After veneer revision, front teeth are darker in certain lighting. Should I just have those 2 replaced? (photo)

I got veneers 22 years ago and had them replaced 2 years ago. The veneers kept coming off so I chose to have them all capped. The shape and color are beautiful except for the two front teeth. They are darker in certain lights than the other ones. When looking directly at a light they look the same color but when I am in dim light or not looking directly at the light, they are darker. Should I just have those 2 replaced? Why are they different colors only in certain lights and look perfect in other lighting? I had them all done at the same time so they would all look the same.

Doctor Answers 4

My veneers appear darker in dim lights...

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Based on your photos, your veneers look really nice in bright light, but only slightly dimmer in dim light, as you've described.  The slightly darker appearance is likely due to the material that was used.  
I understand that all of the veneers are likely the same material, but the two central incisors are a lot bigger and thicker than your other veneered teeth, so they are less likely to allow low levels of light to pass through.  If you want to correct this, you can consider having the two front veneers redone to match in shade.  Personally, I do not think people will notice much, but it's all about what makes you happy, so it should be exactly like you want it.
Veneers are what I do, so follow me to ask more questions.
Sarah Thompson, DMD


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There is a possibility that the preps of the teeth themselves are darker on the two front teeth and as a consequence they may show through the crowns in certain light, especially if the crowns are all porcelain like EMAX or EMPRESS. If for example you had root canal treatment on those two teeth, the preps of the actual teeth under the crowns may have darkened over time, or you may have dark metallic posts in those teeth. You may have to have new crowns with Zirconia veneered with Porcelain.
If dark tooth structure is not the issue, then the lab my have somehow made those two crowns darker. You could try to have just those two replaced but that may make matching the shade to the other crowns difficult. Although this can be done, it will be easier if the lab is available to match these crowns by being able to see your other front teeth in person. This can be done by the lab technician coming to your doctors office or by you visiting the lab that is doing the work.

My two front teeth look different in different lighting conditions

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In a perfect world, dentists could recreate the teeth with enamel and dentin.  However, the best tools we have to work with are porcelain.  However, porcelain is not enamel and dentin, and thus under different lighting conditions may look different.  This concept is called metamerism, and there is a long explanation of it in the web reference below.
One thing I see in the second photo, is that your lip hangs down more than normal over your front two teeth, and that, in itself, will make the teeth look darker.  Anything in a shadow (your teeth from your lip) will appear darker (darker, lower value).
What might be the answer you are looking for (other than the lip shadow effect just mentioned) is to have the crowns and veneers replaced with a more opaque porcelain, which will appear lighter/whiter/higher value in darker lighting conditions. However, when doing that you lose some of the natural translucency that makes the teeth look more "real".  Thus, you may have to choose, whiter teeth or teeth that look more "real."

Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Dentist

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Dr Sherri Worth DDS

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Dr Sherri Worth DDS on Veneers. They are a great restorative option. They are a fairly noninvasive and conservative procedure that will last approximately 10 to 20 years.

Sherri Worth, DDS
Newport Beach Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.