In October, I went to my dentist to get a second set of six porcelain veneers on my front teeth because he can’t get the color right. The first set of porcelain veneers looked horrible. On this new set, my dentist allowed me to speak with the lab tech. I chose a specific white shade that is whiter than what my dentist likes, but it still looked natural. When I went to get the veneers bonded on, they were darker than what I requested. I complained, and my dentist said that he asked the lab tech to add color.
I’ve read too many horror stories online about porcelain veneers, so I didn’t let my dentist bond them to my teeth. I asked him to hold while I am thinking about what to do next. Is there a way to lighten the veneers? Or will I need another new set to get the color corrected? Thank you! Carlie from S. Carolina
We are sorry that you’ve already had two bad experiences with porcelain veneers. Unfortunately, your dentist puts his preferences above yours. Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your veneers to explain accurate treatment options, but we will discuss the possibilities.
Can Porcelain Veneers Be Lightened?
It is impossible to lighten porcelain veneers if a dark shade is within the porcelain. But if a stain was applied over veneers to add color, an advanced cosmetic dentist might be able to remove it. Over-the-counter products will not lighten porcelain veneers.
- Over-the-counter products – Neither teeth bleaching gel nor whitening toothpaste will whiten porcelain veneers. Abrasive toothpaste might scratch the surface.
- Cosmetic dentistry polishing – If the lab technician applied stain to your veneers to add color, an expert cosmetic dentist might be about to polish or grind out the color. Afterward, the cosmetic dentist can polish the veneers to improve their appearance. After examining your veneers, a cosmetic dentist will let you know if this is an option. But don’t ask your dentist to complete the work. It seems that he has limited skill in aesthetics.
Replacing Your Porcelain Veneers
You have a right to ask for new porcelain veneers. Although the process might be inconvenient and take up more of your time, you didn’t receive what you paid for and requested.
We recommend asking for a refund from your dentist and finding a dental artist to complete your smile makeover. Dentists who receive post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry are concerned about creating a smile to match your preferences—not theirs. And cosmetic dentists are concerned with function and beauty. You will get porcelain veneers in the color you want.
How to Ask for a Refund from Your Dentist
Speak with your dentist respectfully and explain your concerns:
- You’re unhappy with your veneers because they are not the shade you requested.
- You believe that your dentist violated your right to be informed of the color change.
- You did not receive what you paid for and requested.
Explaining it in a way that helps your dentist see his negligence should influence him to give you a refund. Dental law classes emphasize that it is essential to get a patient’s consent before providing treatment.
If the color of your porcelain veneers is the only thing you dislike about them, consider these options:
- You can ask your dentist for a refund.
- If you want your dentist to replace your veneers, insist on a third set of porcelain veneers in the color of your choice.
- Remind your dentist that you want clear, tint-free bonding resin that will not alter the shade of your veneers.
- Bring a friend or family member with you to look at your porcelain veneers after your dentist places them on your teeth with a try-in paste—before the dentist bonds them to your teeth.
- Whether you receive veneers from your dentist or an advanced cosmetic dentist, please do not allow the dentist to bond them to your teeth unless they match your request. Don’t compromise.
How Can You Find a Cosmetic Dentist?
Look at dentists’ websites and read their biographies to see if they have advanced cosmetic dentistry or dental aesthetics training. Most dentists with membership or credentials in cosmetic dentistry organizations, such as the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry or the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, are concerned about the beauty of your smile, not just the function.
Steven Brooksher, DDS, a Baton Rouge cosmetic dentist and accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, sponsors this post.
What if you have an issue with just one veneer? Read our post about replacing a single porcelain veneer.