Tag Archives: AACD Accredited 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.

Dental crown looks fake

I’ve had dental crowns before but they’ve always been on back teeth. This is my first one on a front tooth. My dentist did a CEREC crown which was very convenient. I liked that, but for some reason it looks really fake compared to the tooth next to it. It almsot has a painted, dull appearance. Is this typical of crowns? Is there a way to get them to look natural?

Dana

Dear Dana,

CEREC Crown being placed on a tooth
Whether or Not a Crown Looks Natural Depends on Two Things

A crown on a front tooth can look natural and blend in naturally. Whether or not that happens depends on two things:

  • The cosmetic skill of the dentist
  • The materials used

Getting a Beautiful Dental CEREC Crown

CEREC crowns are made of all-porcelain, which is great. Porcelain mimics the appearance of natural teeth by reflecting light. When you get traditional porcelain veneers, they are milled from several different blocks of porcelain.

Our natural teeth aren’t the same all the way down. If you look closely at your front teeth the bottom parts of your upper front teeth are more translucent than the middle parts of your teeth.

Even though it still requires an expert cosmetic dentist to place a dental crown on your front teeth, traditional all porcelain crowns are a little easier simply because they’re milled from several block of porcelain making it easier to get the different levels of opacity versus translucency.

With CEREC crowns, this is more challenging. They are milled from a single block of porcelain. That makes it harder to show the subtle differences in color. Dentists have to be very familiar with color theory and stains to get a front CEREC crown to look natural.

Without that, you end up with a flat looking front tooth as you’re experiencing.

Which Dentists Can Place a Crown on a Front Tooth?

Front teeth are more exposed, making it imperative the dentist has the right skills to match and blend the crown with the adjacent teeth exactly. In your place, I’d only use an AACD accredited cosmetic dentist. Dentists who’ve reached accreditation are the top cosmetic dentists in the world. You can go to aacd.com to find one in a reasonable distance to you.

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

3 Unexpected facts about CEREC crowns

If you’re considering same day crowns, that’s great. They’re useful and convenient. Here are three things your dentist may not have told you yet.

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

They are Not Billed Any Differently

When dentists bill your insurance, they use codes. The codes for crowns, whether you are using traditional crowns or same-day crowns, they’re billed by the material used, not the brand.

While your dentist spent a small fortune on the machine, he is making up on lab fees by having it milled right in the office. This means you shouldn’t have to pay more for a CEREC crown than a traditional crown.

Only the BEST Cosmetic Dentists Can Place Them on Front Teeth

Because they’re milled from a single block of porcelain, they don’t have all the subtleties your natural teeth have. A dentist has to be very versed in color theory and have exceptional skills.

If your dentist is recommending a CEREC crown on an anterior (front) tooth, you need to check their qualifications. Ask to see samples of CEREC work they’ve done on front teeth.

If it’s important to you to have the crown done on the same day, you’ll want to take the precaution of going to a dentist who has achieved accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are the top of their field.

They Don’t Whiten

Often patients decide they want their teeth whiter at a certain point. However, the color made on your dental crowns (CEREC or traditional) is meant to be permanent.

The whitening gel used even in professional teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure. It saves you money in the long run to whiten your teeth before having your dental crown made. This way when the dentist does do it, you’ll have it match the color you’ll be proud of.

It’s not required, of course. You can whiten later. It just means you’ll have to have your crown re-made to match.

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

Fixing Tetracycline stains

I’m feeling a bit desperate here. I’ve had tetracycline stains for as long as I can remember. They’ve always embarrassed me, but for some reason now that I’m older, they seem to embarrass me even more. Like maybe I should have fixed this years ago but haven’t bothered. I finally dragged myself to my dentist about it and he wants to crown every tooth. These tooth are all healthy. I’ve never had a cavity in my entire life. I don’t like the idea of grinding them all down. Is there an alternative?

Beth

Dear Beth,

A tetracycline case done by Dr. Mike Malone

Tetracycline stains are among the most challenging cases a dentist can face. Here’s the crux of the problem. These stains are so dark your dentist has to manage to get the coverage opaque enough to cover them, but translucent enough to look natural and beautiful.

Some dentists try to make up for this challenge by doing dental crowns instead. There are two major problems with this. One is that you’re grinding down healthy tooth structure. The second is that crowns don’t guarantee the darkness will be covered. Then you’re stuck with crowns the rest of your life.

Instead, you want the dentist who’s invested the time in training to develop the skills needed to do this the right way with porcelain veneers.

Finding the Right Porcelain Veneers Dentist

It takes a combination of expertise in color theory and manipulation along with detailed knowledge of the properties in a large variety of porcelains. Only about the top 1-2% of dentists in the country are able to do this with good results.

If you want to get the best results possible, you’ll want an accredited dentist with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists have been extensively screened for both technical skill and artistry.

They’ve passed stringent oral and written exams as well as provided visual evidence of the artistry they’ve accomplished on a large number of required cases.

Anyone of them can give you the stunning smile you want, even with tetracycline stains. Though, it may require driving to another city for the procedure depending on where you live.

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.

What If I Can’t Get Porcelain Veneers?

I’m disappointed with my smile, but my dentist said I can’t get porcelain veneers because I grind my teeth. Is there anything else I can do to improve my smile? I have a gap between my teeth and they are quite discolored.

Mandy

Dear Mandy,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

I think your dentist may be a little confused. If the only issue is that you grind your teeth, there is a way for you to get porcelain veneers. It’s possible that he’s not comfortable doing smile makeovers and rather than admit that he’s trying to discourage you from moving forward with that. Don’t pressure him. You will not be happy with the results.

Here’s what I’d recommend. The first thing I want you to do is to get a second opinion. But, make sure you do it with a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

In all honesty, in order to get the gorgeous smile you’re hoping for that’s the type of dentist you’d want to do your veneers anyway.

If Porcelain Veneers Aren’t an Option

There are some cases, where other work has to be done before you can get porcelain veneers, such as when you have gum disease. In other cases, they’re good candidates, but this type of makeover is just over their budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t get an upgraded smile. Here are some great, affordable options:

  • Teeth Whitening: This is the most affordable way to brighten your smile dramatically. It will make you look years younger.
  • Invisalign: This is a great option to straighten your teeth without anyone knowing your wearing orthodontics. Plus, it works in half the time of traditional orthodontics.
  • Dental Bonding: This can repair chips and gaps on teeth.

As you can see there are many ways to upgrade a smile. However, no matter what you do, you’ll want to protect your teeth, especially after investing money in improving it. If your dentist hasn’t suggested a night guard to you, knowing that you’re grinding your teeth, then it may be time to get another dentist.

This is a simple orthotic device you’d wear over your teeth and it will take the pressure off of your teeth when you grind them. Without this, your natural teeth will eventually be worn down to nubs, requiring you to get each tooth crowned.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic 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.