Category Archives: Cosmetic Dentist

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.

Hate Mail Over Cosmetic Dentistry

I saw a post to Dr. Hall of mynewsmile.com where someone was complaining over the prices of cosmetic dentistry. Saying it was unfair to middle-class families who can’t afford such prices but still want beautiful smiles. Being in Louisiana, whose economy has suffered greatly after the hurricanes and oil spill we’ve suffered recently, I was interested in his response.

Why is Cosmetic Dentistry so Pricey?

A woman with a gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone
A gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone

The price generally depends on two things: the type of procedure you have done and the skill and artistry of the dentist who does it.

For example, if you’re getting dental bonding done, it would cost considerably less than something like porcelain veneers. The materials are different and the results don’t last for as many years as the veneers.

As far as the skill of the dentist is concerned, there are dentists who spend years in post-graduate training developing their artistic skill. They put equal time and detail work into creating the most beautiful smile they can for your which takes up a significant amount of time they could have spent on other procedures.

What Happens if You Go to a Cheaper Cosmetic Dentist?

Every dentist works out their own pricing. But some, with less training and artistry, will lower their prices as a means of drawing patients in. You’ll get porcelain veneers alright, but they likely won’t be what you were expecting.

There are many cosmetic dentistry horror stories by patients who had to go to a second dentist to get the work re-done because their “affordable dentist” gave them a disaster of a smile. Dr. Malone has had to fix quite a few patient’s smile makeovers who came to him in desperation after their dentist botched the work.

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

Can a Cosmetic Dentist Fix Spaces Between My Teeth?

I have some spaces between my teeth that I want fixed, but I don’t want metal braces. Are there cosmetic options?

Fiona L.

Dear Fiona,

A woman with a gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone
A gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone

You have quite a few options to fix the spaces between your teeth. If you want to close the spaces, you have options other than traditional metal braces. Invisalign is a brand of orthodontics which uses invisible aligners to straighten your teeth. They’re very effective, working in less time than traditional braces.

The aligners have the benefit of being able to double as teeth whitening aligners. That way you can whiten your teeth and straighten them at the same time.

Cosmetic Dentistry Options for Closing Teeth

  • Tooth bonding: Depending on the size of the gaps between your teeth, dental bonding is a fantastic, fairly inexpensive option for you.
  • Porcelain veneers: If there are other things you want to change about your teeth, then veneers are your best option. They can change anything—the shape, size, color, and character.

Choosing your Cosmetic Dentist

If you choose the cosmetic option over the orthodontic option, it’s important you choose your cosmetic dentist carefully. You want to make sure the smile you get will be a beautiful one. Not every dentist can pull that off. It takes both technical knowledge as well as an artistic eye. It’s very challenging for patients to know who is capable of that type of advanced cosmetic work.

Because of that, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) started an accreditation program. It’s designed to test dentists on their technical skill and their artistic ability. There are stringent oral and written exams and they have to show a series of cases they’ve done of specific procedures to make sure they create not just technically proficient but gorgeous as well.

If you want a beautiful smile, go to an AACD accredited dentist.

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

What’s the Difference Between a Cosmetic Dentist and a General Dentist?

I can’t seem to figure out the difference between a general dentist and a cosmetic one. My dentist is a general dentist but he also does cosmetic things like teeth whitening and Lumineers. Is there a difference or do they just label themselves for the kinds of patients they want to draw and do both kinds of work?

Sandy M.

Dear Sandy,

A ugly cosmetic smile and a pretty cosmetic smile

There is no difference as far as a specialty. There isn’t a recognized specialty in Cosmetic Dentistry with the American Dental Association. Any Cosmetic Dentist is actually just a general dentist who also does cosmetic work.

That being said, there is a huge difference regarding quality and beauty that varies from dentist to dentist and it doesn’t matter which label they use. A good example of this is the image above. Both smiles are of the same woman and both smiles had the same type of dental work done. On the left, she had dental crowns. On the right, she had dental crowns. The only difference is the dentist.

The dentist on the left didn’t understand what materials to use to give her a natural looking smile. He technically knew how to make and bond dental crowns and is likely a decent general dentist. But, if you want anything appearance related it will take someone with both technical skill and artistry. That’s what the dentist on the right had.

Fixing Botched Cosmetic Dental Work—A New Industry

Most patients would be surprised how much business comes to high-quality cosmetic dentists, like Dr. Mike Malone, because they are fixing botched cosmetic cases. I suspect your dentist isn’t a high-quality dentist. The only reason I’m saying that without seeing examples of his work is his reliance on Lumineers. These are generally marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. But, the results are often opaque and bulky. So, how do you not end up with a smile makeover disaster?

If I were in the market for a complete smile makeover with porcelain veneers, I’d look for a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). There is a difference between being a member of the AACD and an accredited member. Any dentist can pay the fee to join. But, to become accredited, you have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate your artistry in many, many recent cases.

They’re among the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the country. If you’re looking for a beautiful smile, they’ll create one for you. In fact, many of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

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

What’s a Better Cosmetic Procedure: Crowns or Veneers?

I want to improve my smile. I went to my dentist to discuss getting porcelain veneers. He said they’re not as good as everyone makes out and I’d get a better smile with porcelain crowns. I’m a little worried about that idea because I’d lose so much tooth structure. But, if they’re better I guess I should go for it. What do you think?

Emma T.

Dear Emma,

A gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone
A gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone

If you want a gorgeous smile, what matters more than the material is the cosmetic dentist you have do the procedure. However, that being said, I can tell you right now your dentist isn’t the right one because of the material he’s trying to talk you into.

Porcelain veneers are as good as they say…when the right dentist does it. Your dentist is probably suggesting crowns because he doesn’t have enough experience with porcelain veneers. He doesn’t want to admit that so he suggests a procedure he is good with, porcelain crowns. But, you’re right to be concerned. Why would you want to grind down perfectly healthy tooth structure? Porcelain veneers don’t do that. They only require mild tooth preparation.

How Do You Choose a Cosmetic Dentist?

The easiest way to choose a cosmetic dentist is through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). They have an accreditation program. Dentists who reach accreditation level are among the top cosmetic dentists in the world. They have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate their artistic abilities and quite a few cases they’ve done on patients. They’ll certainly give you a gorgeous smile. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

What if there’s not an accredited dentist near you? Not having someone who’s reached accreditation level in your area doesn’t mean you can find a highly skilled cosmetic dentist. Some dentists are in the process are obtaining accreditation but already give gorgeous smiles. I’d check the mynewsmile.com website. They recommend highly skilled and artistic cosmetic dentists only some of which have already passed the accreditation exams.

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

Is There a Poor Man’s Smile Makeover?

I’ve been waiting for years for my financial situation to change so I could get a smile makeover. Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not going to change anytime soon and I’m really tired of hating my smile. I can’t afford porcelain veneers. But, hoped there’s such a thing as a poor man’s smile makeover.

Missy E.

Dear Missy,

There are several things you can do to improve your smile on a budget. Which procedures you do, depends on what bother’s you about your smile.

If it’s just the color, teeth whitening can totally remake your smile affordably all while taking years off your appearance. It can be done in one appointment at your dentist’s office or over a period of time at home with custom made whitening trays from your dentist.

If you have minor chips or gaps, you can have dental bonding done to repair them. Of course, if changing the whiteness of your teeth is still in the picture, you’ll want to do that first. The color of the bonding can’t be changed once it’s completed, so you’ll want to match it to already whitened teeth.

Another option is Invisalign. It’s a way to orthodontically straighten teeth without using traditional metal braces. It can be done without anyone knowing you’re doing it. A bonus feature is the aligners used for Invisalign can double as whitening trays, so you can straighten and color your teeth simultaneously, saving you additional money.

Invisalign and whitening can be done by just about any dentist. Dental bonding, however, requires a cosmetic dentist with some artistic ability. It’s done freehand and your teeth change in depth and translucency as you move down the tooth.

If your financial situation ever changes and you want a blow out the room type of smile makeover, then you’d get porcelain veneers.

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