Why are my porcelain veneers turning gray?

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Two of the porcelain veneers on my front teeth are turning gray. I don’t know if that’s the best way to describe what’s happening, but they definitely don’t look the same as when they were originally placed, only a few months ago. One of the two is much darker and it seems like the discoloration might be showing through from underneath it. When I asked the cosmetic dentist about it, he suggested that the veneers need to be made thicker. Does that sounds right? I’m not sure I’m confident in his recommendations at this point. I look funny, with some white veneers, a couple gray ones and then my real yellowish teeth that surround the cosmetic dentistry. The cosmetic dentist has already replaced one of the other porcelain veneers because it wasn’t straight. Please tell me you have some answers.

-Sandra in California


Well, it’s always difficult to give exact recommendations without having seen your case in person. Although, it may be time to listen to your intuition about the doubts you’re having. There are a couple cautionary flags going on off here. First, the porcelain veneers shouldn’t have been crooked. Also, the coloration on your teeth, whether they are your natural teeth or the porcelain veneers, should be uniform. An excellent cosmetic dentist will meticulously match the veneers to the surrounding teeth. These are some indicators that he may not be a true cosmetic dentist with the extensive training and experience required to do beautiful work. The problem is, any dentist can claim to be a cosmetic dentist. So, it can be difficult for the average patient to navigate.

Another issue here is the cosmetic dentist’s recommendation to have the gray porcelain veneers to be made thicker. That isn’t the way to go about addressing what’s going on here. It may be time to begin asking for a refund or a partial refund, since you sound less than satisfied with the work. Then, go see a cosmetic dentist in your area that has experience in creating beautiful porcelain veneers. Ask about their credentials, ask to see similar cases to yours and check out their portfolio of work, as a starting point.

You need to be prepared that an expert cosmetic dentist may want to completely start over. The first step will likely be to get teeth whitening done for your natural teeth. Then, once your desirable color is reached, the veneers can be made to blend in seamlessly. Opaquer can be used if the underlying tooth is part of the issue that is creating the gray veneers. Or, it is possible that the tooth may need to be better prepared. Another option comes from the side of the dental laboratory. An opaque liner, may be the answer. But that requires extensive experience and communication from the cosmetic dentist and the lab. So, focus on finding the best cosmetic dentist. Then, trust that the cosmetic dentist will make the correct recommendation. Thicker is not the answer.

There are several possibilities that might have caused your porcelain veneers to turn gray to begin with. Micro-leakage is a possibility if the dental bonding wasn’t done correctly. Or it is possible that the glazed surface of the veneers might have been compromised. When porcelain veneers are done correctly, by a skilled cosmetic dentist with the proper bonding techniques and technology, the color will remain stable for years to come. They should not change color at all if they are properly maintained, especially after such a short time.

Good luck to you as you get this figured out. Hopefully, your original dentist recognizes that fact that he may have been over his head and you will be able to find the right cosmetic dentist to give you the beautiful results you expect and deserve. Thank you for your question.

This post is sponsored by Lexington cosmetic dentist Hamburg Expressions.