I am hoping you can help answer some questions for me about a problem with my porcelain veneer. It has been over 10 years ago now that I had 10 porcelain veneers placed on my top teeth. This was mainly to cover up my ugly tetracycline stains that I had since I was young.
I’ve always been happy with the way my smile looked after the veneers were done. But, I was disappointed when yesterday one of the porcelain veneers on one of my two front teeth split in half the long way. Then, it came right off.
I went in right away to see the dentist and they did a temporary fix by gluing the piece back in place. I don’t like the way it feels and it is really bothering me. I’m also feeling like it will break at any time. They told me they couldn’t address it for another five days. I was very frustrated when they told me this because in my opinion this is a dental emergency. The dentist explained that it typically isn’t considered an emergency since porcelain veneers are a cosmetic dentistry treatment.
Are they just not making my situation a priority? Or is this how most dentists will view a broken porcelain veneer? I am just trying to see if I have other options to get this addressed sooner.
Also, I am wondering if it would be best to get the porcelain veneer replaced or if a porcelain crown would work better? Since the veneer fell off once, I am wondering if the tooth can support a new porcelain veneer?
-Melissa in Maryland
Thank you for reaching out. Many general dentists will not consider a damaged porcelain veneer to be an emergency. However, if the dentist specializes in cosmetic dentistry, they will likely take a “cosmetic” emergency very seriously and make it a priority.
There is a fundamental difference between a general dentist and a true cosmetic dentist. In order to do excellent cosmetic dentistry requires extensive training beyond dental school. Less than 2% of dentists have the ability and skill to do beautiful work. The bonding techniques and skills are not taught in dental school. So, it sounds like the dentist you are seeing may not be an expert cosmetic dentist.
The dentist that placed your porcelain veneers in the first place sounds like he or she did an excellent job. That is mainly due to the fact that tetracycline stains are one of the most difficult issues to address. So, if you have loved your porcelain veneers for years, it is a good indicator that the dentist did great work. You haven’t said if this is the same dentist. But, based on the response, it may not be the case if he isn’t making it a priority.
A porcelain crown doesn’t sound like the best fit for this situation. If the porcelain veneer is done properly, there shouldn’t be any issue with it staying in place. All that to be said, you need to make sure the dentist has the skill to replace the porcelain veneer successfully. Not only does it need to blend in perfectly with the surrounding teeth, it needs to cover your stains.
In this instance, it would be wise to seek a second opinion if you aren’t positive the dentist you saw is an experienced cosmetic dentist. Whomever you choose needs to thoroughly understand the bonding techniques, chemistry and bonding agents to be successful. They also need to be passionate about creating a beautiful result. It sounds like the old bonding material needs to be completely removed so that the dentist begins with a clean surface. Or else make sure that the area is prepared properly, so the bonding adheres to the veneer.
Again, it’s worth your time and effort to find the best cosmetic dentist in your area. A seamless look will be very important since you are only replacing a single veneer.
Although you may feel this is an emergency, if you aren’t in pain and can deal with the inconvenience, it is important to take the time to find the right dentist.
This post is sponsored by York PA dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD