I got porcelain veneers done several months ago to fix some gaps in my smile. I noticed a little scratch or what looks like it could be a divot on one of the porcelain veneers on my front tooth. So, I went back into my cosmetic dentist and he said he could buff it out to take care of it. But, after he did that, I can see that the protective glaze is gone in that area now. Basically, it doesn’t look shiny or natural. The area he ‘buffed’ out looks like a matte finish. I’m not exactly sure what tool he used, but it wasn’t a proxy-jet. It was some kind of dental instrument that had cups on it with a thin polishing piece.
The problem is that now I’m concerned that the area he buffed will be susceptible to stains. I thought the glaze was on the veneers to protect them. So, now I’m trying to figure out if the whole porcelain veneer needs to be replaced. I have to assume this is somewhat of a common occurrence. I’m hoping there is another fix than having to get it replaced.
The area still feels smooth when I run my tongue over it. But, when I look closely at it, I can see that the area looks different. Do you have any advice about how I should proceed?
-Shawna in Nebraska
Thank you for reaching out. To start off, it is important to clarify that even if a dentist claims to be a cosmetic dentist, it doesn’t ensure they have any extra training beyond dental school. This becomes difficult for a patient because of course you want to trust that your dentist has the skill required to do the work that is proposed. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Less than two percent of cosmetic dentists have the high level of skill required to do beautiful cosmetic dentistry work. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a designated specialty area within dentistry, so this means any dentist can call themselves one. Now, we aren’t trying to see your dentist is not a true cosmetic dentist, but from what you have described it doesn’t sound like they knew how to handle the scratch on your veneer. It takes extensive training beyond dental school and a love for creating beauty to be an excellent cosmetic dentist. Think of it like this – a general dentist is trained to fix some sort of diagnostic problem, and a cosmetic dentist is more like an artist. They are passionate about creating beauty.
Now, let’s address the issue you are dealing with here. With the matte finish in the area of the porcelain veneer that was buffed, it will definitely be more susceptible to staining. It is possible to polish a porcelain veneer and get it back to that original-looking luster that will blend in well with the original glaze. Polishing a porcelain veneer requires specialized equipment like a diamond polishing instrument, as well as some polishing paste. Then, an ultra-fine diamond polishing paste will put the finishing touch on it.
If you are pleased with the work done on your porcelain veneers to date, then it’s probably fine to continue seeing this dentist to get the shine fixed. The recommended system to use in order to get the shine you are after is called the Brasseler’s Dialite porcelain polishing system.
Honestly, you shouldn’t be the one having to make recommendations to your dentist on how to address this issue. So, it may be wise to seek a second opinion by an expert cosmetic dentist in your area.
Thank you for your question. Hopefully, this will be helpful as you get the porcelain veneer repaired.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS.