photograph of someone’s smile. Three of these teeth are real and one, the lateral incisor on the right, is a crown.
Notice that the surface of the teeth, while it is shiny, is irregular. This gives the teeth a sparkle, and is one of the characteristics of a beautiful, natural smile. And the amount of texture can be varied to create different impressions. Younger smiles tend to have more texture. As we get older, the teeth wear down and so have less texture on the surface.
But let’s go to your case, Angela. It’s interesting that you say that you just had these porcelain veneers bonded on and you hate them. That will never happen with an excellent cosmetic dentist. I talk with many expert cosmetic dentists and I ask them about the try-in procedure, and every one of them tells me how important it is to them that the patient love the new smile before they bond it on. Even if the patient says they like the veneers but they’re just lukewarm about it, an excellent cosmetic dentist will ask why and, if necessary, will send the case back to the laboratory to be re-done until the patient is enthusiastic about them. That clearly never happened in your case.
You say you want to reduce the shine. There are ways to do that. The quickest way is to have a dental hygienist use a Prophy Jet to polish them. This applies a powerful sodium bicarbonate spray to the teeth and will destroy the glaze from the porcelain. But then your veneers will readily attract stain, and, without the natural texture, they still won’t look natural.
My advice would be to go back to your dentist and see if you can talk him or her into re-doing them. You paid for a beautiful smile—that’s what you should get. And insist that you get to see them temporarily placed on your teeth and that you approve of them before letting the dentist bond them on.
– Dr. Hall
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. 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 advanced internet marketing for dentists.