Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

May 3, 2017

A victim of shoddy dental work in Croatia


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Dr. Hall,
I had $60,000 worth of dental work done in Croatia for $11,000. It was a great deal until the veneers are starting to fall off. That was in September 2015. I have a 10-yr warranty so I will be going back in September for hopefully permanent repairs.

I was eating a piece of chocolate cake in March when the veneer to the left of my front tooth popped off intact. A week later eating spaghetti the other one on the side of the front tooth fell off. Today after eating spaghetti one of the front teeth popped off. I had all on 6 done on the upper and an implant and replacement crowns on the bottom. I don’t think this should have happened.

I thought we got porcelain and I have not been eating with my front teeth, I cut everything up as instructed. My husband and I are baffled why it is not very strong. Will they have to re do my entire upper teeth or will they glue this back on? I can’t have anyone else touch it as it is under warranty so now I am gluing them on with Polident which lasts 3 hrs. I am so bummed out 4 months before I can get them fixed. Thanks for any insight.

– Cindy from US Virgin Islands

Cindy,
When they told you not to eat with your front teeth, that’s a big red flag. Properly bonded, you should be able to eat anything you want. Your dentist’s instructions remind me of what one patient told me – that her dentist told her that her porcelain veneers would come off every few months. A dentist who is placing these correctly wouldn’t put any of these restrictions on your activities.

I wouldn’t have any reason to believe that if they didn’t know the right way to bond on porcelain veneers in 2015, why they would know now and do it right. Why are you going back to these people?

Knowing that they didn’t know how to do porcelain veneers right, I would question all of the work they did for you–the dental implant and the crowns. I would recommend a second opinion on all of it.

What to do about your smile for now? If the veneers are truly porcelain and if they have fallen off intact, an expert cosmetic dentist should be able to clean them up and get them bonded correctly. But this is beyond the knowledge and abilities of probably 95% of family dentists. You need a dentist with strong expertise in cosmetic dentistry bonding techniques, who knows how to etch the porcelain and bond it correctly. The cost for re-bonding these veneers should be relatively small. I would recommend going to one of the cosmetic dentists we recommend and having them fix this for you.

– 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.

April 7, 2016

A single porcelain veneer turning dark

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Hello Dr Hall-
My daughter has porcelain veneers on 8 upper and 6 lower front teeth. They were placed almost 2 years ago. She chipped the bottom of #9 (upper left front tooth) about 2 months after they were placed. The dentist “fixed” it by shortening the tooth (with the sander/buffer thing). This also necessitated buffing #8 to make them the same length. About 6 months later I felt like tooth 8 looked a little darker than the others so I had him look at it. He said he didn’t see it and I was being too picky and that he was “great at color” and couldn’t see what I was talking about. Fast forward several months … she now has a dark spot on the tooth as well as some weird bluish color on the tooth which happened practically overnight. She is freaking out that the tooth is going to fall off (she’s a college student out of state). Can you give us any kind of reassurance as to what might be going on and whether she can leave it for another 8 weeks until she is out of school for the year and gets home?
– Amy from Ohio

Amy,
I have good news and bad news for you.

First the bad news.

It really does sound like something is wrong with your daughter’s veneer on tooth #8, and while it seems like it will stay on until she is out of school, having it fall off is a very real risk.

But even after she gets home, it would be best to wait until it does fall off, as there is no way to just take it off without breaking it.

Leaking porcelain veneers

Leaking porcelain veneers would look something like this in the early stages. This is a set of temporary veneers that are leaking. Notice the bluish tinge.

But then the good news. If you could share with me where your daughter’s school is, I could see if I could find an expert cosmetic dentist who would take her in on short notice, as an aesthetic emergency, and get it re-bonded immediately. It should be a fairly quick, easy procedure. Tell her to resist the temptation to superglue the veneer back in place as that would risk ruining it.

leaking porcelain crown

This is a porcelain crown that is leaking, in a slightly more advanced stage. Notice the darker, grayish color concentrated near the margin.

If the appearance of the veneer continues to worsen to the point where it is unsightly, it should probably be ground off and replaced.

Is this a leaky porcelain veneer?

You didn’t share where this dark spot is showing up, or the bluish color. Not knowing anything more, my best guess is that the bond between the veneer and her tooth is failing, permitting substances to leak up under the veneer. If that’s the case, this can be totally fixed by rebonding this same veneer. I don’t think there is any connection between the shortening of this veneer and the spots appearing. The bond between tooth and veneer should be very strong and the vibration created by shortening the veneer shouldn’t have had any effect on it.

Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

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

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.

December 29, 2015

Another case of a porcelain veneer falling off

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Dr. Hall,
I had 5 porcelain veneers put on my front teeth 4 months ago. The one canine fell off in one piece after chewing on a piece of bread a week after it was permanently bonded. The tooth was extremely sensitive to air & I couldn’t tolerate the pain. The dentist said it fell off because my bite was off so he needed to shorten the veneer & the bottom tooth that slightly touched it. His defense was he didn’t see the issue before placing the veneer. He also said I didn’t need to be numb & proceeded onto rebonding it. The chemicals applied hurt so much I felt like dying, so I asked to be numbed before he could continue (same pain was experienced for bonding all other veneers.)

Today it has been 4 months later & that same veneer fell off while chewing a pancake. I felt the same intolerable sensitivity again. I asked the dentist why this happened when he said it would last 10 years? He replied because your bite is off so now we need to make it a full porcelain crown. I really don’t want to ruin my healthy natural tooth. Is it normal for the underlying tooth to be extremely painful w/the veneer falls off & should I be concerned about proceeding to a crown? He claims to have 1 year training in a cosmetic dentistry course & has 5 years experience in general dentistry. Please help I’m so stressed & afraid to bite w/the other front teeth.
– Kelly from Texas

(Note – I asked Kelly to tell me the name of her dentist so I could do a little research on him, but I won’t mention the name here.)

Kelly,
I think you should find another dentist—an expert cosmetic dentist—to put this veneer on right.
Your dentist claims to have a one-year training course in cosmetic dentistry. I think what he must be referring to is his General Practice Residency. It’s a stretch to call that training in cosmetic dentistry. Yes, it’s advanced training, but it’s in general dentistry.

He says that the veneer came off because your bite was off on that tooth. Now I can’t tell you anything about your bite from here, but the explanation doesn’t fully cut it, especially since it came off a second time after he adjusted your bite.

A properly bonded porcelain veneer will chip or crack before it will pop off. So there had to be something not quite right with the bonding. And then re-bonding a porcelain veneer is advanced cosmetic dentistry and I’m skeptical, after researching his credentials, that your dentist has the training to do that.

If you have the veneer, it should be a fairly straightforward and quick procedure for a dentist who knows what he or she is doing to rebond it. I can recommend someone close to you who can do this for you. Don’t let him turn this into a porcelain crown—that is way more aggressive than you need.

On the sensitivity, that doesn’t surprise me. Your dentist may have prepared your tooth deeper than usual, which leaves you with exposed dentin when your porcelain veneer falls off, which would make it quite sensitive. But even a tooth with a shallow veneer preparation can in some patients be quite sensitive.

Good luck,
Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

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

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 14, 2015

My front teeth are darkening under my veneers

My Lumineers are 7-8 years old. Originally I had them on 16 teeth. At the time I had the money….there is no way I could afford this now. Soon after I had them put on by a dentist in Kona, Hawaii, I moved to Austin, Texas and they began to fall off. Two fell off and I paid to have them reinstalled. I told the dentist in Hawaii, and he ended up (after many letters and threats of legal action) sending me a very small refund so I could pay the dentist in Austin. The veneers had also begun to darken/no fit well at the gum line, making me self conscious more and more as time goes on. Since then no further veneers have fallen off, but over the past year I have noticed my front teeth darkening UNDER the veneers, one more than the other. I am afraid that I will need to have them removed and replaced and I definitely don’t have the money to do that. Interestingly, when I first chose the color of my new teeth I nearly chose a darker color to look more natural…as they seemed nearly too WHITE. But now they seem far darker…..I’m not flashing as white as my friends with natural teeth. Anyway….scared and disappointed I guess. Need advice on how to deal with the darkening teeth.
– Debbie from Texas

Debbie,
You’re right that the veneers will now need to be replaced. They are leaking, and the problem isn’t just the color, but when dental work leaks, the next step is that it begins to decay. When stain can leak in, bacteria also leak in.

It doesn’t sound to me like either dentist, the one in Hawaii or the one in Austin, knew enough to do this right. They weren’t bonded right in the first place, as you now understand. But very few dentists know how to re-bond porcelain veneers. The old bonding material would first need to be completely cleaned off, with some type of sand-blasting equipment which few dentists have. Then the inside surface of the porcelain should have been etched with hydrofluoric acid, again something that few dentists would stock. The veneer could then be primed and bonded onto your tooth, where it should remain without leaking for many years.

If your veneers could be just popped off, they could probably be cleaned up and re-bonded properly, and you should be fine. But I’m guessing that the Austin dentist probably bonded them on pretty well, just not well enough to hold up over these years. So they would most likely break in trying to take them off.

Another issue will be getting the new veneers to match your old ones. Make sure you go to an expert cosmetic dentist for this. Don’t look for cheap here–you’ll end up paying more in the long run.

I hope this is helpful.

Dr. Hall

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

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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