I had four porcelain fused to metal crowns done on my front teeth years ago. I wanted to update my smile. I went to see one cosmetic dentist who was voted as one of the best cosmetic dentists in our area, but he was out of my budget. Plus, he wanted to do four crowns and four porcelain veneers covering eight teeth and I really only need the four crowns done. I went to my family dentist who assured me I’d get a smile I’d love. This hasn’t turned out to be the case. The crowns he made are too short and you can’t even see my teeth, which makes me look ancient. I also think the color looks greenish, which he said, “Is the color I picked.” I’ve been back several times trying to get this right. The last time they actually said to me, “You’re expecting perfect teeth, which is unrealistic.” Well… duh. That is why someone does cosmetic dentistry. I don’t know what to do at this point.
You are running up against a philosophy taught in dental school but corrected in post-doctoral institutions that teach cosmetic dentistry. In dental school, we’re taught the dentist always knows best and you don’t want cosmetic work to look perfect. Those dentists who invest in serious cosmetic dental studies know it is about how the patient wants their smile to look.
Another problem you are running up against is that doing smile makeovers isn’t taught in dental school. A dentist has to invest in that post-doctoral training in order to know how to do it well. My guess is your family dentist hasn’t done that. I also don’t think you’re going to get anywhere with him on making this the way you want it. That isn’t just because of the attitude. It’s also an issue of his ability.
You can ask him for a refund. He did assure you that you’d get a smile you love and he hasn’t been able to provide that. What you’ll need to do from there is find a true cosmetic dentist. It isn’t a recognized specialty so it is hard for patients to know who has invested in the training and who hasn’t. The best cosmetic dentists are accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. That is different than just being a member. To get AACD accredited, the dentists have to not only pass stringent exams, but demonstrate their artistry with visual evidence of a large number of cases they’ve done.
As to the other dentist who is suggesting you also get four porcelain veneers, he is probably doing that so your smile will match. Most smiles are much wider than just four teeth. One other way to accomplish that is to whiten your teeth, which is recommended anyway so your bottom arch will blend well. See if he’ll let you do that instead of getting veneers and crowns.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.