I wanted a smile makeover. I asked my dentist if he was a cosmetic dentist and he said no one is actually a cosmetic dentist they’re just dentists who did cosmetic work. He then asked what procedure I wanted. When I told him a smile makeover he told me that he could give me Lumineers. He showed me before and after pictures that looked good. When my porcelain veneers were first placed. I didn’t like them. I could tell that before they even put them on. They weren’t the right color. I told him that and he sent them back. When they came in the next time, I had a hard time seeing them on my teeth because they kept falling out. He assured me they could make adjustments after they were bonded on. It turned out that isn’t true. When I finally got a good look at them at home, I was super disappointed. First, they were whiter, but it had a chalky flat looking white, not a shiny one I was hoping for. Second, they are way bulkier than natural teeth. It was shortly after this that the quarantine started and his office closed. I called and left a message, but he hasn’t gotten back with me. I don’t know if that’s because his office is closed or he’s ignoring me. I’m hoping to get this fixed, but what if he’s actually just avoiding me? The answering machine does say they’re checking messages and will get back with us, but he hasn’t.
While technically your dentist is correct, there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, that doesn’t mean some cosmetic dentists aren’t more qualified than others. Doing smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. It is up to the dentist to invest the time and money into learning them well. It doesn’t sound like your dentist has done that based on what you’ve described.
The first thing that caught my attention was his recommendation of Lumineers. This is a brand of porcelain veneers that is highly marketed, especially to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. They say that because they are considered easy to place as they are an ultra-thin and don’t necessarily require any tooth preparation. However, they have two big problems working against them.
The initial problem is the inexperience of the dentist. Some smiles will look fine without tooth prep. Others will look bulky. A second big issue with Lumineers is their lab. Unlike other brands of porcelain veneers, the company that produces Lumineers require dentists to use their lab, which isn’t known for its high-quality work. In fact, many expert cosmetic dentists would consider it sub-par.
I know your dentist showed you before and after pictures, but did he say they were HIS before and after pictures. They may have been stock photos.
A second big problem I noticed is that your dentist either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about temporary try-in paste. If he didn’t know, he has done practically zero training with cosmetic work. If it is, instead, that he doesn’t care, then he is definitely NOT a dentist you would want working on your smile. So you’ll be aware for next time, a temporary try-in paste allows you to get a good look at your porcelain veneers on your teeth for an extended period of time, without them having to be permanently bonded.
Finally, he told you he could make adjustments after they were bonded on. Cosmetic Dentistry 101 teaches you that is not possible. Again an indication he either doesn’t know he’s doing or he doesn’t care. The good news is this last issue works in your favor. He told you something that absolutely wasn’t true. I think this can help you get a refund.
So, once you’ve got that juicy refund in your hand, who should you go to in order to have a beautiful smile crafted for you? Ideally, you’d get an AACD accredited cosmetic dentist. They are at the top 1% of their field. If that isn’t possible, my next recommendation is you go to the website mynewsmile.com. They recommend expert cosmetic dentists in every area. A dentist cannot just pay to be listed. They have to provide their cosmetic dentistry training as well as visual evidence with before and after pictures of cases they’ve done themselves in order to prove their artistry. Any one of the dentists listed there can create a stunning smile for you. Many of them are on their way to accreditation, which is a process that can take many years.
This blog is brought to you by Philadelphia Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Weiss.