I went into my dentist for a smile makeover. He gave me four Lumineers. When I went there, I was very specific with him that I wanted a white smile. Yet, when my Lumineers came in and were placed, I noticed they weren’t white like we’d discussed. I tried to like them, but after a few days, I called him. I expressed that I didn’t like the color. That’s when he told me he placed a stain on them so they’d look “normal”. I was quite disappointed to hear that as it went against my expressed desires. He offered to take the stain off. That idea thrilled me. I went there with high hopes. Those hopes were dashed when I saw the results. Essentially, all he did was drill off the top layer. This made the teeth look dull and uneven, which is even worse. Do I have any way of affordably getting this fixed?
The smile makeover procedure you had reminds me a little to much of the middle-grade books, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I can tell from the way you described things that your dentist is either fairly new at cosmetic dentistry and is dipping his toes in the smile makeover waters, or he’s just completely incompetent. Because Lumineers is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easier to place than other brands of porcelain veneers, I suspect (or maybe hope) it is the former.
Let’s start with the fact that he did four Lumineers. Most people’s smiles are around eight to ten teeth wide. If you don’t want a bi-color smile, you have two choices. First, you can get that many porcelain veneers. A great option if you can afford it. However, not everyone can. In that case, your second option is to have your teeth whitened before you have your veneers made. This way the teeth will be close enough in color to make sense and blend.
The next disastrous decision is he stained them. Yes, you said you wanted a white smile, but your dentist thought, “I’m the professional and know better.” So, he put a stain on them to make them look like regular teeth. This is an attitude taught in general dental school. However, people paying for a new smile don’t want “regular” teeth. They want gorgeous teeth. This is why dentists who invest in post-doctoral training in smile makeovers learn the opposite. You aren’t creating normal smiles. Instead, you are creating your patient’s dream smile.
Amateur move number three is him bonding them on without you getting a look at them. True cosmetic dentists will use a temporary try-in paste, give you plenty of time to look at the veneers in various lightings, and decide if you are thrilled with them. If you’re not, they don’t get bonded on. The dentist will make the changes necessary to achieve the results you want. You’re paying for a stunning smile. You should get one.
His Disastrous Lumineers “Fix”
Finally, let’s get into your dentist’s “fix” for his misjudgment. What he should have done when you told him this wasn’t the color you agreed to was to start over and provide you with new Lumineers. That, however, would cost him time and money. So, he takes a short cut and drills off the stain. While this ruined your Lumineers, this is actually good news for you.
Because he damaged them, he is now obligated to fix them. I would not just get a refund or have him re-do them. He’s shown a disregard for your wishes, as well as a lack of commitment to the quality of his work. What you need to do is tell him you would like him to cover the cost of another dentist replacing them.
Before deciding on a second dentist, look at their smile gallery. Make sure there are before and after pictures of cases they’ve done personally, not just stock photos. Even then, only go forward if you absolutely love the after results they acheived.
This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.