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This is a follow-up to the previous post, where Susan emailed Dr. Hall telling about problems she was having speaking with her new porcelain veneers.
Susan commented at the bottom of the post:
Thank you for the reply. I think I am going thru a bad nightmare. After complaining about my speech and bite, the dentist took off the front four permanent veneers, to replace them. As he was taking them off he broke #9 [the upper left central incisor] after which I had to have the tooth pulled and an implant put in. I am currently 2 months with the implant temporary. I have to wait three months for it to heal. I asked him to make a matrix of the temporary veneers and the final veneers to see what is wrong. He said all the molars are each side were made too short and the lab made the mistake by using my original bite. Right now I have 9 temporaries in my mouth with the implant. He didn’t replace the 1st molars because he claims they are fine. My temporary veneers were 12.4 length for #9 and #10. Now they 11.8 and hitting my lip. Could it be those back 1st molars being too short? Or should I just run and find a new dentist?
And here is my answer:
Again, I do have to qualify what I answer here by saying that not being able to see exactly what is going on, I may be missing something, but I CAN tell that something isn’t right here.
The molars being made too short—that would definitely explain your speech problems. But passing the mistake off onto the lab saying they used the wrong bite? No, that doesn’t work for me. It’s not the lab’s fault. The dentist gives instructions to the lab and the issue isn’t your bite, it’s the vertical dimension. And that has the potential to cause long-term problems. It is called bite collapse. You absolutely need to have your bite opened to its original position. What is starting out as just speech problems can easily progress to TMJ disorder with possible chronic headaches and jaw pain.
Cases like yours where the vertical dimension is altered need to be approached with great care, and a dentist needs more training than what they receive in dental school to pull this off. The dentist will replicate your bite on a machine called an articulator where he or she can carefully study all your bite movements. He or she will establish a vertical dimension by testing it in your mouth with temporary restorations, and then will send your case to the laboratory on the articulator with careful instructions on how to reconstruct your mouth.
And then I’m aghast at what happened to your front tooth. When you take off veneers, the way to do that is to grind them off. You can’t “pop them off” or remove them in any way like that if they’re bonded on properly. They become like a second enamel and the only way is to grind them off, which is a gentle process that is similar to preparing the teeth in the first place. I am again suspecting that he didn’t actually do porcelain veneers but did porcelain crowns and called them veneers. But even then, with front teeth, crowns should also be ground off, and there is no excuse for breaking a tooth.
I would not let this dentist touch your teeth any more—this is getting worse every time he sees you.
Actually, I do know an excellent cosmetic dentist in northern New Jersey. I will send you the name. I know her personally and have absolute confidence in her. She is AACD-accredited, which is no mean achievement, and a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, and I believe she is one of the best cosmetic dentists in the entire state.
A couple of additional points:
1. You need to get tough with this dentist. As I said, not seeing your case personally I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage, but based on what you are telling me he has violated the standard of care and is very vulnerable legally. He seems to have got in way over his head and has done multiple things wrong. If I were you I would call him and say that you’re going to be nice and not take him to court where you could sue him out the wazoo, but to avoid that he needs to pay for everything that this new dentist needs to do to fix you up. Go to the new dentist first, confirm the details of what has been done wrong, and then confront him.
2. I can’t imagine that your bite and vertical dimension are the only problems with your case. You haven’t said anything about how your teeth look, but it is rare for functional incompetence in dentistry to be blended with artistic excellence. In my mind’s eye right now I can’t imagine that you have a beautiful smile. But based on what you have told me, your case needs to be completely re-done. That is your silver lining. The new dentist, in re-doing this, can give you a beautiful smile.
– 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.