Tag Archives: AACD Accredited Dentist

Invisalign AND Porcelain Veneers?

I had asked my dentist for ten Lumineers. I have one crooked tooth but I heard veneers can make that look straight. What I’m really after is a brighter smile, plus masking that one tooth. My dentist said he’d like me to do Invisalign and then porcelain veneers. He also said he didn’t like Lumineers because they’d make my teeth look bulky but would give me a different brand. I’m not crazy about spending money on both treatments. Do you really think this is necessary?

Catherine C.

Dear Catherine,

Image top: A woman putting on her Invisalign aligners. Image bottom: a woman smiling with Invisalign on her teeth

I’m a little confused here. On the one hand, what your dentist says about Lumineers is true. They tend to make the teeth look bulky. Plus, their lab is sub-par in following the dentist’s directions properly and rarely give gorgeous results. That tells me he has a decent understanding about at least that brand.

However, his other instructions make me think he’s not a skilled cosmetic dentist unless there’s something you’re not telling me about your bite. Generally, a cosmetic dentist would recommend either Invisalign or porcelain veneers. Not both. A skilled cosmetic dentist can make a single crooked tooth look straight.

Porcelain Veneers or Invisalign?

Which procedure you do depends on your needs. It sounds like you’re fairly happy with your smile with the exception of the crooked tooth and the stains. If that’s the case, you’d save a lot of money just getting Invisalign and teeth whitening.

Invisalign works faster than traditional braces and has the added benefit of enabling you to do both procedures at once. The aligners used to straighten your teeth can double as whitening trays.

However, if you feel there are other aspects to your teeth which need changing, such as the size or shape of your teeth, then I’d recommend getting a smile makeover with porcelain veneers.

With the Invisalign option, pretty much any dentist will do. But, if you go with the smile makeover, you will need an expert cosmetic dentist to do your porcelain veneers. I’d make sure you get a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. That way you’d be guaranteed to get a sublime smile.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist 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.

Can’t Get CEREC Crowns from My Dentist

I’m so sick of temporary crowns that fall off all the time. Every time I’ve gotten a crown it’s been a disaster from the get-go. I get a temporary and it falls off at every meal. It’s impossible to deal with. Now I find out I need another crown. I told my dentist I want a CEREC crown so I don’t have to deal with a temporary. He insists they’re not as good. I’m seriously considering switching dentists over this. What do you think?

Fanny,

Dear Fanny,
A tooth receiving a CEREC crown

I can understand your frustration. While temporary crowns do occasionally fall out (after all, they’re meant to be temporary) what you’ve experienced is way beyond normal. It says a bit about the skill of your dentist. I wouldn’t normally suggest switching dentists simply because you want a one-day crown, but it seems like your dentist lacks skill.

I’m not sure why he means they’re not as good. They’re just as strong as their traditional counterparts. The biggest difference and the only weakness I can see in comparison is CEREC crowns are milled out of a single block of porcelain. Some dentists feel that for your very front teeth it would look better for you to have a traditionally made crown so the dentist can craft it from several blocks of porcelain giving it more natural variety.

Cerec Crowns and Teeth Whitening

One other thing to consider. Hopefully, your dentist told you that once crowns are milled, their color is permanent. If you want your teeth whitened, you should do it before getting this latest crown if it is in a visible part of your smile.

That way your dentist will match your crown to the new color. Of course, if any of your old crowns are visible, those will need to be re-done to match. If they’re on back teeth which don’t show while you smile, I wouldn’t bother changing them though.

Picking a New Dentist

If you do decide to switch dentists over this issue. May I suggest you consider every type of procedure you may want, even future. If it’s just a good general dentist you want, who keeps up with the latest technology, that won’t be too hard to find.

If, however, you have more cosmetic interests in your future you’ll want to find a highly skilled cosmetic dentist. If they keep up with the advances in cosmetic work, you can be almost positive they keep up with the general side as well. So, how do you find an expert cosmetic dentist in your area? I’d check the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s website. You’ll want to be certain to get a dentist who’s reached accreditation level.

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

Do I Get a Dental Implant or a Dental Bridge?

I lost a tooth. It’s my own fault. I waited too long to deal with it and now I have to replace it. My dentist is suggesting a dental implant, but I’m not too keen on the idea of surgery. Would a dental bridge do something close?

Kevin C.

Dear Kevin,

It depends on how close you’re wanting to get. Both a dental implant and a dental bridge are acceptable tooth replacement options. Both are permanent and secure. There are important differences though. I’ll explain both options. Then, you can discuss with your dentist what fits your situation best. His job isn’t to pressure you into an option, but rather to give you your options and a recommendation. The final decision is yours.

Dental Implants

Dental Implant DiagramYou already knew that a dental implant required surgery. The diagram on the left shows why.

As you can see, the implant is placed directly into your jawbone. The benefits to this are it’s like having your own natural tooth back, it preserves your jawbone, and no other teeth need to lose tooth structure for its placement.

Dental Bridge

Illustration of a dental bridgeA dental bridge is also permanent however, in order to bond them, it requires grinding down the adjacent teeth. Additionally, if part of it breaks the whole unit will have to be redone. They also do nothing to preserve the bone underneath.

When Does a Dental Bridge Make More Sense?

While it may sound like I’m suggesting dental implants are the better option, there is a time when a dental bridge makes more sense. For instance, if the adjacent teeth need to be crowned anyway then it’s like getting two procedures in one. Then, you’re not grinding healthy tooth structure.

The key is good communication with your dentist. He or she knows your teeth. If finances are a consideration as well, many dentists will let you pay out a procedure like dental implants which are a little more costly than simple procedures like a filling.

Who Should Do Your Tooth Restorations?

When you’re looking at replacing teeth, it’s important you choose the right dentist. The especially important when the tooth is in a visible part of your smile. You want it to look natural and beautiful. Not every dentist can pull that off.

Look for a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. One other thing to consider. Once your implant crown or dental bridge is made, the color cannot be changed. If you want a whiter smile, be sure to have your teeth whitened before your tooth replacement procedure is done. That way your restoration will match your bright white smile.

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.

Can Invisalign Give Me a Quick Fix?

I’ve had braces in the past when I was younger. Over the years, some mild spaces have developed. As an adult, I do not want to go through braces again. However, I do want to close these spaces. Is there a possibility Invisalign can give me a quick fix on these spaces? There’s a lot to fix on my teeth, but I feel like closing these will give me a good start.

Abby S.

Dear Abby,

Lafayette Invisalign

If you’ve only got some mild spacing issues, then you may be a good candidate for Invisalign Express. That can tighten up your bite in just s few months. However, you mentioned there are other issues about your teeth you’d like to fix. You didn’t mention what they were. If you want to fix everything at once, instead of in little installments, I’d like to suggest porcelain veneers.

Lafayette Porcelain VeneersPorcelain veneers are tiny wafers which can completely remake your smile, changing everything about it. They can simultaneously change the shape, size, and color of your teeth, giving you a stunning smile.

Can Any Dentist Do Invisalign or Porcelain Veneers?

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty. While any dentist is technically allowed to do either procedure, the results you get vary widely from dentist to dentist. With Invisalign, you’ll be safe with pretty much any dentist. The treatment plan is designed by computer. The dentist is there mostly to make certain your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout the treatment.

Porcelain Veneers are completely different. It requires not just advanced skills, but an artistic eye. They’re designing your smile. You want a dentist who’s gone through extensive post-graduate training. I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve ended up coming to Dr. Malone’s office begging him to fix the disastrous smile “makeover” another dentist created. You want to go to a dentist who’ll get it right the first time.

Look for a dentist in your area who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Accredited dentists have passed extensive testing in their cosmetic skills as well as demonstrated artistry on cases they’ve personally designed.

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

Why Does an Overbite Prevent Me From Getting Porcelain Veneers?

Can you help me understand something? I really wanted to have porcelain veneers placed, but my dentist said because I have an overbite, I’d have to get crowns. He wants to place six porcelain crowns on my front teeth. Is there another option? Also, if I go with the crowns, do I whiten my bottom teeth? Both arches have tetracycline stains.

Amanda L.

Dear Amanda,

Lafayette Porcelain Veneers

I’m very glad you wrote before moving forward with this procedure. It sounds like you went to your family dentist instead of someone with expertise in cosmetic work, and he’s not as comfortable with doing advanced cosmetic procedures. Rather than admit that, he came up with a rather creative (though completely untrue) excuse for why you can’t have it. Then recommended porcelain crowns because he is comfortable doing that.

Porcelain veneers are actually a better solution for an overbite. Crowns have to grind down your teeth. Porcelain veneers do not. Why would you want to grind down healthy tooth structure?

In fact, the two pictures below will demonstrate the difference in preparing for the two procedures.

Lafayette Porcelain Veneers
Tooth Preparation for Porcelain Veneers
porcelain crown prep
Preparation for a Porcelain Crown

As you can see, you save much more tooth structure with porcelain veneers.

Another thing to consider is the number of crowns he said to get because it’s equally applicable to porcelain veneers. Six is not enough. Most smiles show between eight and ten teeth. Some wider smile show even more. Take a close look at your teeth when you’re smiling broadly. How many are visible? You want each visible tooth covered.

So, who should you have do this smile makeover? Your particular case is especially advanced. Tetracycline stains are among the most difficult to deal with. You need an expert cosmetic dentist. In your position, I’d look for a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.org). Bear in mind accreditation is very different from membership. Any dentist can be a member. Accreditation requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and artistry.

Your bottom arch can be whitened. Traditionally, teeth whitening isn’t the ideal for tetracycline stains, but if your dentist uses KöR Whitening, you should get decent results.

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

My Porcelain Veneers Keep Staining – Dentist is Blaming Me

I don’t know what’s going on. I got porcelain veneers a year and a half ago. They looked beautiful when they were first placed. But, a few weeks after my six-month check up they started picking up stains. They come off whenever the hygienist cleans them at my next appointment, but it doesn’t take long for them to start picking up stains again. The dentist said it’s something I’m doing, but my natural teeth never stained this badly. Do you have any idea what can be causing this?

Stephanie H.

Dear Stephanie,

Porcelain veneers are actually more stain resistant than your natural teeth. So, if the smile you had before wasn’t being stained by your habits, you don’t seem to be the problem. The timing of when your porcelain veneers first starting picking up stains is the biggest clue. You mentioned it happened very shortly after your check-up. My suspicion is the hygienist used something during her cleaning which led to the glaze being removed from your porcelain veneers.

Once that happens, it will continue to pick up stains rapidly. Yes, the cleanings you get at check-ups will remove them, but they’ll come right back. Unfortunately, this can’t be fixed. While there is a diamond polishing technique that could help, it’s an extremely advanced procedure and very few cosmetic dentists know it. The only thing to do at this point is have them replaced. Because this was likely the fault of your dentist’s staff, they should be willing to front most of the cost of replacement.

If they give you trouble, you could have an expert cosmetic dentist in your area look at the veneers to give a second opinion as to what happened. If it turns out the glaze was removed, that could put pressure on your dentist to make things right. Most dentists care about their reputation among their peers.

In order to find an expert cosmetic dentist, you can check with mynewsmile.com. They list artistic cosmetic dentists by area. Also, you can check aacd.com to see if there are any accredited dentists in your area. You’ll be in good hands with either of those.

Hopefully, this situation will educate your dentist on how to properly care for porcelain veneers in the future. As an aside, make sure you’re not using any whitening toothpastes. These are abrasive and can place minuscule scratches on your veneers. Instead, use a cosmetic toothpaste, such as Supersmile.

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