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My dentist wants to put Lumineers over my gold crowns

I have interviewed a local dentist regarding Lumineers for 22 teeth. He has voluminous picture albums and seems to know his stuff, however, he has told me that there is no problem with him covering two gold crowns (30yrs in my mouth) that do show when I smile wide. He said the Lumineers will adhere to the gold, on the side of the upper molars. Is this really true, or am I asking for problems? He also advertises heavily on the radio. I don’t see his name in any cosmetic referrals or from Lumineers. Name is Dr. ——, —- —–, FL. It will be $1,000 per tooth (special price) and I can’t afford to be taken. Any info on him and my gold question?
– Linda from Florida.

I’m glad you e-mailed me. Several red flags here. Let me point them out:
1. Advertising as a Lumineers dentist. A good cosmetic dentist, if he or she even does Lumineers, will caution you that at best this will give you a “B” smile. It’s a compromise even for a patient that is an ideal Lumineers candidate. For some patients, the results of Lumineers, with their recommended no-prep technique, will be a “D” smile.
2. A “special price.” This isn’t something that quality dentists do. That’s more appropriate for a used car salesman.

3. “No problem” covering two gold crowns. Yes, you can bond porcelain to gold, but the “no problem” line sounds unrealistic. A good dentist tell you the pros and cons of doing this and let you make an informed decision. For example, don’t expect that bond to last forever. It will weaken over time and after that the Lumineer may fall off. Plus, it will require a strong opaquer to be used to block out the gold, which will make the Lumineer even thicker and will make it look fake. Plus, crowns have a lifespan and when the crown needs to be replaced the Lumineer will also. These crowns are 30 years old and may be close to needing to be replaced. Plus, for about the same fee a dentist would be able to replace the gold crown with a porcelain one, which would look much more natural and would last much longer.

Let’s say you had a yellow shirt that was eight years old, but you didn’t like how it looked and wanted the same shirt in red. And let’s say you could dye it red for $20. But some of the yellow might show through, and you didn’t know how long the shirt would last. Then let’s say you could buy an identical brand new red shirt for $22. What would you think of the store clerk who didn’t discuss all your options simply because he had a greater profit margin on the dyed shirt?

I looked up this dentist’s website, and checked out the before-and-after photographs of Lumineers cases. In general, they are awful in my opinion. The first guy in the smile gallery, his teeth in the after photograph looked too big for his mouth. They stick out so that they protrude a little past his lower lip. But that is a typical result with Lumineers – the teeth look bulky and opaque rather than natural. And all the teeth on him and in most of the other photographs look opaque and fake.

I can see you spending $22,000 and then crying over how your teeth look. For the same fee, a great cosmetic dentist could give you a beautiful smile. Keep looking, and beware of the dentist who does not share with you pros and cons of various treatment choices, who makes everything sound wonderful. And remember that Lumineers is just one brand of porcelain veneers, and most expert cosmetic dentists feel that there are other brands that look much nicer.

Good luck to you.

This blog sponsored by Naperville cosmetic dentist Dr. David Newkirk.