I suffered from bulimia for most of my teen and early adult years. Even though I’ve recovered, much of my body holds reminders of those days. One of the things that bothered me most was my smile. A lot of my teeth had worn away, so that even when I did want to smile, I’d find myself continually covering my mouth. I asked my dentist how we could fix the appearance of my teeth and she suggested we do porcelain veneers. I have to say that at most angles, they were absolutely beautiful and the procedures went as expected, but shortly thereafter, literally within weeks, my porcelain veneers began to fall off one by one. I’d go in and have it fixed, only to have another one pop off a day or two later. At this point, I don’t know how many times I’ve been back in, but I know this isn’t right. What should I do?

Thank you,

Amber in Washington

Dear Amber,

First off, congratulations on your healing and success. Bulimia recovery is a difficult process. It’s commendable that you’ve beaten it and taken steps to lead a healthier life. There are multiple reasons why your porcelain veneers could be failing. However, if you don’t grind your teeth and the porcelain veneers look and feel okay, the issue very well could be the tooth bonding.

The material most often used to bond porcelain veneers to your teeth holds strongest when it adheres to enamel. Bulimia destroys enamel, though the damage is usually worse on the backs of your teeth. However, it can also eat away at the enamel on the sides of your teeth as well, removing the protective layer of enamel and leaving you with an exposed under layer of dentin. Porcelain veneers depend on a strong bond at the edges to seal out leakage and hold firm. So, if there was extensive damage to the sides of your teeth, traditional bonding methods won’t work.

Unfortunately, this also means that you probably weren’t a good candidate for porcelain veneers to begin with. If this is the case, the best solution is to have full porcelain crowns made to restore all of the damaged teeth. These will hold better and will also protect the backs of your teeth which have the most damage. Since you’ve already begun with one dentist, it’s best to have a discussion with her and ask if this could be your issue and see if she will make you full crowns instead. If not, get a second opinion from an expert cosmetic dentist.

More About Porcelain Veneers

This post is sponsored by Atlanta cosmetic dentist Flax Dental.