I’m wondering if there’s a direct composite veneers technique that will allow a dentist to match what he’s doing to my existing porcelain veneers. I had my top center teeth done about five years ago and they are full porcelain—there’s no metal or anything below it. However, I recently chipped the one to the left of those and I cannot afford to have a full porcelain one done. Instead, I’d essentially like to sandwich the two porcelain ones with something the dentist can do in the office.
I ran the idea past my dentist and he said it wouldn’t work—that because they’re different materials in a prominent area, they’d never look right next to each other. He suggested that I either wait until I can do porcelain or have the current ones removed and then have them all done with a direct composite veneers technique to match. He says the porcelain ones I have now probably only have a couple years left in them anyway, so I might as well get them replaced now. I’m a little apprehensive about the whole thing though. Moreover, I’m told insurance won’t cover any of this because it’s cosmetic, so I’m on the hook for the whole bill. I certainly want it to look natural, but I also don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it either, especially if I’m going to have to have it all redone on some kind of routine basis. What’s my best bet here?
You’re right to be apprehensive. First, it’s a little odd to be talking about taking off porcelain and redoing it this early in the game. Unless there’s something wrong with them, it’s best to leave them in place.
As far as matching goes, this is a common complaint among dentists who lack aesthetic skill. Your dentist probably can’t make them match, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be matched. There are many direct composite veneers techniques that could work here, but the key is going to be in finding the right materials and getting the layering and translucency done right. It sounds like you’re probably being treated by a general dentist. You’ll have more luck with a cosmetic dentist; someone who has undergone additional training to home in their artistry.
In terms of the insurance, that’s not entirely accurate either. You’ve said your tooth is chipped. That means it has a mechanical issue, which is different from a cosmetic issue, and is usually covered by insurance. When you get set up with a different dentist, ask them to request a preauthorization or predetermination of benefits from your insurance company. They’ll likely cover the chipped tooth and may offer benefits for the others if the issues extend beyond appearance. Best of luck to you.
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