I just left my cosmetic dentistry appointment with several porcelain veneers and one porcelain crown. I’m willing to give it a little time, but my first impression is that they don’t look like they match or blend in together. I think the crown looks whiter than the veneers. Shouldn’t the dentist have been able to do a better job making my smile look natural? I spent more than I wanted to and I feel like I should get my money’s worth. I have always liked my dentist. Maybe the problem is with the lab?
-Jamie in Washington
This is a common problem when general or family dentists try to provide cosmetic dentistry services to their patients. Although cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty area within dentistry, it truly does take extensive advanced training and skill to do beautiful work. General dentists come from a mindset of problem-solving and function, where a cosmetic dentist is more artistically, aesthetically inclined.
The issue you are having with the crown appearing whiter than the porcelain veneers may be due to the thickness of the restoration. Porcelain is a translucent, excellent material for cosmetic dentistry because it mimics the look of a natural tooth. Both your crown and veneers are made from this material. Although, porcelain veneers are much thinner than a crown. So, it is possible there is some underlying color from your natural teeth showing through the porcelain veneers.
This issue could have been solved, had you seen an accredited cosmetic dentist or expert cosmetic dentist to start with. The porcelain could have been better matched from the beginning. Or the dentist could have applied what is called opaquers to the teeth prior to applying the porcelain veneers. Whatever the case, it takes a very high level of skill on the part of the cosmetic dentist. The opaquers needed to be added to the veneers to be opaqued in a way that makes them to be translucent to match the crown. This method requires a lot of coordination and communication between the dentist and the ceramist.
Many excellent cosmetic dentists would have dealt with the opaque issue during the tooth preparation stage. A bit more of the dark tooth could have been removed during the preparation and than an opaque layer of composite applied directly to the teeth. At this point, it would be in your best interest to consult with an excellent cosmetic dentist. It wouldn’t be wise to go back to your family dentist and attempt to explain any type of recommendation. It sounds like cosmetic dentistry may be beyond his ability. You can still see him for all your regular, routine dental care. But see an expert to remedy your mismatched smile makeover.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS