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My New Veneers Affect My Speech

Close-up of a woman's mouth portraying porcelain veneers that affect speechAfter getting ten upper porcelain veneers, I complained to my dentist that the veneers affected my speech and bite. My dentist removed the front four veneers to replace them. He broke off the tooth while taking off the veneer for the left central incisor. I needed an extraction and dental implant. Now I am wearing a temporary crown while the implant heals. My dentist estimates that it will be three to four months before getting the final crown.

I asked my dentist to compare my temporary veneers, which fit well, with the permanent ones to see what went wrong. My dentist claims that the lab made my right and left first molar veneers too short because they used my original bite. I am now wearing nine temporary veneers and a temporary implant crown. Two of the veneers are too long and touch my lip. I know that I must keep calm. I think I should switch dentists in the middle of treatment. Could I make things worse if I switch? Thank you. Brooklyn



Thank you for your question.

Although Dr. Lim would need to examine your teeth, veneers, and bite to identify the problem, something is going wrong.

Porcelain Veneer Molars Too Short

If porcelain veneers for molar teeth are too short, they will affect your speech. But it is not the lab’s fault. Before a lab makes your veneers, your dentist gives them instructions. The issue is the vertical dimension and collapsed bite, which can cause long-term problems. Although you already have speech problems, the case can progress to TMJ disorder with jaw and neck pain and headaches.

What Is Vertical Dimension?

Vertical dimension is your lower jaw’s (mandible) vertical position in relation to your upper jaw (maxilla) when your mouth is closed and your upper and lower teeth touch. Taking a physical measurement is not enough. It is essential to assess how vertical dimension affects your facial appearance and speech.

It takes a highly trained dentist to correct vertical dimension—beyond what dental schools teach. A skilled dentist may recommend orthodontics before completing dental restorations.

Many dentists use this method:

  • Replicate your bite on an articulator—a machine that allows the dentist to analyze all your bite movements
  • Use temporary restorations to test in your mouth and establish a vertical dimension
  • Send your case on the articulator with detailed instructions for a lab to reconstruct your mouth

Breaking Your Tooth When Removing Porcelain Veneers

After a dentist bonds porcelain veneers to your teeth, they become a second enamel. A dentist must gently grind them off—not try to pop or pry them off. Your dentist’s method of removing your porcelain veneers broke your tooth and created the need for a dental implant. That is inexcusable. And we encourage you to hold your dentist responsible for compensating you.

What’s Next?

Although Dr. Lim would need to examine and x-ray your teeth, what you describe sounds like a dentist must completely redo your dental work. Your dentist seems to be incapable of restoring your teeth correctly.

  • You can explain to your dentist that you know that he has violated the standard of care.
  • You will find a new, expert cosmetic dentist to correct your bite and replace your dental restorations.
  • Insist that your dentist pays for the work and forwards your dental records to the dentist of your choice.
  • If your dentist is uncooperative, promptly report the issue to your dental insurance company if they provide benefits for any of your treatments. And report the problem to the state dental board.
  • Without exception, transfer to a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry and experience with proven skill in occlusion and bite.

We sincerely wish you success and a healthy, beautiful smile.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.


Can I Get Porcelain Veneers Reversed If I Don’t Want Them Anymore?

I am thinking about getting veneers to brighten my smile because I want them to be their absolute whitest. I know that many celebrities and athletes have veneers, and that is an example of how white I want my teeth. But I am wondering if someday I might not want them anymore. Can I get them taken off and reversed without damaging my teeth? Lucas from NY

Lucas –

A single porcelain veneer is held in a dental instrument to show that porcelain veneers are barely the thickness of a fingernail.Thank you for your question. Porcelain veneers are not reversible. Once you have them, a dentist can replace them if worn or damaged.

Why Porcelain Veneers Are Not Reversible

Porcelain veneers are not reversible for these reasons:

  • Before you receive porcelain veneers, a dentist prepares your teeth by lightly shaving away tiny amounts of tooth enamel. The light shaving prevents the veneers from looking bulky on your teeth.
  • When a dentist prepares your teeth, they remove a fraction of a millimeter of tooth enamel. But it will not grow back, and your dentist cannot replace it. Your teeth will no longer look natural without veneers.
  • Also, your etched teeth would be left unprotected and in a weaker state without porcelain veneers. And your teeth would be more susceptible to stains, bacteria, and decay.

Alternatives to Get Your Teeth White

Porcelain veneers are best for teeth that are uneven, damaged, or misshaped. They are not the only way to get your teeth white. In most cases, teeth bleaching from a dentist will get you the results you want.

First, a dentist will need to examine your teeth to determine the cause of the stains or discoloration. If your teeth are not fluorosis or tetracycline stained, a dentist can bleach them white easily.

Consult with an experienced cosmetic dentist to learn about the results you can expect with porcelain veneers or in-office whitening. Laser whitening will make your teeth brilliantly white in a single visit. Follow-up sessions and periodic at-home touch-ups will keep your smile bright.


Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.


Will No-Prep Veneers Work for Any Patient?

I want porcelain veneers, but I am hesitant about getting my teeth prepared. If a dentist recommends preparation, how do I know if I really need it? Can no-prep veneers work for any patient? – Thank you. Madison


Thank you for your question. Several factors affect whether a patient can receive no-prep veneers.

Will No-Prep Veneers Work for Any Patient?

No-prep veneers will not work for every patient because veneers add to the thickness of your teeth and can make them look bulky. But in specific situations, they may work for you. What factors can affect whether you get no-prep veneers?

  • Small teeth – You may be a candidate for no-prep veneers if you have small teeth and want them to look larger.
  • Straight teeth – Straight teeth require less preparation. If any teeth are crooked or protrude, a dentist will recommend trimming them to make your smile look even. Otherwise, teeth that stick out will protrude even farther with veneers on them.
  • A master ceramist – Rather than using a no-prep brand of veneers, advanced cosmetic dentists work with a master ceramist to create a natural-looking smile with customized no-prep veneers.

What If a Dentist Recommends Preparing Your Teeth for Veneers?

If a dentist recommends preparing your teeth for veneers, they should explain why. Skilled cosmetic dentists conservatively prepare teeth a fraction of a millimeter. Studies show that minimal preparation is a best practice for several reasons:

  • It is healthier for your teeth – Confining preparation to the tooth enamel keeps tooth structure intact. Exposing the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) increases the risk of bacteria leaking behind your veneers and causing infection.
  • It helps with the bonding process – When a dentist conservatively prepares your teeth, the veneers adhere to them better. Attaching veneers to dentin instead of tooth enamel makes the bonding weak.
  • It supports the lifespan of your veneers – When porcelain veneers do not fit well, it reduces their lifespan. Porcelain gets its strength from a secure bond to tooth enamel.

If you are interested in porcelain veneers, schedule a consultation with an advanced cosmetic dentist to get healthy, long-lasting results. They examine your teeth and explain why you might need conservative teeth preparation.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.

Before-and-after porcelain veneers photos from Dr. Lim of Owasso
Porcelain veneers patient photos of Dr. Lim’s work

Is it safe for a hygienist to use an ultrasonic scaler on my porcelain veneers?

I recently got some lovely new porcelain veneers placed, and I just had my first dental cleaning since I got them. The hygienist used that water-blasting thing to clean my teeth. She said it’s called an “ultrasonic scaler.” I’m not sure how it works, but it made me a little nervous. Ever since spending all that money to get these beautiful veneers, I’m so afraid of anything that could ruin them. I was too shy to ask the hygienist if the ultrasonic scaler would damage my veneers because I figured she knew what she was doing.

But I’m still worried. Could you tell me whether it was safe to use that machine on my new veneers or am I just being paranoid?


—Becky from Columbus, OH

Hello Becky,

To put your mind at ease, the short answer is that an ultrasonic scaler will not harm your porcelain veneers, provided the hygienist knows how to use it well.

An ultrasonic scaler works by generating ultrasonic vibrations that help dislodge stubborn debris and kill bacteria in place. The metal tip vibrates back and forth, and the handpiece also generates a stream of water to help keep the metal tip cool and flush away the debris. So it’s the vibrations that do all the work, not the stream of water.

These ultrasonic vibrations are the key to helping hygienists clean teeth quickly and thoroughly, especially during periodontal treatments, but they can sometimes be damaging to materials that are softer than tooth enamel. For example, cementum (the tissue that covers tooth roots) can experience microscopic damage by ultrasonic scalers.

And, yes, an ultrasonic scaler can even chip the margin of a porcelain veneer.

But as we mentioned earlier, this depends on how a hygienist uses the device. A skilled hygienist will use a light hand, move the tip of the ultrasonic scaler smoothly over the teeth, and won’t use it long over the margins of restorations like porcelain veneers.

To reiterate, as long as your hygienist knows what he or she is doing when using an ultrasonic scaler, then your veneers should be just fine during a professional dental cleaning.

This post has been published on behalf of Owasso dentist Dr. Heng Lim.


My porcelain veneers keep coming off. Is this normal?

I’ve been seeing the same dentist for the past four years, and she recently started fixing my teeth with dental veneers. The problem is, they keep coming off and causing me a lot of embarrassment and frustration.

My front teeth weren’t too bad to begin with. They were a bit yellow and a little chipped. A couple years ago, my dentist said I needed veneers on my eight upper front teeth to protect them because I grind them at night when I sleep and I’ve got some cracks in them. But the veneers just don’t seem to stay on. I lose one or more at a time and this could happen at any time, usually once a week. The last time, I lost two just while eating a banana!

I can even tell when one of my veneers is getting loose because a bad smell comes from it shortly before it pops off.

My dentist says this keeps happening because I grind my teeth. I do wear a night guard to protect my veneers, though.

My dentist has been good about seeing me right away to replace the veneers that come off, but I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this. It’s so embarrassing to lose my veneers because I’m left with ugly dark yellow nubs that don’t even look like teeth. I’m so afraid of losing my veneers in front of others that I often turn down social opportunities.

I was told these veneers were supposed to last me for at least 20 years, but I can’t imagine going through this for another 18 years. I hate the way I look when I smile, and I just don’t know what to do next.

I’m too embarrassed to see another dentist and I don’t think I could afford to do that, anyway.

Is it normal for veneers to keep coming off like this?

— Chardae from Oklahoma

Hello Chardae,

It sounds like you’re living a cosmetic dentistry horror story.

No, it is not normal for dental veneers to pop off like that. In fact, it sounds like what you have aren’t even veneers at all.

A veneer is a slim shell that covers just the front of a tooth, and it’s a purely cosmetic dental restoration. To prepare a tooth for porcelain veneers, only a slim layer of enamel has to be removed from the front surface and biting edge of the tooth.

But from what you are describing, it seems like your dentist placed dental crowns, not veneers.

A crown is a restoration that covers an entire tooth. The tooth has to be significantly reduced to what you might call a “nub” to make room for the crown.

You can see the difference between a crown preparation and a veneer preparation in the photo below:

Crowns and veneers serve completely different purposes; a crown helps protect and reinforce a weakened tooth, while a veneer, as mentioned earlier, simply enhances the cosmetic appearance of a front tooth.

So the first issue here is that your dentist is doing you a major disservice by telling you that she is placing veneers when in reality, she may be placing porcelain crowns. It seems she isn’t familiar with the technology and techniques for placing actual dental veneers.

Second, placing eight crowns across eight upper front teeth could be overkill if those teeth didn’t need to be drastically shaved down and crowned in the first place.

And finally, even if your dentist felt crowns were right for your teeth in your situation, she is doing you yet another major disservice because she isn’t placing them correctly. You describe a bad smell that comes out of your restoration before it comes off. This is caused by saliva and bacteria leaking inside the loose crown. If your dentist was using the right technique to securely attach the crowns, they wouldn’t be stinking and coming loose like that.

At this point, you should start looking for a new dentist. You might feel nervous about finding a non-judgmental cosmetic dentist. But the reality is that a truly skilled cosmetic dentist will never make you feel responsible for this horrendous ordeal.

Instead, a compassionate and artistically inclined dentist will help you understand your treatment options for making your smile look the way you want it to be. Additionally, your new dentist can help you negotiate compensation for this terrible treatment by your current dentist. She is responsible for paying for any treatment you need to undo the damage she has done.

This post has been published on behalf of cosmetic dentist Dr. Heng Lim of Owasso, OK.