I’m missing a front tooth. Can I still get porcelain veneers?

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Dr. Hall,
I have a partial consisting of 5 teeth. One of my front teeth is missing as well as 3 on one side and 2 on the other. I absolutely hate the dental work. It looks horrible. I had the dentist redo it 3 times. The front tooth looks nothing like the one next to it. My insurance paid for it and Im not sure if they will pay again. I would love to have porcelain veneers but I have teeth missing. What would you suggest I do to get my smile together?
– Doris from Detroit

Doris,
Even a removable partial denture can be made to look attractive and the missing tooth can be made to look like the one next to it, but it takes the right dentist using the right dental laboratory to get that done. For most family dentists, esthetics isn’t high on their priority list, and my guess is that your family dentist is working with a dental lab for whom esthetics is also a lower priority.

One disadvantage of a removable partial is that it has to have clasps that attach to your remaining teeth. With the old style partial, those clasps used to be metal and they could end up showing when you smile. There are newer plastic materials, however, that are transparent that give a much more attractive result. You could check out the Valplast partial as an option.

There are a lot of options on how to handle your case, and how it would be done depends on your budget and what you want to accomplish. If you’re happy with how the rest of your front teeth look, then it’s just a matter of replacing the missing front tooth and the other five back teeth. The economical way to do that would be with a removable partial denture. The nicest way to do that, which would be much more expensive, would be with dental implants.

You could also take the opportunity, since you already need major work, of combining the tooth replacement with a smile makeover. You mentioned porcelain veneers. A skilled cosmetic dentist will be able to seamlessly blend the different materials—implants and porcelain veneers—into one, beautiful, harmonious look.

About your insurance—on major dental work such as dentures, crowns, and bridges, they usually have a five-year rule—they’ll give you benefits for replacing the work if it is more than five years old.

You’re in Detroit. Check out our recommended cosmetic dentists in the Detroit area. Either of them could do a great job and give you a beautiful smile.

I hope this helps.

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.

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