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Why Do My New Porcelain Veneers Look Old?

A cosmetic dentist completed my smile makeover with veneers in mid-August. I drove 75 miles for each appointment because of this dentist’s reputation. It’s almost December, and my veneers do not look as white and glossy. I am almost heartbroken. I plan to return to the dentist in January, but I dread a series of appointments with her to improve or replace my veneers. Why is this happening, and what can I expect for repairs?  – Savannah from Toledo, OH

Savannah,

Thank you for your question. Dr. Lim would need to examine your smile makeover to determine why it is losing its luster, but we will explain what can happen to veneers.

What Can Cause New Porcelain Veneers to Look Old?

New porcelain veneers might look old due to glaze damage or the materials used to make your veneers.

Damage to the glaze

Abrasive chemicals or power polishing equipment can damage and dull the glaze on porcelain veneers. If your veneers lost luster within a few months, perhaps a dental professional used the wrong tools or materials.

  • Acidulated fluoride – Although acidulated fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay, it will scratch the porcelain. The scratches will easily attract stains and darken your veneers.
  • Power polishing equipment – While cleaning your teeth, a hygienist must know how to care for your veneers, including which tools and materials to use and what to avoid. When mistakenly using power polishing equipment (e.g., Prophy Jet) on your veneers, the result is a matte finish.

Composition of Your Veneers

Veneers can be porcelain or composite. Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant and stronger than tooth enamel, but composite veneers are softer. If you have composite veneers, abrasive toothpaste, alcohol-based mouthwash, or pumice polish can decrease the gloss or luster of composite veneers.

Can a Dentist Restore Your Porcelain Veneers?

Yes, an advanced cosmetic dentist can restore your smile makeover by polishing your veneers with these steps:

  • Use diamond polishing instruments and polishing paste
  • Add further gloss using ultrafine diamond polishing paste

We wish you a satisfying resolution.

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

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My New Porcelain Veneer Is the Wrong Color

My new porcelain veneer is the wrong color. I’ve had veneers since 2009, but one broke last month. Although the veneers looked good in the dental office, I could see that the shade did not match my other veneers and teeth. My dentist sent the veneer back, and I returned to the office when the new one came. I thought my dentist used temporary paste, but she bonded the veneer because she said it was a match. Although my current dentist did not do my veneers in 2009, shouldn’t she be able to match one veneer with the others? Do you have a tip I can give her to get it right this time? Thank you. Terah from NJ

 

Terah,

Thank you for contacting Dr. Lim’s office. We understand your concerns and frustration.

How Can You Color Match a Porcelain Veneer?

A porcelain veneer held by dental forceps
Porcelain veneer

Trained cosmetic dentists color match a porcelain veneer with several steps, starting with using the correct lighting. When veneer color does not match, a skilled cosmetic dentist understands how to manipulate the tint on the veneer, but a dentist should refrain from attempting it. Color-correct fluorescent lighting in the dental office can help a dentist achieve a perfect match.

An advanced cosmetic dentist may use this technique when veneers return from the dental lab in the wrong color:

  • Send photographs of your teeth to help the ceramist see the shade difference
  • Send a detailed description of the desired shade
  • Collaborate with the dental ceramist and try as many times as needed to correct the color

Using Polishing Techniques to Correct Veneer Color

Specific diamond polishing wheels and pastes can correct the color of a porcelain veneer. Still, if your dentist lacks the training, tools, and materials to polish veneers, please do not insist on this technique.

We recommend getting a second opinion from an advanced cosmetic dentist to examine your veneer and determine whether they can correct the color or if you need a new veneer. If you need to switch dentists to correct the color of your porcelain veneer, ask for your dental records and a history of your veneers, including the details of your 2009 veneers case. The dental records will help your new cosmetic dentist and the dental lab achieve a perfect match.

 

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

 

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Can Porcelain Veneers Correct My Overbite?

I have a very noticeable overbite. I don’t want braces; I will seriously consider them if veneers can correct my teeth. Is this possible, and how many veneers will I need? Bethany from Allentown, PA

 

Bethany –

Thank you for your question.

Can Porcelain Veneers Correct Overbite?

A porcelain veneer held by dental forceps
Porcelain veneer

a cosmetic dentist will explain the results you can expect with veneers versus orthodontics. Your teeth require minimal preparation before a dentist places veneers to prevent them from looking bulky.

A cosmetic dentist must use special techniques and quality porcelain veneers on eight to ten of your upper or lower teeth. We can’t emphasize the importance of having your teeth examined by an experienced cosmetic dentist to determine if veneers suit your case and, if so, how best to treat your overbite. Look for an accredited cosmetic dentist in your area.

Why Would You Need Orthodontics?

Depending on your oral health, jawbone structure, and tooth position, orthodontics may be the healthiest way to restore your smile. A dentist trained in occlusion and bite and cosmetic dentistry will work to establish a healthy mouth and aesthetic smile. Porcelain veneers may improve your smile, but your teeth may not be healthy without aligning your bite.

Without orthodontics, these overbite symptoms may persist:

  • Difficulty chewing and eating
  • Jaw stiffness, locking, or popping
  • Persistent earaches
  • Headaches

Request a consultation with a cosmetic dentist to discuss your goals and expectations. After an exam and digital x-rays, the dentist will explain how you can get healthy, beautiful, long-lasting improvement for your smile.

 

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

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Teeth Whitening Didn’t Budge Dark Stains

My dentist bleached brown blotchy fluoride spots on my teeth, but the stains did not improve. My teeth look whiter, but the stains are the same, and even my dentist admits it. Now, she recommends bonding or veneers and said that they should improve the stains. I am not confident that my dentist knows whether either method will work. Should I select bonding or veneers? – Thank you, Amberlynn from Detroit

Amberlynn.

Thank you for contacting Dr. Lim’s office.

You have valid concerns about your dentist’s understanding of how to bleach your teeth. Teeth bleaching will not improve blotchy stains.

Which Treatments Work for Dark Stains on Teeth?

Depending on the cause and extent of your teeth stains, dental bonding or porcelain veneers will improve them. Still, a dentist must first examine your teeth to verify the cause of the stains and the condition of your teeth. Your teeth and gums must be healthy before you begin treatment. Otherwise, your dentist will recommend treatment to improve your oral health before you get cosmetic dentistry.

Dental bonding

Dental bonding is a conservative, natural-looking way to hide blotchy stains and restore your teeth. Skilled cosmetic dentists stock composite resins and carefully stack and layer them to conceal imperfections in your teeth. Well-maintained bonding can last five years or longer.

A cosmetic dentist will apply bonding by hand while you sit comfortably in a dental chair using these steps:

  • Roughen the surfaces of your teeth
  • Apply bonding to match your tooth shade and translucence
  • Shape the composite bonding
  • Harden the bonding with a curing light
  • Further shape and polish the bonding

Composite bonding requires advanced training and artistry, so select your cosmetic dentist carefully.

Porcelain veneers

A single porcelain veneer held by a dental tool
Porcelain veneer

Porcelain outlasts dental bonding. Well-made veneers can last 20 years or longer. A cosmetic dentist understands how to maintain porcelain’s natural translucence while hiding dark spots on your teeth. After an examination and x-ray to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, cosmetic dentists take these steps with veneers:

  • Remove a conservative amount of tooth enamel from each affected tooth
  • Take impressions of your teeth
  • Allow you to try on temporary veneers
  • Send the impressions, instructions, and pictures of your smile to a lab to make custom porcelain veneers
  • Try the veneers on your teeth and bond them when you agree that you love the results

Request a Consultation

Schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dentist to examine the stains on your teeth and explain your treatment options. Look for a dentist with post-graduate training and experience in cosmetic dentistry.

 

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

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Can I Get One Porcelain Veneer?

Is it possible to get just one porcelain veneer? My teeth are basically straight except for the left front tooth. It is noticeably crooked and slightly overlaps the one behind it. There is also too much space between it and my right front tooth. Would I need to wear braces just to get one tooth in the right place, or could I get one porcelain veneer to do it all? Thanks. Jillian

Jillian– Although Dr. Lim would need to examine your teeth to determine treatment, porcelain veneers are a faster route than braces for accomplishing your goal.

Can You Get Only One Porcelain Veneer?

A porcelain veneer held by dental forceps
Porcelain veneer

Whether you can get only one porcelain veneer depends on several factors. Although only one tooth is misshaped and out of place, the correction might require the placement of more than one porcelain veneer. Your cosmetic dentist will determine how many veneers you need based on these factors:

  • Tooth shape
  • Tooth position
  • Adjacent teeth

When you do not want braces, porcelain veneers can correct a single crooked tooth or several crooked teeth. If your tooth protrudes or sticks out farther than the right tooth, a dentist must lightly shave it first so that the porcelain veneer does not look out of place.

The work you need on your teeth is cosmetic dentistry. The dentist you choose must be an artistic cosmetic dentist. Otherwise, your porcelain veneer can look bulky, be poorly positioned, or not match the color and translucence of your natural teeth.

Porcelain veneers require the preparation of your natural teeth, which removes a small amount of tooth enamel. After a dentist prepares your natural teeth for veneers, they are not reversible but must have a cosmetic restoration to protect them.

Visit one or two skilled cosmetic dentists for a consultation and discuss your options.

Owasso cosmetic dentist Dr. Heng Lim sponsors this post.

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Will I Need a New Veneer or a Crown After Filling a Cavity?

If the tooth behind a porcelain veneer has a cavity, must a dentist replace the veneer with a new veneer or a crown? During my six-month exam last week, my dentist found a cavity in my right incisor. I’ve had my veneers since 2018, so I am concerned that replacing one is overtreatment because they are somewhat new. Thanks. Viviana from Detroit

Viviana,

Dr. Lim would need to x-ray and examine your teeth and veneers for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options. But we will provide some guidelines.

Does a Cavity Require Replacing a Porcelain Veneer?

A single porcelain veneer is held in a dental instrument to show that porcelain veneers are barely the thickness of a fingernail.Whether a cavity behind a porcelain veneer requires replacing the veneer depends on the size of the cavity. Many cosmetic dentists consider ways to save the tooth by building it up with composite so that you can keep your veneer. If your dentist cannot save enough healthy tooth structure to bond a veneer onto your tooth, they may recommend a crown.

Matching a New Crown or Veneer with Surrounding Teeth

Whether you need a new crown or a veneer, it takes advanced cosmetic training and skill for a dentist to match your new restoration with the existing ones. Family dentists have limited skill and artistic inclination to understand how to instruct a dental ceramist to create a veneer or crown that perfectly matches the others and your surrounding teeth.

Schedule a Porcelain Veneers Second Opinion

We recommend scheduling a second opinion with one or two cosmetic dentists to examine your porcelain veneer tooth and x-rays. You can compare each dentist’s recommendations for removing your cavity and whether your veneer must be replaced. After your consultations, you can decide whether you want your dentist to complete the work or prefer another dentist to do it. Regardless of which dentist you choose, they should be concerned enough to determine why you developed a cavity behind a porcelain veneer.

Avoid letting a cavity linger untreated because the decay will spread and require more extensive and costly treatment.

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

 

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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

 

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.

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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.

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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

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
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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?

Thanks,

—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.

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