I started going to my dentist in 2015, and last October, I decided that I trusted her enough to get porcelain veneers. That was a huge mistake because my veneers regularly fall off. I asked for veneers because one of my front teeth was shorter than the others, a few teeth were chipped, and I wanted a brighter smile. My dentist explained that I needed veneers to protect my teeth and limit the cracks I have in them from grinding. My dentist made a custom nightguard to protect my veneers from grinding.
Before I agreed to veneers, my dentist explained that she would need to prepare my teeth first, but she ground my front upper teeth down to stumps. When I saw my teeth, I almost cried, but she reassured me that the veneers would look and feel so beautiful that I wouldn’t remember the preparation. She placed temporary veneers, and I wore them for two weeks. I did love the look and thought that my dentist was right about how much I would love my smile.
Everything was going well with my porcelain veneers the first week, but in the middle of the second week, a veneer popped off. I called my dentist’s office, and they were quite accommodating. I went to the office in the afternoon, and my dentist bonded the veneer on my tooth. But every week at least one veneer falls. I’ve noticed that the veneers that pop off the most have a ledge on the backside of them. Also, my breath smells terribly just before a veneer pops off. Over the winter holidays, we had family visiting, and I had three veneers missing. I tried not to smile so that no one would notice my tiny ground-down teeth. I keep glue in my purse just in case a veneer comes off.
This is an ongoing issue. Last week, I received a call from my dentist’s office to come in for my dentist to try something different. I’m beginning to think that I’m my dentist’s first porcelain veneers patient. I’m stressed out about this daily. How are my veneers going to last 20 years as my dentist promised? I know this can’t be normal because porcelain veneers are too popular. People wouldn’t get them knowing they would fall off regularly.
Can my teeth be fixed? Am I going to need dentures? Our family will be moving at the end of summer, and I’m afraid that a dentist in our new location won’t want to try to fix the mess my dentist made. Is there anything I can do?
Also, I want to ask about the combination of Ativan and nitrous oxide. My dentist gave me Ativan. I take one pill the night before my appointment and another about an hour before going to the office. While she works on my veneers, I breathe in nitrous oxide. I’m out of it for the rest of the day and sleep through the next morning. I am only slightly anxious about my appointments, and I’ve only had anxiety since I received these botched veneers, but is this sedation too heavy? – Andreja from Mississippi
We are sorry to hear about the trauma your dentist is causing and the horror story with your porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are meant to improve your smile and quality of life, not make you dread smiling.
No, the things you are experiencing are not typical. You have had an awful time with what should have been an enjoyable experience. Your dentist did several things wrong. And what has happened to you might be classified as malpractice.
Your dentist prepared your teeth for crowns
Your dentist prepared your teeth for porcelain crowns—not veneers. As the photos below show, a dentist only reduces about a half-millimeter of enamel from the front of a tooth to prepare it for a veneer. But when you’re receiving a crown, a tooth is tapered all around. And you describe it as a stump. Your experience says that your dentist doesn’t know how to do porcelain veneers and isn’t familiar with bonding technology. Your options for correcting the situation are limited.
The crowns don’t have proper retention form
If a dentist prepares a tooth correctly, conventional dental cement will keep a crown in place. Bonding technology isn’t required. But your dentist hasn’t been able to do that. Although Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your teeth, we guess that they are shorter than the teeth shown in the photograph. Your dentist so aggressively prepared your teeth that crowns won’t stay on. She grossly violated the standard of care, and she’s liable. Your crowns are getting loose in function. Saliva and bacteria are getting under the crown, which causes an awful smell and taste.
You described having mild anxiety about dental visits. We can’t explain why your dentist gives you Ativan because it lingers in your bloodstream. The term, serum half-life, represents how long half the dose of a medication is still in your bloodstream. After 24 hours, half the Ativan dose is still in your bloodstream, and it can take a couple of days to go away completely. Most dentists use triazolam, which lasts about three hours after a dental appointment. That’s plenty of time.
How can you resolve it?
We think that your dentist is legally liable for damaging your teeth. She should pay for another cosmetic dentist to correct your teeth and restore your oral health. But she should also compensate you for over-treatment that could affect you throughout life. Before you relocate, start searching for a competent dentist in your new location who can correct your teeth. The new dentist can confront the dentist who damaged your teeth. Her malpractice insurance should cover the cost of restoring your teeth, and your case shouldn’t need to go to court. But if you take your case to court, we think you would receive a substantial award.
Accredited cosmetic dentist, Steven Brooksher, DDS of Baton Rouge sponsors this post.