My daughter has had porcelain veneers for the last couple years. At first, everything was going great. She has eight on top and six on her lower, front teeth. A couple months after they were placed, somehow she ended up with a chip on the porcelain veneer on her upper, left front tooth. I think it was #9. We went back in to see the dentist and he ‘fixed’ it. He ended up shortening the tooth by using a buffer. When he was done with that, her smile didn’t look quite right. So, he also ended up buffing tooth #8 to even things out so they were the same length.
Well, fast forward six months and unfortunately it starting looking like tooth #8 was darker than the others. So, we went back in to show the dentist and he claimed he couldn’t see it. He told us that we were being too picky and that he was really good with color. He disagreed and said that he couldn’t see any difference between the color of tooth #8 and the surrounding teeth. We left feeling defeated, but really didn’t know what else to do.
Well, let’s fast forward to today, which is several months later. The tooth still looks darker than the others. There is a dark spot on the tooth and a kind of bluish color on the tooth that just came up out of nowhere. She is really nervous that the porcelain veneer is going to fall out. She is only home for a bit longer before she returns to college out of state.
Do you have any idea what is going on with her porcelain veneer? Is she at risk for it falling off or damaging the tooth underneath in any way? Or is this somehow nothing to be concerned about. It will be another eight weeks or so before she is back home from college after the semester. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!
-Pamela in North Carolina
Well, first off you need to understand that it is always difficult to give specific recommendations without having seen your daughter’s discolored porcelain veneer in person. However, based on what you have explained, it does sound like something is wrong with it.
Unfortunately, it does sound like the porcelain veneer is at risk of falling off on tooth #8 from what you have described about the way it looks. It may not hold on for another eight weeks when she returns home.
From what you have shared, it sounds like she may have a leaking porcelain veneer. And if she won’t be able to have it addressed right away, it really is best to let it fall off on its own because there isn’t a good way to remove it without breaking it.
In the image, you can see an example of leaking porcelain veneers that are in the very early stages of discoloration. This example shows a patient with a set of temporary porcelain veneers. You can see the bluish color.
Also, if she doesn’t want to wait until school is out, she could look for an expert cosmetic dentist in the area where she goes to college. If you go this route, then you don’t have to worry about the porcelain veneer breaking. Also, the re-bonding process is pretty straightforward for an experienced cosmetic dentist. Then, your daughter won’t have to live with it and be anxious about the way it looks or be concerned about it breaking. This will also avoid the all-to-common temptation of using super glue to reapply it. As a side note, please emphasize that super glue is never recommended to reapply dental work. It will secure it but the veneer will most certainly break when it is removed.
Hopefully this information is helpful as you weigh out your daughter’s options. An after thought worth considering is that you didn’t mention where the blue color has formed. But, this sure sounds like what we refer to as a ‘leaky’ veneer. The bond between the tooth and the veneer has failed. So, there are substances that leak under the veneer. If this is indeed what is going on, re-bonding the same veneer should be an easy solution. It doesn’t sound like the shortening of the veneer really has contributed to the spots.
Again, it’s always difficult to give specific recommendations online without seeing a patient firsthand. But, it sure sounds like the best thing for your daughter at this point would be to see an excellent cosmetic dentist for a reapplication of the veneer. This is not necessarily an emergency dental situation to her natural tooth at this time. But if it’s left unaddressed, it could cause complications down the road if bacteria is lodged under the veneer.
This post is sponsored by York PA dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD.