I have been wanting to improve my smile with porcelain veneers for awhile now and I was disappointed when my dentist told me that I’m not a candidate. I was told that since my top teeth cover my bottom teeth that they won’t work. So, instead he is recommending that I get six porcelain crowns on my top teeth instead.
I have been embarrassed of my teeth for far too long because I have tetracycline stains, and I was under the impression that I could still get porcelain veneers. I didn’t anticipate my overbite being an issue.
So, I’m wondering if it’s worth seeing another dentist to get a second opinion or if the overbite is a deal breaker. Also, if I did go ahead and get the crowns, would it look weird since the bottom teeth would be a different color? Is it possible to match the bottom teeth color to the new crowns on top?
I am feeling deflated right now and wondering if I will ever have a beautiful smile.
-Pam in Illinois
Thank you for reaching out. Like they say, always listen to your gut. Your instincts are right to question the dentist’s recommendations. You don’t want to get all of your top teeth replaced with crowns. A crown covers the entire tooth and the natural tooth is ground down, whereas a porcelain veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that is placed over the front surface of your tooth.
Dental crowns are a much more invasive procedure than veneers. And if the teeth are otherwise healthy, a large portion of the natural tooth structure will be removed in the preparation process. Usually it is a procedure to save a tooth that is damaged, cracked or has decay.
The notion that an overbite excludes you from getting porcelain veneers is also off base. In fact, porcelain veneers actually make a lot of sense for an overbite since all the work is done on the front surface of the teeth.
What you may be experiencing is that your dentist may not have a lot of experience in cosmetic dentistry. Many patients may not realize it either. They go to the dentist and trust that the recommendations that are given are correct. But, the fact of the matter is that not every dentist will be skilled enough to do beautiful cosmetic dentistry. And since it’s not a regulated field within dentistry, anyone can make the claim to be one. It is also possible that your dentist has a greater comfort level with crowns than veneers. He may not have the necessary training or experience required to be successful with veneers. Or, he may not be very experienced in treating tetracycline stains, which can complicate things. However, stating that you are not a porcelain veneers candidate due to overbite is incorrect.
Tetracyline stains require a lot of skill in cosmetic dentistry to cover them correctly. In fact, it is one of the most difficult smile makeover cases to get right. Not just any family dentist can do this level of care because it requires extensive experience with cosmetic dentistry.
Another indicator that your current dentist is missing the mark is the number of crowns recommended. Doing just six would leave your smile looking unnatural and uneven, since typically eight to twelve teeth show when you smile. This all depends on how big your smile is but having six of them done just wouldn’t look right. Therefore, it sure sounds like your dentist may be in over his head with your case.
It is definitely in your best interest to get a second opinion from an expert cosmetic dentist. You want to learn about their credentials and more specifically, their personal experience in working with patients with tetracycline-stained teeth. When you are in the hands of a qualified cosmetic dentist, porcelain veneers may still be an option to fix your smile.
There is nothing wrong in sticking with your family dentist for regular cleanings, exams and routine care. But, you need to see the best cosmetic dentist you can find in your area for a tetracycline case. If Chicago isn’t too far, there are many reputable cosmetic dentists available. And there is no problem in getting multiple opinions and recommendations. The single most important factor in beautiful cosmetic dentistry is trust. So, if you have any reservations, there is likely a reason for that. And it sounds like that is what happened with you here.
Lastly, it is possible to get your lower teeth to match the upper teeth. Certain types of teeth bleaching are much more effective for tetracycline stains, so it also depends on the severity of the discoloration on your bottom teeth. If it is severe, then Kör deep bleaching system is a good option to provide decent results.
The first step is to find the right cosmetic dentist for you. Again, thank you for reaching out sooner than later. Fortunately, you didn’t move forward with the crowns and you can get back on track to get a smile you will be proud to show off.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS