Faye Walters, a 29-year-old British woman from Buckingham, had always been teased by her classmates when she was little for having severely-yellowed teeth. She received her first set of porcelain veneers at age 15, and when her dentist told her that they were no longer fitting her teeth properly, she made an appointment to get replacements so that she could smile with confidence on her wedding day, which was just a few months away.
There seemed to be no problems with the new replacements, until Walters bit into a bagel and one veneer “completely shattered.” Walters was shocked when she looked in the mirror at the exposed tooth and saw that it was black, and starting to rot.
Another veneer soon cracked, and one natural tooth even shattered. Although Walters was accustomed to seeing her natural teeth quite discolored, she was not prepared to find that every tooth in her mouth was covered in plaque, and many had begun to blacken and rot under the veneers.
“I found one [qualified cosmetic dentist] and when he saw my teeth, he was horrified and said it was the worst case of its kind he had seen in his 25-year career,” Walters explained.
“The new dentist told me the veneers had not been fitted correctly and there was a gap between my gums and the veneers, which meant bacteria was getting in and eating away at the bond which holds everything together.”
According to Walters, who had experienced no problems with her first set of veneers — or with the dentist who fitted them — her second set of veneers had not been fitted properly because the dentist wasn’t properly qualified to perform the procedure.
“Unfortunately, as in any profession, there are professionals that perform treatments that they have not been formally trained, particularly in aesthetic dentistry,” says Dr Christine Koval, Koval & Koval Dental Associates. “Cosmetic dentistry is very technique sensitive. I have been witness to quite a few failed aesthetic cases. It is crucial that the dentist have advanced training in bite issues, adhesion/bonding techniques, aesthetics and solid impression taking so the ceramist has an ideal replica of the teeth to be fitted. I would also like to express whether it is cosmetic in nature or not, your dentist should be attending at least 50 hours of continuing education per year to keep up with our wonderful technology.”
Although it took five months of painful treatments on her teeth and gums — and over £7,000 too — Walters was luckily able to treat her severe case of gum disease and have all of the veneers replaced in time for her wedding day in September of 2014.
Walters states that she finally decided to make her experience — and the photos of her blackened teeth — publicly known so that future cosmetic dental patients won’t make the same mistake in going to an unqualified dentist for dental “treatment.”