Category Archives: Cosmetic Dentist

3 traits of a great cosmetic dentist

I plan on getting a smile makeover. I keep hearing the dentist is the key, but how in the world do you know if you’ve got the right key?

Amanda

Dear Amanda,

Brunette woman with beautiful smile
Beautiful smiles require great dentists !

You’ve asked a great question and doing so will save you a great deal of agony. There have been countless cosmetic dentistry horror stories of patients from another practice who came to us in tears needing their “smile makeover” fixed.

The problem most patients run up against is there is not a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry. That means any general dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist if they dabble in one or two cosmetic procedures.

Unfortunately, to get great results in cosmetic dentistry, it takes a lot more than dabbling. Here are three important things to look for in a cosmetic dentist.

Trait One: Empathy

This one is hard to quantify, but you can quickly tell if a dentist has it or doesn’t. Dr. Hall calls this trait, “The root of a good cosmetic dentist.” They know you want a beautiful smile and they will make sure you get one you can be proud to share.

In general dental school, dentists are taught they know better than the patient. Cosmetic dentistry is different. It’s the way the patient sees their smile that matters. They’d never let a patient leave unhappy and will make any changes necessary to make sure it is the smile of your dreams.

Trait Two: Training

How to do stunning smile makeovers isn’t taught in dental school. It requires a dentist’s willingness to invest in extensive post-doctoral training. They’d invest time and money in continuing education at reputable institutions.

Trait Three: Artistry

Smile makeovers are a type of art form. As with any art, some artists are better than others. The evidence isn’t necessarily in the art school they went to but the results of their work. Never hesitate to look at a cosmetic dentists smile gallery to see what type of results they get.

Especially look for specific examples of the procedure you’re getting. if you want porcelain veneers, ask to see those pictures. If you have tetracycline stains, see what type of success they’ve had covering those.

Where to Locate Dentists with these Traits

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry realized the predicament patients were in locating a great cosmetic dentist. Because of that, they began an accreditation program so dentists with the right skills could have a way of letting patients know.

They have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as provide visual evidence and a large and varied number of cases demonstrating their artistry.

If you’re really looking for the best, go to aacd.com and do a search for an accredited cosmetic dentist.

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

Can You Receive Cosmetic Dentistry If You Have Sensitive Teeth?

Photo of a middle-aged blonde woman smiling, for information on cosmetic dentistry despite sensitive teeth - from Lafayette, LA cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone.
Cosmetic dentistry is possible, even if you have sensitive teeth

Many people who have sensitive teeth are concerned about receiving cosmetic dentistry. They don’t want the treatment to affect their teeth in a way that increases sensitivity. If your teeth are sensitive, should you be concerned about whether or not cosmetic dentistry is for you?

Before you receive cosmetic dental treatment of any kind—including teeth whitening, dental crowns, or porcelain veneers—your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to ensure they are healthy. If you’re experiencing sensitivity in your teeth, the cause of it will be identified first.

What Causes Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is common. There are several possible causes. The issues should be addressed before you receive cosmetic dentistry.

  • Exposed dentin – Dentin is the tissue beneath the tooth enamel. If the enamel is worn or decayed, sensitivity and pain can occur. And cold food or drinks, even cold air, can increase sensitivity. There are several factors than can cause enamel to wear away. Acidic foods and drinks, brushing your teeth too vigorously, or grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel.
  • Receding gums – Gum tissue protects tooth roots. When gums recede, the roots are exposed, and this can cause tooth sensitivity. Gum disease, genetics, or hormonal changes can cause gums to recede. Aggressive teeth brushing can also cause gum recession.
  • Trauma – Impact to your face and teeth can cause internal damage to your teeth. A tooth doesn’t have to break or crack for the pulp, or living tissue inside the tooth, to be disturbed. Irritation in a tooth can disturb the nerves and create sensitivity.
  • Teeth clenching or grinding – These habits put pressure on your teeth and can cause sensitivity and pain.

Can You Receive Cosmetic Dentistry?

After the causes of sensitivity in your teeth have been reasonably controlled, you should be able to receive cosmetic dentistry. Depending on what type of cosmetic treatment you receive, if left untreated, the sensitivity in your teeth could increase. If genetics are a factor, your dentist will take that into consideration and tailor your treatment accordingly.

How Can You Help?

  • Replace abrasive toothpaste with toothpaste for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne.
  • Avoid aggressive brushing and use a soft bristled toothbrush.
  • Let your dentist know if you clench or grind your teeth. A custom nightguard can be made for you to wear to relax your jaw and decrease the pressure in your teeth and jaws.

Cosmetic dentistry can still be an option for getting the smile you’ve always wanted, but take care of your oral health first.

This post is sponsored by accredited cosmetic dentist Mike Malone, D.D.S. in Lafayette, LA.

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.