The past year has been an immensely frustrating experience with porcelain veneers that keep falling off. My dentist repeatedly bonds a veneer back on when it falls off, but it seems that another one falls off within a few months. This has happened three times. I suspect that before this year ends, all eight veneers will have fallen off at least twice.
When I received the veneers in the fall of 2019, my dentist said they would last 15 to 20 years. It makes me nervous to think that I will have this experience for the next 14 years. My anxiety level is high whenever I return to her office. When she removes a veneer, I can no longer look at the tooth behind it because the veneered teeth look like small pegs. Although my dentist said she wouldn’t take off much tooth enamel, I don’t think I have any enamel left.
My dentist prescribed ten Ativan tablets for whenever a veneer falls off. She advised me to take one about an hour before the appointment for anxiety. I am insulted that my dentist thinks sedating me is the solution to her sloppy work. It is probably time to switch dentists, but with teeth that are small pegs, I wonder if another dentist can do any better. What is the best way for me to handle this situation? Thank you. Huong from Seattle
We are sorry to hear about your experience with porcelain veneers. It seems that you have realized that what is happening is not normal, and it is best to get a second opinion from an advanced cosmetic dentist. Your dentist’s approach is questionable in several areas.
Preparing your teeth for porcelain veneers
Advanced cosmetic dentists conservatively prepare teeth for porcelain veneers—removing a half millimeter or less of tooth enamel. Conserving tooth enamel for porcelain veneers has several advantages:
- Smoothness – Conservative preparation avoids a bump at the margin where the veneer meets your gumline
- Stability – Dental cement that bonds porcelain to your teeth adheres to tooth enamel better than dentin—the layer beneath the enamel.
- Healthier – Bacteria more readily seeps behind veneers bonded to dentin and promotes decay
Careful preparation can affect how long your porcelain veneers last. For details, read our post: How long do porcelain veneers last? Mine broke within two years.
Preparing teeth for porcelain crowns
Although crown preparation is more aggressive than preparation for veneers, preparing teeth for crowns still requires a conservative approach. Otherwise, the crowns will not stay on. When a dentist prepares a tooth correctly, a proper retention form will keep it secure even with dental cement.
Your dentist’s aggressive preparation of your teeth was too much for crowns or porcelain veneers, so your veneers are loose and falling off. Looseness allows saliva and bacteria in, promotes decay, and can contribute to bad breath.
Sedation with Ativan
After 24 hours, half the dose of Ativan is still in your bloodstream. It can take a couple of days for your body to eliminate the drug. Many dentists commonly use Halcion for sedation, which lasts about three hours—enough time for a dental appointment. It seems that your dentist’s sedation techniques are also too aggressive for bonding a veneer back on.
Is your dentist liable?
Your dentist is legally liable for your veneers for these reasons:
- Grinding your teeth down to numbs for porcelain veneers that will not stay on
- Compromising your oral health—your teeth risk breaking
- Providing unstable dental work—your veneers fall off
Some options are reporting your experience to the state dental board, consulting a malpractice attorney, and submitting negative reviews about your experience. But those actions will not restore your smile. You need help from an advanced cosmetic dentist.
Schedule a porcelain-veneers second opinion
We recommend finding an accredited cosmetic dentist for a second opinion, followed by an exam. The dentist will explain your treatment options for correcting your smile makeover. Your new dentist might be able to help you get a refund.
But your oral health and how you feel about your smile are most important. Search for accredited cosmetic dentists with a lot of experience. You can schedule two consultations if it will increase your confidence that you are choosing the right dentist. Ask each dentist how many cases like yours they have handled.
Accredited Fellow of cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Brian LeSage, sponsors this post. Dr. LeSage has developed and published a classification system for porcelain veneers preparation.
For more information on the dangers of over-preparation for porcelain veneers, see our post: I need a root canal on a porcelain veneer tooth.