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The Most Common Problems With Veneers

Patients often seek dental veneers - svelte shells crafted from porcelain or composite resin - to transform smiles and correct dental imperfections such as chipped, discoloured, or misshapen teeth. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, veneers come with their own set of potential problems. Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors often helps those who have suffered from clinical negligence relating to cosmetic treatments, and veneers are no exception.

In the following blog post, we explore the considerations you should make before deciding to undergo the dental veneer procedure and what you may be able to do if you think you have been subject to dental negligence.

The Procedure of Getting Dental Veneers

Having veneers properly installed is a process that involves several stages. These include an initial consultation, during which the patient's suitability for the procedure is evaluated, followed by the preparation of the teeth, which often entails the removal of a thin layer of tooth enamel, and finally, the bonding of the custom-made veneers to the patient's teeth.

At every stage, clear and open communication between the patient and dentist is crucial. The dentist must fully understand the patient's desires and expectations and the patient, in turn, must understand the process, potential results, and associated risks. Miscommunication or misunderstanding during any phase can lead to dissatisfaction and can potentially give rise to legal implications.

Understanding the Risks of Dental Veneers

The risks of getting veneers may range from the medical, such as increased tooth sensitivity or gum disease, to the aesthetic, including poorly matched colour or ill-fitting veneers. Informed consent refers to the ethical and legal principle that mandates a patient's understanding and agreement to the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives of the procedure before it commences. By consenting to undergo the procedure, a patient accepts that there may be some side effects of the dental procedure, but this requires that the dental surgeon takes adequate steps to ensure that the patient is informed before they consent to anything.

The Different Types of Veneers

When deciding to have veneers installed, patients can often decide between several different types. In the UK, these typically include:

  • Porcelain veneers: these are the most common type of veneers and are made from thin layers of porcelain.
  • Benefits: porcelain veneers are highly durable and can last up to 10 to 15 years with proper care. They have a natural-looking finish and are resistant to staining.
  • Drawbacks: they require the removal of some of the tooth's structure, which is an irreversible process. Additionally, they can be more expensive than other options and, if broken, usually need to be fully replaced.
  • Composite veneers: these are made from a tooth-coloured resin, the same material used for dental bonding.
  • Benefits: composite veneers are less expensive than their porcelain counterparts and require less tooth preparation. They can often be applied in a single visit, and minor damages can be easily repaired.
  • Drawbacks: they are less durable and do not resist stains as well as porcelain veneers. They typically have a shorter lifespan, generally around five to seven years.
  • Lumineers: Lumineers are a brand of veneers made from a patented type of porcelain known as Cerinate.
  • Benefits: Lumineers are ultra-thin and highly translucent, which allows for a very natural appearance. They require minimal to no tooth preparation, making the process reversible.
  • Drawbacks: they can be more expensive than traditional veneers. Also, because they are so thin, they might not cover darker teeth as effectively as traditional veneers.
  • Palatal veneers: these veneers, made from either gold or composite, are used for the inner surfaces of the upper teeth, mainly for treating tooth wear.
  • Benefits: palatal veneers are an effective treatment for tooth wear and are robust and durable.
  • Drawbacks: they are not used for aesthetic purposes as they are placed on the inner surfaces of the teeth. Gold palatal veneers, while highly durable, can be more expensive

It is also possible to get temporary veneers, but these do not come with as many of the permanent benefits and drawbacks as permanent options.

The Most Common Problems with Dental Veneers

Tooth sensitivity: the process of veneer application often necessitates the removal of a thin layer of tooth enamel, which can leave teeth more vulnerable to temperature extremes, resulting in heightened sensitivity. A well-informed dental practitioner should always discuss this potential side effect with the patient, outlining preventative measures and management strategies to alleviate sensitivity.

Poor colour matching and aesthetic issues: poor colour matching can result in veneers that stand out starkly against the natural teeth, creating the opposite of the desired appearance which may negatively impact the patient's self-esteem. Choosing an experienced dentist with expertise in colour matching and aesthetic considerations is critical.

Problems with fit or bonding: veneers that do not adhere properly or fit well can cause discomfort, impact speech, and pose potential oral health issues. If the veneer application process isn't conducted with precision, the consequences can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, which might constitute clinical negligence.

Cracking or chipping: veneers, despite being relatively durable, are not completely invincible. They can chip or crack under certain conditions. Factors such as the patient's diet, oral habits, and the quality of the dental professional's work all play a role in preventing or causing such damage.

Over-contouring and under-contouring: these issues refer to the improper shaping of the veneers. Over-contoured veneers are too bulky, while under-contoured ones lack sufficient volume. Both can affect the patient's satisfaction and can lead to oral health issues.

Professional Responsibility and Patient Care

The role of a reputable and experienced cosmetic dentist in preventing these common problems cannot be overstated. They possess the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the procedure with utmost care and precision.

During the healing process, veneer patients should make sure to take the following precautions:

  • Good oral hygiene: it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene practices. This means brushing at least twice a day, ideally with a with non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste, and flossing daily. This will help to keep the veneers and natural teeth healthy.
  • Avoid hard foods: in the initial healing period, it is wise to avoid hard foods that could potentially chip or damage the veneers. Stick to softer foods and gradually reintroduce harder foods into your diet once the healing period is over.
  • Avoid stain-causing substances: while veneers are stain-resistant, the bonding cement used to fix them to your teeth can be susceptible to staining. In the early stages after the procedure, try to avoid drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: shortly after getting your veneers, your teeth may be sensitive to extreme temperatures. Avoid very hot or very cold drinks and foods during this time.
  • Regular check-ups: make sure to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist. These appointments will allow your dentist to examine your veneers, ensure they are still correctly placed, and identify any potential issues early on.
  • Avoid grinding and clenching: if you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, especially at night, discuss this with your dentist. They can provide you with a protective night guard to help protect your veneers and natural teeth.
  • Tobacco and alcohol: tobacco can cause veneers to stain over time, and alcohol can weaken the bonding agent used. Try to avoid these substances to maintain the longevity of your veneers.

What to Do When Things Go Wrong

In cases where a patient has suffered due to negligence related to their veneers, they might be eligible to make a claim. To be eligible to do so, a patient must fulfil several criteria:

  • Proof of negligence: in order to make a claim, the patient affected will need to prove that the dentist or cosmetic surgeon has been negligent in their duty of care. This could mean they failed to perform the procedure to a reasonable standard, did not provide adequate aftercare, or did not fully inform you about the risks involved.
  • Damage or harm caused: you will also need to demonstrate that the negligence directly caused damage or harm. This could be physical (for instance, unnecessary pain, tooth damage, or infection due to the procedure), psychological (such as severe emotional distress or development of anxiety or depression), or aesthetic (poor appearance of the veneers leading to self-esteem issues).
  • Time limit: typically, a negligence claim must be made within three years of the date when the negligent act occurred or when you first became aware that you have suffered an injury or harm. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as in cases where the patient lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves or the patient was under 18 when the treatment was done, so it is best to consult with a legal professional to clarify this point.
  • Financial impact: if the negligence has caused you financial loss - for instance, needing to take time off work for recovery or additional treatment, or needing to pay for corrective treatment - this can also strengthen your case.

Legal proceedings can be intimidating, but with our dedicated team at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, it need not be. We have a proven track record in representing patients who have faced complications from cosmetic procedures due to clinical negligence.

Understanding the potential problems with veneers and your legal rights as a patient is an essential part of considering this dental veneer treatment. It is essential that you conduct thorough research and consult trusted professionals before making any decisions. And, should you find yourself dealing with a veneer problem due to clinical negligence, contact Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors for expert legal guidance.

Call us today on 0808 291 1162, or fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time convenient for you.

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Russell Sutton is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding dental negligence cases. Russell's commitment to his clients is unmatched, as he empathises with the emotional and physical toll that dental negligence can take on people’s lives.

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