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Hate the Look of Smile Makeover

My wife has always hated her smile. It’s obviously never bothered me as I married her, but I wanted her to feel as happy about her smile as I am. Recently, I came into some money and wanted to surprise her. On her anniversary we went to a dentist who said he was a cosmetic dentistry specialist and provided her with six porcelain veneers. The problem is we don’t like them. They are way too big and bulky and they look kind of chalky instead of natural. We talked to the dentist about it who said they were beautiful and we just weren’t used to the new pretty look of her smile and to give it time. Aside from being insulting, we did not “get used to it”. Now that it looks like things are starting to open back up from the quarantine, we’re wondering if we have any way to get this made right when dental practices open back up.


Dear Danny,

A porcelain veneer being placed

There are a few things going on here. First, you should know there isn’t a recognized cosmetic dentistry specialty. Any general dentist can do cosmetic dental work. If he claimed he was a specialist, that may work in your favor. Though, it may be hard to prove.

Based on how you’ve described your wife’s smile makeover, I wonder if your dentist provided Lumineers. These are a brand of porcelain veneers that are often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. However, in the hands of a dentist with inadequate training in smile makeovers, they tend to end up looking bulky.

The problem you’ll run up against in getting your dentist to give you a refund is the dental standard for cosmetic work is that it is functional. If that is the case, it is usually up to the dentist’s sense of pride in his work that determines whether you can get a refund or not. If you can prove he said he was a literal specialist as opposed to an expert, it could help because that would be a misrepresentation.

I’d start by appealing to his sense of ethics. You paid for your wife to have a beautiful smile and she should get one. I don’t know that you’ll get a better result from him, so just ask for a refund.

Finding a True Expert Cosmetic Dentist

One of the problems with there not being a recognized specialty is it makes it challenging for patients to find a dentist who knows how to create beautiful smiles. Add to that the fact that dental schools do not teach how to do smile makeovers and that means it is up to the dentist to invest in the training necessary. With Lumineers, to get “certified”, dentists just have to take a weekend seminar. It does nothing to give them the real skills necessary.

One thing I always recommend to patients who ask me for a recommendation for a cosmetic dentist that lives too far away to see Dr. Newkirk is for them to look on mynewsmile.com. That site is run by a retired cosmetic dentist who screens every dentist who wants to be listed on the site. He checks both their post-doctoral training as well as their artistic ability. Any dentist he approves is able to create a stunning smile for your wife. They are among the best cosmetic dentists in the country.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.