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FAQ:  Porcelain Veneers


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    Question:
    Hi. I made a visit to the dentist because I chipped a tooth while drinking out of a bottle. I wanted to improve the way my smile looked so I asked for porcelain veneers.

    The dentist said that he could fix the 2 teeth next to the front ones to make my smile more even and beautiful. Of course it was cosmetic and very expensive. On the first visit I paid $14,000 dollars in full and he prepared my teeth.

    On the second visit I saw my crowns (the dentist decided to put crowns instead)... one of the teeth looked uneven in shape and I complained about it. I also asked If I was going to have biting problems like the ones I had with my temporary teeth. Since I had a vacation planned and I was not going to be in the country for a whole month, we bonded the crowns to my teeth.

    As soon as I got to my house I noticed that I had a glue line where the crowns were bonded (my teeth now seem to be dirty all the time), the shape of the crowns are not straight at all (no symmetry or balance). I still have biting problems (dentist sanded a bottom tooth to make the upper crown fit).

    Now I have a round tooth and a pointy one in the bottom. Also if you look at my teeth, the crowns are significantly thicker than my natural teeth (you can see them standing out). All this to make my smile pretty!

    I am not satisfied at all with my cosmetic dentistry job at all. Is it permanent? What can I do?. I feel stupid because I totally trusted my dentist. I want to get this fixed and I don't think I should pay anything else. ...Visitor from SC

    Answer:
    Sorry about your disappointing dental result. It is obvious you want the work redone and I have some suggestions that will make you a better dental consumer.

    1) Never leave a dental office if the bite is not right.
    2) The temporary crowns are a guide for the final result, make the dentist build the temps just like the final crowns.
    3) Never receive the final crowns if they are not satisfactory.

    I also want to inform you about dental laboratories. I was a dental lab owner and technician for 18 years before I became a dentist. I fabricate many of my own crowns and bridges however, almost all dentists send their work out to a dental lab to fabricate the porcelain teeth.

    Quality between labs varies greatly. I like to "grade" labs A, B, C,or F. All dentists like to think their lab is A quality but the truth of the matter is most labs are grade C when it comes to quality. Ten to fifteen percent of labs are B quality and less then one percent of labs are truly A quality.

    A dentist who charges about $1000 for a crown will use a B or C quality dental lab. To get an A quality lab the patient will generally have to pay $1500 to $3000 or more for each crown. The better the skills of the dental lab, the higher the fee the lab is able to collect from the dentist.

    Most dentists are willing to redo unsatisfactory work within a reasonable period of time. Talk to him and see what you can work out. I see patients all the time who want me to redo their crowns and bridges and I use an A quality lab. My point is, this is a common phenomenon. Not every dentist has a strong lab background.

    Editorial Staff

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