I damaged a few teeth recently after an accident, after whitening the teeth, I am now thinking about a few veneers.
I have heard MACVENEERS are the best looking veneers available at the moment. Also they are twice as strong and there is slightly less drilling on your tooth enamel before placement, compared with other traditional style veneers. Is this all true? I would much appreciate an unbiased opinion on these, thanks.
—Oliver from the UK
It is not accurate to say that “the best porcelain veneers are Macveneers” or any other brand of veneers. Don’t believe these websites that tell you that. Too much cosmetic dentistry information is being written on the Internet by people who don’t know enough about the subject.
When you’re building a house you pick the contractor, not the lumber company. Similarly, for a smile makeover, you need to pick the cosmetic dentist, not the lab. Let the dentist pick the laboratory he or she is most comfortable working with.
MAC veneers are nothing more than veneers made by Microdental Laboratories, which is a large dental laboratory headquartered California with franchise labs in other parts of the country. They specialize in very aesthetic ceramic work. They’re an excellent lab, but only a small percentage of great cosmetic dentists use them. In the hands of a great cosmetic dentist, Mac veneers are beautiful veneers, but in the hands of an amateur, they’re not—they could be terrible. And there are many great porcelain veneer laboratory technicians. They’re not all at Microdental Laboratories. And Microdental has a variety of lab technicians. Some of them are wonderful, but some of them aren’t so wonderful. And the very best laboratory technicians are not at Microdental. Usually they operate on their own with a very limited clientele of great cosmetic dentists who pay them very well. Some great technicians work for only one cosmetic dentist.
The lab technician and the dentist are a team. And to rise to the top, they need to work together for a while. There are understandings and ways of communicating that develop. The dentist prepares the case and communicates to the technician what needs to be done, and the technician translates that into a smile makeover. The best technician in the world cannot make up for mistakes that the dentist makes. The dentist communicates the color requirements, the opacity needed, the shape requirements, and gives the technician a model to work with. If the teeth haven’t been prepared correctly, the technician simply cannot make up for that. And I will tell you that when a lab like Microdental gets a new dentist client, they will size up that dentist. If he or she sends them mediocre work, they will assign that dentist to one of their less expert technicians. They save their best technicians for the best dentists. Most great cosmetic dentists will have a particular master ceramist and they will have a long and deep relationship where they understand each other and work as a team to produce beautiful work. If they’re using a lab like Microdental, they’ll have a particular technician there that they’re used to using who will do their work.
You’re making a big mistake if you’re going to a cosmetic dentist with a particular brand of porcelain in mind, or a particular lab. If you go in and tell your dentist you want such and such a material or such and such a lab, you’re going to do two things:
- You’re going to strain you doctor patient relationship. And to get a beautiful smile, you need a great relationship. Remember that a great cosmetic dentist is an artist. He or she needs your trust in order to perform at a high level. When I have dental work done that requires the use of a dental laboratory, I never tell the dentist which lab to use or what material to use. When I do that, I’m telegraphing that I don’t trust the dentist. If I didn’t trust the dentist, I shouldn’t be asking him or her to do this work.
- You’re possibly going to be pushing your cosmetic dentist out of his or her comfort zone if YOU prescribe the material or the lab. Again, cosmetic dentistry is an art. As an artist, the cosmetic dentist is very passionate about how beautiful it looks. He or she will choose the materials he or she likes to work with. Once he or she becomes comfortable with that material, the results will be beautiful. And he or she will have a great working relationship with a laboratory ceramist, and they work as a team.
So my advice is to pick the cosmetic dentist. Don’t pick the material or the lab. Get a cosmetic dentist you can trust, and then give him or her the latitude to use the material they are most comfortable with in doing your case.
I don’t want to imply by this that the dental laboratory doesn’t matter. The technician is an essential ingredient of a great result. And the choice of a lab is a reflection of the expertise of the dentist. Dentists that use Microdental Laboratories for their cosmetic work are certainly better, as a group, than dentists who use a cheap laboratory. No question. But pick a great cosmetic dentist and you will also be picking a great technician because they won’t use a mediocre technician.
Picking a great cosmetic dentist is the most important thing I can tell you, if your goal is a beautiful smile. Generally, the people who are attracted to dentistry are people who like to fix things, and they think like engineers and have a technician mentality. The cosmetic dentists we list on our site are very different. They’re artists. Yes, they have to master the materials in order to do beautiful work, so they have to be technically very proficient. But they have an artistic temperament. They love to create, where the other 99% of dentists love to repair. Oh, you look in the phone book, and MOST of the dentists there will claim to be cosmetic dentists, at least in the States this is the case—I don’t know what it is in the UK. And in their minds they do beautiful work. But their concept of a beautiful smile isn’t in the same league as a true artist-dentist would be.
I hope this is helpful.
—Dr. David Hall