I have been making plans to get porcelain veneers for months. My regular dentist said it would be fine even though he found a couple really small cavities. Basically he said the cavities would be removed when the teeth were prepared for porcelain veneers. If they needed it, he said he could fill them too, but not to worry that I should still be able to get porcelain veneers.

Fast forward another couple months and my husband’s job required us to move out of state. Needless to say that porcelain veneers has been the last thing on my mind. Anyway, the new cosmetic dentist I am seeing now seems to think I need crowns. He said the decay is too large to support porcelain veneers. He also said I need to have a metal framework to support the crowns. I’m feeling frustrated and wondering if this new dentist is trying to take advantage. Could the decay really have progressed that quickly?

– Bethany in Texas


Tooth decay is tricky. There is no way to know how long it will take for it to progress or exactly how deep it goes. Sometimes it spreads extremely fast, other times is takes months or more. Ultimately it is at the judgement of the dentist examine your teeth in person and also using x-rays if necessary. Different dentists have different philosophies. Sometimes a dentist prefers to be minimally invasive and put off doing a crown. Others are proactive and would like to take care of the decay by using crowns so the tooth doesn’t need to be re-treated down the road.

All that said, there are some things you need to be careful of before proceeding with this dentist. He mentioned metal which means he is recommending porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns for the front teeth. Any excellent cosmetic dentist would not put these type of crowns on front teeth. It is almost inevitable that you will end up with an ugly gray line showing at your gumline as the gums recede. It’s next to impossible to avoid it. Therefore, most expert cosmetic dentists will only do all-porcelain crowns for front teeth. The will look beautiful and lifelike. No one will know you have crowns with all-porcelain.

But is sounds like it may be wise to seek a second opinion. It may not be out of the question to get porcelain veneers. Find a reputable cosmetic dentist in your area. Be sure not to tell him what the original dentist recommended and let him or her make their own opinion about your case. That way you can see if porcelain veneers are a legitimate option for you. Also, you’ll know if all-porcelain crowns are recommended, the new dentist may be the way to go.

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Atlanta cosmetic dentist Flax Dental.