Category Archives: Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic Dentistry Tourism Disaster

I had porcelain veneers placed on my top teeth and a dental implant and crown on my bottom arch. In the U.S. it would have cost me over $60,0000 but I was able to get it done overseas for around $11,000. At first, I was pleased as punch, but now I’m four months out and the veneers are falling off. I’ve been cutting up the food the way he showed me and not eating with my front teeth at all. In fact, the last one fell off while eating spaghetti. That’s hardly anything to stress about. Three of the veneers have fallen off. They’re all intact. Do I need to have these re-done or can another dentist put them back on?

Catrina

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental tool

So, here’s the thing. Those instructions your dentist gave you about eating are a huge red flag to me. There is absolutely no reason why you should have any restrictions at all on what or how you eat. When properly bonded on, porcelain veneers will allow you to eat anything.

This dentist doesn’t know proper bonding technique. That alone, makes me question the skill of the rest of his work. For health and safety reasons, I’d like you to get a second opinion on the dental implant and crown you had done. This is especially important about the implant. If an infection develops it can lead to serious consequences.

Regarding your fallen porcelain veneers. You mentioned they’re still intact. In that case, it is possible an expert cosmetic dentist could clean them up and get them bonded back on properly. However, this is beyond the skill of almost all cosmetic dentists. You will need someone in the top 2%.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t really taught in dental school so you’ll need to look for someone who invested the time and training into doing it well. In your place, I’d look for a dentist who has reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are in the top 1% of dentists. You can find them listed on aacd.com. Just make sure they’re accredited. They will know the right procedure to help you with your porcelain veneers.

The cost to get them bonded back on properly shouldn’t be too bad, if they can be saved. If they can’t be, these dentists will give you a list of options and let you determine which way you want to go.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

“Reputable Dentist” Destroyed My Smile

I had an accident which caused me to need a crown on a front tooth. I was nervous about this because it’s my front tooth. Everyone will see it. I looked up many dentists in my community to see who was highly reputable. I found one which everyone seemed to love. The first crown he did wasn’t even close to matching the other front tooth. Even he said he needed to do it again. The second one was closer, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. He was and was going to place it anyway. Fortunately for me it didn’t fit. He went back for a third run and when that one didn’t fit he told me I’d need orthodontics. I gave up at this point even though I have a horrible temporary crown which doesn’t fit right. I need help but I don’t know what to do. Help me please.

Tanya

Dear Tanya,

close up of teeth

These stories make me both sad and frustrated with the dental industry sometimes. First, you should know that a reputable dentist and an excellent cosmetic dentist can be two very different things. There are two different mindsets at play here. In dental school, we’re taught that the dentist knows best. Cosmetic dentists have a different mindset. They feel unless the patient is satisfied (in fact, more than satisfied), they haven’t properly done their job.

Dentists who haven’t done extensive training in cosmetic work see this as pandering to the patient.

All that being said, matching a dental crown to a single front tooth is a very challenging thing even for the best cosmetic dentists. In fact, if your smile is important to you (and it sounds like it is) you will want a dentist with both technical expertise and artistry.

Believe it or not, one of the teeth in the picture above is a dental crown. I bet you can’t tell which one. That’s the type of results a true cosmetic dentist gets.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

The easiest way to find a top of the line cosmetic dentist is to go to aacd.com. This is the website for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. They have a find a dentist link. However, you don’t just want someone who is a member. Any dentist can become a member. You want to find a dentist who is accredited.

In their search options, there is a box to check that you’re looking for an accredited dentist. These dentists have passed stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrated their artistry in a large number of cases they’ve done.

Anyone of them are more than capable of matching your front tooth with a perfect physical and aesthetic fit.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Does Cosmetic Work “Grow on You”?

I’m trying to make a big decision. I paid a fortune to get porcelain veneers. These were supposed to be my dream smile. My dentist and I went over exactly what I wanted and he seemed to think it would be wonderful. When they came in, they looked fake. He wanted to bond them on but I could tell by how they looked when he showed them to me I wasn’t going to like them. I asked for a try-in. I’d read about those. He allowed me to do that and it confirmed my fears. They looked fake, bulky and chalky white. I told him I didn’t like them. He said that’s a common reaction because patients aren’t used to how they look with the new “teeth”. He said they’ll grow on me and I’ll come to love them. I told him I need to think about it. I’m just not sure I want a smile that has to grow on me. I was expecting one I’d love. Be honest with me. Am I overreacting? Will it grow on me?

Maggie

Dear Maggie,

Woman covering her mouth with hand.
A smile makeover from a great cosmetic dentist will make you want to share your smile—not hide it.

You are certainly NOT overreacting. In fact, you’re being pretty understanding given the circumstances. You were also wise to have asked for a temporary try-in of your porcelain veneers. If he’d have bonded them on, it would have been permanent.

My first thought is your dentist isn’t a true cosmetic dentist. There are a few things which draw me to this conclusion. First, when he said, “that’s a common reaction”, I was glad I wasn’t drinking anything because I would have spit it out. Maybe with his patients that is a common reaction, but it’s certainly not so for artistic cosmetic dentists. Most of the time their patients are absolutely thrilled with the results.

That leads me to the second reason. When a skilled cosmetic dentist does have a patient that isn’t thrilled, they certainly wouldn’t tell them they would “get used to it”. They go back to the drawing board. They wouldn’t stop until the patient was absolutely in love with their new smile.

The third reason is he didn’t suggest trying them in first. YOU had to suggest that. I would give him a couple of choices. First, he could give you a refund and let you have your smile makeover done by a more skilled cosmetic dentist or he can re-do the case until you are satisfied with the results.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Let’s say you decide you want to go to a different cosmetic dentist. How do you go about finding the right dentist who can actually design the smile of your dreams?

The easiest way is to do that is to use the search link on the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s website (aacd.com). When you use their search tool, make sure you check that you’re looking for an accredited dentist.

These are the ones who proven both their technical knowledge and artistic ability.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Matching a Crown on a Front Tooth

I needed to get a crown on a front tooth. The first one came back way too white. He sent it back and tried again, but the second one he looked at it and said, “That’s better.” then proceeded to bond it one without me seeing it. When I got home, I realized it didn’t match the other tooth. What do I do?

Lacey

Dear Lacey,

A tooth receiving a dental crown
To match a crown to a single front tooth takes an expert cosmetic dentist.

The procedure you need, matching a single crown to your other front tooth, is an extremely advanced procedure. Only the top cosmetic dentists can do it. Even the best will usually charge up to 40% more for a crown on a front tooth. That’s because it regularly takes four or sometimes more try-ins before it is matched completely to the adjacent front tooth.

There are two things your dentist did which make me think he’s not a skilled cosmetic dentist. First, he thought two tries was enough. A truly skilled cosmetic dentist will not be satisfied with anything less than perfection. He would do it over and over again until they matched.

Second, he permanently bonded on your dental crown before letting you get a look at it. He didn’t want to risk you saying it didn’t look right so he tried to take away your ability to say so. You have two choices in getting this fixed.

Finding the Right Cosmetic Dentist to Fix This

You really do need an expert cosmetic dentist if your dentist isn’t willing to put forth the effort for excellence. I’d look at the American Academy for Cosmetic Dentistry’s website (aacd.com). They have a section which allows you to look for a cosmetic dentist.

You need an accredited cosmetic dentist. These are the cream of the crop. Not only are they capable of matching a single crown, but they won’t be satisfied until you are.

If money is a factor, you may want to see if your dentist is willing to get it right at no additional cost. But, if it’s not a huge factor, you’re better served to find a better cosmetic dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Should I Have Gone to a Cosmetic Dentist for a Root Canal?

Both my sister and I received root canals within the last year. My dentist put a crown on mine, which meant filing down the tooth to a nub. It’s not that attractive either. It’s toward the back so isn’t completely visible but it still bothers me. My sister sees a cosmetic dentist. When he did her root canal, he put a porcelain veneer on hers. It looks so much nicer than mine and she hardly had any of her tooth structure removed. Did I make a mistake not going to a cosmetic dentist?

Betty

Dear Betty,

Porcelain crown on left and porcelain veneer on right

You should know there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, which means every cosmetic dentist is just a general dentist who prefers to also do cosmetic work. However, before we get into choosing a dentist to do cosmetic work, let’s talk about a root canal restoration.

Whether or not you get a dental crown or a porcelain veneer restoration depends on a few things. First, the location. If it’s a back tooth, a crown is more important. After a root canal, a tooth becomes more brittle. The crown will protect it from the biting forces which affect your back teeth.

If it’s on the front teeth, you may have a choice. Most of the time crowns are done because there was so much decay on the tooth there is not enough structure left for anything but a crown. However, if the tooth needed treatment because of trauma and is still fully intact, then you could get a porcelain veneer. This is more effective because of the type of forces your front teeth undergo.

However, you’re talking about getting a porcelain veneer on a single front tooth. This requires a cosmetic dentist with superior aesthetic skills.

When You Need a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist

Most of the skills required to do a beautiful smile makeover are not taught in dental school. The dentist has to invest post-doctoral time in learning the skills required. However, there is an aspect that can’t be taught— an artistic eye.

Like any art form, there are different skill levels. So, how do you find the right dentist? The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry realized the quandary patients found themselves in. To remedy that, they began an accreditation program.

To become accredited, dentists have to pass stringent oral and written exams. Additionally, they have to provide evidence of a list of cases they’ve done showing they can give beautiful results. Any AACD accredited dentist can give you a gorgeous smile makeover. They can also match a single porcelain veneer to the rest of your teeth.

If you’re ever in the need or porcelain veneers, make sure you go to aacd.com and find an accredited dentist in your area.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Cosmetic Dentistry Disaster

My dental bonding for a chipped tooth needed to be replaced. I had a new dentist who suggested I get porcelain veneers instead. He’d do four so they could match. Then, when he saw one of them had a cavity, he said I’d need crowns. So, now I have four crowns on my very front teeth and even though he said he had to do four in order for them to match, the two very front teeth look a weird grayish color. What do I do?

Valerie

Dear Valerie,

Porcelain Veneer being placed on a tooth

There are so many things which went wrong here I hardly know where to start. First, any dentist who says you have to do more than one crown or veneer is not a qualified cosmetic dentist. Yes, it takes skill and artistry to match a single front tooth, but isn’t that what you’re paying them for when it comes to remaking a smile—skill and artistry?

Second, you can still have porcelain veneers bonded to a tooth which has a cavity as long as that cavity isn’t so large that it would require a crown under normal circumstances. That would have prevented you from having to grind down healthy tooth structure.

Sadly, the only way to do this is to have the two front teeth re-done. Hopefully, he’s the type of dentist who cares about the quality of his work and will be willing to replace the crowns free of charge.

However, that’s not enough. You need to make sure he’s willing to get a professional try in the paste. These are clear enough to show the color of the underlying teeth on them, giving you a clearer picture of what the crowns will look like once they’re permanently bonded. Then, he needs to let you try them in and get a good look them in several types of lighting and you’ll approve them before they’re bonded.

If he’s not willing to do that, you aren’t likely to get any better results. In that case, it’s in your best interest to find an expert cosmetic dentist.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentists

Unfortunately, now that you’ve had crowns placed, you have to replace them with that forever. However, a skilled cosmetic dentist can give you gorgeous porcelain crowns. There are two places you can look to find a qualified cosmetic dentist in a reasonable distance from you. The first is at AACD.com. Do a search for an accredited cosmetic dentist. You need to check that you want them to be accredited and not just a member. There’s a difference.

The second is mynewsmile.com. This site only lists artistic and skilled cosmetic dentists who can give you a beautiful smile. You’ll be safe with anyone on their list or anyone who’s been accredited.

Best of luck to you.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Crowns for Tetracycline Stains

I’ve consulted with two dentists in my desire to improve my smile. I’ve got tetracycline stains which have embarrassed me for years. I’ve spoken to two dentists. One suggested porcelain crowns. The other suggested I get porcelain veneers. Is one a better treatment than the others?

Ariana

Dear Ariana,

Brunette woman with beautiful smile
Beautiful smiles require great dentists!

It’s great that you’re doing your due diligence. To help with this, I want to shift the way you’re approaching this just a bit. While I do have a treatment that I think is better than this and will tell you which it is, the more important decision is what type of dentist do you need.

Tetracycline stains are among the most difficult type of cosmetic issues to treat. Whichever procedure you decide on has to be opaque enough to cover the stains and translucent enough to be beautiful. It takes a truly skilled cosmetic dentist with an artistic eye to create the type of smile you’ll want.

As for the procedure, porcelain crowns can be made to be beautiful. But, it’s quite aggressive. You’re removing healthy tooth structure for no reason. From then on you’ll be stuck with crowns. You can never go back. The only dentist that would recommend crowns for a smile makeover is one who’s not comfortable placing porcelain veneers. That alone tells me he’s not a skilled cosmetic dentist. You should pass.

Now just because the other dentist picked porcelain veneers, doesn’t mean he’s a skilled cosmetic dentist. You’re going to have to check.

Finding a Skilled and Artistic Cosmetic Dentist

It’s almost impossible for a patient to distinguish the skill of one cosmetic dentist from another without doing hours of research. Fortunately, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) does that for you. They have an accreditation program that helps patients to know what dentists can offer a beautiful smile guarantee and really provide it.

I’m going to suggest you go to aacd.com and look up accredited dentists in your area. If you don’t have one in your immediate area, it is truly worth it to travel a bit for the smile of your dreams.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Cosmetic Dentist Versus the Lab

Why is it you’re always hearing patients need to find a phenomenal cosmetic dentist to get their smile makeover when in reality 99% of dentists send the work out to a lab to do? The “great cosmetic dentists” are often more costly. Couldn’t I find a great lab and ask a mediocre dentist to send the work to them?

Misty M.

Dear Misty,

Brunette woman with beautiful smile
Beautiful smiles require great dentists and great labs!

This is a very astute question. It seems logical that this would be a great way to get around costly cosmetic dental work. For instance, it’s the sculptor that matters, not where the sculpture is sold. Unfortunately, the analogy doesn’t work completely for dental care. The lab is dependent on the skill of the dentist and vice-versa.

The dentist does all the tooth preparation and planning. First, their need to be quality impressions made which are sent to the lab. The preparation of the tooth also has to be done precisely. These are absolutely essential to a successful case.

Next comes the prescription. A better analogy would be for this situation would be, does the quality of the doctor matter when it’s the pharmacist who provides the medicine. If the doctor diagnoses the problem wrong, there’s no way you’ll get better, even if the pharmacist follows his instructions perfectly.

It’s the dentist who gives detailed instructions about the shade map of the final result. This includes the surface texture, the degree of translucency, a mock-up of the final result, and many other details. Once the porcelain veneers or crowns comes back from the lab, the dentist checks everything over and makes sure it was done properly or whether it needs to be sent back to the technician.

Finding a Great Cosmetic Dentist

Finding a great cosmetic dentist is much easier now thanks to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. They set up an accreditation program to help patients find the cream of the crop when it comes to cosmetic dentists.

Those seeking accreditation have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate their artistry on a large list of specific cases, showing that it’s their own work. Any dentist who becomes accredited through the AACD is an artistic dentist with skills that can provide you with a gorgeous smile. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Does Teeth Whitening Require a Specialist?

I think I’m ready to get my teeth whitened. I keep hearing you have to go to a certain expert dentist for cosmetic work. Is that right? What type of dentist do I need?

Caryn

Dear Caryn,

Teeth Whitening trays
Teeth Whitening Trays

While it’s true in some cases you have to choose your cosmetic dentist carefully, teeth whitening isn’t one of those procedures. It’s fairly simple. The dentist is their mostly to design custom-fitted trays along with keeping an eye on the health of your teeth and gums throughout the procedure so no complications pop up.

As we get older, we accumulate stains. That gives our smile an aged appearance. Teeth whitening is a fantastic way to brighten up your smile and give you a much more youthful appearance.

When is an Expert Cosmetic Dentist Necessary?

There are procedures which sincerely need to be done by a dentist with significant post-graduate training. But, beyond that, they need to be artistic. The procedure that is the most important is porcelain veneers. These require some significant training both in technique and artistry.

It’s hard for patients to know which dentists are artistic and which aren’t. You can have two dentists do the very same smile makeover and achieve vastly different results. There are many horror stories about cosmetic dentists ruining a patient’s smile.

How Can a Patient Find an Expert Cosmetic Dentist?

The easiest way to find an expert cosmetic dentist is to go to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.com) and look for an accredited dentist in your area. Accreditation is completely different from membership.

To reach accreditation, dentists have to pass stringent oral and written exams. In addition to that, they have to demonstrate a large number of cases they’ve personally done to demonstrate their artistry. They’re among the best cosmetic dentists in the country. You’d be pretty much guaranteed a gorgeous smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Solutions for Tetracycline Stains

My twin sister and I both have tetracycline stains from some medicine we took when we were young. She decided to get something done about them. I kind of wanted to wait until I saw how hers turned out. She went to her family dentist. He crowned all her upper teeth and whitened the bottom teeth. He told her the bottom teeth wouldn’t look exactly like the top because tetracycline stains are hard to whiten. We were prepared for that. The crowns took him a couple of tries before he got something my sister was happy with. Though she likes them, I’m not too thrilled with them. To me, they’re so opaque they look like the porcelain you’d find in a bathtub. Is there a way to get it more natural looking? Yes, I know it’s still better than my teeth, but I’m wondering if a different dentist could have done a better job.

Morgan L.

Dear Morgan,

Porcelain Veneer being placed on a tooth
It takes an expert cosmetic dentist to treat tetracycline stains beautifully.

It takes an expert cosmetic dentist to create a beautiful solution for tetracycline stains. Most cosmetic dentists don’t have the technical skill and artistry necessary. It is among the most challenging of cosmetic cases. Because the tetracycline stains show through tooth structure, both natural and manmade, most cosmetic dentists go too far the other way, as your sister’s dentist did. They make them so opaque to cover the brown of the stains, their teeth end up looking like bathroom porcelain.

That doesn’t mean your case will have to turn out that way. In fact, I’m sad to say, those dentists who are highly skilled in their field spend a great deal of their time fixing subpar cosmetic procedures other dentists have done. We’ve had patients come to us from other offices in tears begging Dr. Malone to fix their smile.

I’m curious as to why your sister’s dentist used crowns on all her teeth. Did she have issues on them which required crowns? I don’t understand why he’d remove so much tooth structure if her teeth were otherwise healthy. Generally, I’d use porcelain veneers to cover tetracycline stains. This only requires mild shaving on the front of the tooth.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Even if there were a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, every dentist’s skill level and artistic eye vary. How in the world is a patient to know if one cosmetic dentist is better than another? Would you even know what to ask if you had an opportunity to interview the dentist ahead of time? Of course not!

This is exactly why the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) formed. They wanted patients to have a resource where they could find expert cosmetic dentists. Any cosmetic dentist can join as a member, however, they have an accreditation program.

If a dentist is AACD accredited, they’re in the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the country. They’ve passed stringent exams, both oral and physical. They’ve also had to demonstrate their artistic ability by giving examples of a large number of specific cases they’ve personally performed.

I’d go to their website and look up which AACD accredited dentists are near to your area. It’s worth it to travel just a little if you need to.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.