I love my dentist and have been seeing him for years. I was talking about how my smile felt dingy and he recommended porcelain veneers. So, I didn’t hesitate and ended up getting getting a porcelain crown and several porcelain veneers. I have to admit, I am pretty disappointed. The crown and veneers don’t blend in together. Basically, the crown is much whiter than the surrounding porcelain veneers. Did the lab mess up? I paid a lot of money and I want to know if it is possible to get them to match.
– Cheryl in New Mexico
Unfortunately, it sounds like your dentist may not have much experience in cosmetic dentistry. Most general dentists don’t have the artistic eye that is required to create beautiful smiles. It takes extensive training beyond dental school in order to achieve the required skills. Most patients are surprised to learn that there is no special designation for cosmetic dentistry. So, any dentist can place porcelain veneers. Most patients will take a dentist at their word. But, for cosmetic dentistry, you need to do a more research. Check the dentist’s credentials, ask to see before and after images of cases similar to yours and find out how many successful cases they have done.
There are some color concepts that are hard to grasp if a dentist doesn’t have the right training. The manipulation of the translucency and gradation is difficult to get right and there are a lot of things to consider with the bonding agents and techniques. Not all family dentists have the passion for aesthetics that is a must for natural-looking, beautiful results. A general dentist typically is focused on the function of dentistry, while a cosmetic dentist is more like an artist. Many dentists think their skills are good enough, but the end result is subpar.
Porcelain is translucent by nature, which is why it is used to mimic the look of natural tooth enamel. However, the porcelain veneer itself is very thin, about the same thickness as a fingernail. This differs from a porcelain crown, which is much thicker and is made to fit over the top of a prepared tooth. So, if the underlying teeth are discolored, the cosmetic dentist must account for how the color will show through the veneers. That is likely what is going on here and why your porcelain crown appears much whiter.
An excellent cosmetic dentist will plan for this situation. They would make sure the porcelain is modified so that all of the cosmetic dentistry will look natural after it is placed. Or another technique is to apply opaquer to your teeth so there is no concern after they are in place. The opaquer is usually applied before the veneers and crown are sent to the laboratory for final fabrication.
It is also possible to add opaquer to the porcelain itself. But, this requires quite a bit of skill by the laboratory to ensure the end result is exactly how the cosmetic dentist prescribes it. The translucency will also need to be uniform on both the veneers and the crown. A beautiful result is possible, but requires a thorough understanding of expectations between the dentist and the lab. If this is going to work, there is a lot of coordination, communication and photographs exchanged. Then, it may require some twerking to make sure the end result is perfect.
Many expert cosmetic dentists prefer to apply the opaquer because they have more control over the end result. So, to answer your question, yes it is possible to achieve matching porcelain veneers and a porcelain crown. It sounds like your dentist lacked the experience to get it right.
At this point, you may need to get a second opinion from a reputable cosmetic dentist in your area to learn more about what your options are. You deserve a beautiful smile, especially since you have invested so much. Unfortunately, once the veneers and crown are permanently placed, the work may need to be redone.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS.