In Pain After Botched Lumineers

I’m in agony, and in pain. I had Lumineers fitted almost two months ago, and I regret getting them. The “cosmetic dentist” decided to place Lumineers on my six front teeth, and I, like many others, loved this aspect of the no grinding off healthy enamel aspect. This was a big mistake. The “cosmetic dentist” also performed a gum lift, and gums and teeth weren’t too bad.

They look good. People tell me that. But the pain is keeping me from sleeping. It feels like my teeth stick out, and I feel this pressure between them. And my gums are all puffy and red and they hurt. And I brush and floss regularly.

I’m disgusted and angry and would anything to get my teeth back. People say, “If they bother you so much, get them reshaped, not removed.” But I don’t want to go back to her! My question is this, Dr. Hall, if I go to another dentist, have them removed, do I need traditional veneers? I feel lost and confused and angry. Would any cosmetic dentist take over? I haven’t slept in months.
– Kerry from California

Kerry,
Cosmetic dentistry should be a separate specialty of dentistry, but because of politics it never will be. You are a good illustration of why it should be recognized as a specialty.

There is a lot that goes into re-doing a smile. And it sounds like yours was a pretty involved case, with the gum lift and all. There is quite a bit of expertise required to do a case like yours correctly, but because of the lack of regulation of cosmetic dentistry, a dentist can advertise himself or herself as a cosmetic dentist with no extra training whatsoever.

At this point, you need something on the teeth – in spite of what may have been told you, I would not just go back and have these removed. Removing them without damaging the enamel is a very tricky procedure. So this whole idea that the dentist didn’t grind on your teeth so you can just have them taken off is really pretty theoretical.

It does sound like you realize that trying to do this without any previous alterations to your teeth was a mistake. It is actually healthier to have a little enamel ground off so that the margin from where the porcelain ends and the tooth begins is seamless. Your trying to get this done without any alteration of your enamel is part of what got you into trouble. As an analogy, let’s say you have an ugly spot in your lawn. Would you just put a piece of sod over that spot? No, because if you did you would have a ridge where the old grass meets the new grass. You would first remove some of the old grass and then put the new grass in its spot so that you could have a smooth transition from the old grass to the new grass – that would look much better, and it would be healthier for the grass. The same is true with porcelain veneers. The dentist removes a little tooth structure to be able to end up with a seamless margin between the porcelain and enamel.

So yes, the traditional porcelain veneers would probably be the best choice for you. And here’s what happens when you go looking for a Lumineers dentist. Since Lumineers are advertised to the dental profession as being easy to place, you tend to get dentists who don’t really know that much about cosmetic dentistry, and you get horror stories like yours as a result.

You mention that it feels like your upper teeth stick out now. That’s what usually happens with Lumineers. If the Lumineers are just bonded on top of the enamel and there is no teeth reduction, they usually end up being bulky and sticking out some, and they also end up a couple of millimeters longer than your original teeth.

The pressure on your teeth could be from excess cement that hasn’t been properly cleaned off after bonding on the Lumineers, or from improper fabrication of the Lumineers, if they fit too tightly each one against his neighbor.

The gum inflammation can happen easily with Lumineers. What happens is that they end up being a little bulky, as I said, and there is a ridge where they meet the teeth, up at the gumline. Yes, this tends to irritate the gums because it creates a trap for food particles and plaque. And this is why it is actually more healthy to shave away a tiny bit of the tooth and then place the veneer over that. That way, you can have a natural contour to your tooth near the gumline and avoid the food trap.

These should be comfortable, and if something hurts, something is wrong. Yes, a true cosmetic dentist could take this over from where you are, and could actually help you get some compensation from the first dentist, if your case was botched like it sounds it was.

This blog is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Dr. Arthur Chal

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