Tag Archives: Invisalign

porcelain veneers & invisalign?

I’m hoping you can help me make a decision. I want to whiten my teeth and I have two crooked front teeth. I was thinking I could fix both getting porcelain veneers. I spoke to my dentist about it and he said that would be fine, but he’d like me to straighten the front teeth first. I was hoping not to have to do orthodontics because they’re so unattractive and take forever. Is it really necessary?


Dear Kathryn,

Invisalign aligner
You can now straighten your teeth invisibly

First, please understand that I haven’t seen your teeth and can only go by your description. Unless there is something your dentist hasn’t explained to you, I’m puzzled why you would need both as well.

Generally, a patient will either do porcelain veneers or orthodontics, not both. There could be an exception if you have either a serious bite problem or overly crowded teeth. In those unusual cases, it would be helpful to have orthodontics first. Other than that, you can just have porcelain veneers placed and it will make your front teeth appear to be straight.

If you are in that position, then I have some helpful news for you. You can completely straighten your teeth without anyone knowing. Invisalign uses clear aligners. You can see an image of one of the aligners above. When you are wearing them, they are completely invisible, even at a conversational distance.

The best part is they have the benefit of being able to whiten your teeth simultaneously. The aligners used to straighten your teeth can also double as teeth whitening trays.

Invisalign or Porcelain Veneers

If you have the choice and all you want to do is whiten and straighten your teeth, you would save a lot of money using Invisalign. However, if there are other things about your smile you want to change, such as the shape or length, then porcelain veneers are the way to go.

These are the go-to for a complete smile makeover. One word of caution. They require technical expertise as well as an artistic eye. Not every dentist can do a smile makeover with porcelain veneers. There are countless cosmetic dentistry horror stories to back this up.

If you decide to go that route, you will want a dentist who has been accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

If you go the Invisalign/teeth whitening route, just about any family dentist can do it.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic 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.


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.

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.

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.

Can Adults Do the Invisalign Teen?

I’ve been told the Invisalign Teen program has extra aligners in case you lose them.  I tend to lose things a lot and wondered if an adult can do that program?

Margo D. – New Jersey


I’m sure your dentist would work with you on that.  However, they’re on your teeth for everything except eating. If you just remember to put them right back on, you’re not likely to have any trouble.

Here’s how it works:

Your dentist gives you a pair of Invisalign aligners. You wear them for two weeks all the time, except when you’re eating. When you finish eating, you brush your teeth ( and don’t forget about flossing once a day), then put the aligners back in.  At the end of two weeks, your dentist will give you a new set of aligners.

It’s really quite simple.  If you’re still worried about losing them, they yes, speak to your dentist about the extra aligner option.

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

How will dental bonding fix my gap?

I have a tooth gap that is a little over 1/2 a centimeter. My dentist said he can fix it with dental bonding. How will that fix it? Wouldn’t that make my teeth really wide? Will that look attractive and I just can’t picture it?

Rhianna L. – Newark, NJ


Over 1/2 a centimeter is quite a large gap. In fact, you can fit a small tooth in that size space. Unless your teeth are unnaturally narrow, I don’t think adding in that much structure will make your teeth look normal.

Tooth bonding (or dental bonding) is generally a good way to close a tooth gap, but it has to be a small gap.  I’m not sure your dentist is the one to do it. You seem to have more of a sense of aesthetics than he or she does. That isn’t a good sign.

You don’t want your basic family dentist to do serious cosmetic procedures. These take additional post-graduate training. You also want someone who has an artistic eye. If you’re serious about closing your gap, I’d look into Invisalign. It will actually close the gap and almost any dentist can perform this.

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

Options for straightening teeth

I’ve had crooked teeth my whole life. My parents could not afford to get them fixed. I’m now starting my career and have some discretionary money to fix my teeth. Could you list out some ways to fix my teeth at varying expenses. Don’t tell me what is the cheapest or most expensive. I want to just think about what I feel the best option is.


Cynthia F.- Alabama


Here are three good options for you:

1. Invisalign: Not everyone is a candidate, but any Invisalign dentist can tell you and many dentists do a complimentary consultation so you don’t waste money figuring out if you’re a candidate.  These are aligners that work like braces, except that they are essentially invisible. No one will know you are wearing them. They’ll take about six months to a year to straighten your teeth.  When you’re done, you’ll have a beautiful, straight smile. You might ask your dentist if he’ll allow you to use the aligners as whitening trays. That will allow you to knock out two birds with one stone.

2. Cosmetic Contouring: This is a reshaping of your teeth that takes about one to three office visits. You’ll need x-rays to make sure your teeth are healthy enough for this procedure.  Sometimes just a couple of millimeters of tooth reduction can make your smile completely different. A sanding drill or laser can reshape them. Abrasive strips can shape the sides of your teeth.

3. Porcelain Veneers: In just two appointments, you can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth.

Here is some important advice though, the last two methods need an expert cosmetic dentist.  Don’t settle for the average family dentist who knows some cosmetic procedures. He needs to have the expertise and artistry that only comes from extensive post-graduate training. Your safest avenue is to find someone who is AACD accredited.

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

Really Confused about TMJ Treatment?

I’ve been recently diagnosed with TMJ dysfunction was told I would need to be fitted for a splint that I would wear for 69 months until my symptoms went away and then I would need to look at more permanent option like orthodontics. This doesn’t seem to reflect a lot of the research I’ve been doing. Most of what I’ve been reading seems to say that TMJ is very poorly understood and they aren’t really sure how to treat it. I’ve read that splints can be effective but it varies from person to person and they shouldn’t be worn over an extended period of time. I also read that irreversible options such as braces should be avoided. Doing less seems to be the preferred method of treatment. So now I’m really confused. Do I go ahead with what the doctor recommended or do I try lifestyle changes such as correcting my posture, minimizing stress, etc which seems to be supported my credible institutions and organizations.

Thanks, Ashley

Dear Ashley,

We are glad to know that you have been doing some of your own research on TMJ Dysfunction. The cause of temporomandibular dysfunction is unclear and can be difficult to treat at times however some things that can contribute to this disorder are grinding and clenching of the teeth, stress, a bad bite, and arthritis. Wearing a splint can relieve a lot of symptoms like a popping and clicking jaw, headaches and earaches, as well as in the prevention of grinding and clenching of ones teeth. This disorder can last for a short time and go away on its own or last for years. At times orthodontics is recommended especially if your bite if off. Having braces may eliminate your TMJ dysfunction but not a guarantee. If patients experience severe symptoms and a split is not working for them surgery is recommended however this is very rare. Making some lifestyle changes is not a bad idea and may help relieve some pain therefore reducing stress, eating soft foods, exercise, and not chewing gum to name a few. Placing ice or heat packs on the side of your face may also help in relieving some discomfort.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist


Crooked front tooth options

I hope you can help me. I’ve been trying (without success) to find a dentist to straighten my teeth. So far I have talked to three different dentists, and they all say different things about what the best way to do this is! Who am I supposed to believe? They all have really impressive credentials, so I can’t just look at the stuff hanging on their walls and know who to trust.

The tooth next to my front tooth on the right side is crooked. I mean REALLY crooked, and it is completely out of alignment, way behind my other teeth. It looks BAD. Are braces the only thing I can do in this situation? Is Invisalign a possibility? What would happen if I said I wanted to get the crooked tooth removed?

Thanks for your advice,

Becky in Honolulu

Dear Becky,

Invisalign is usually appropriate for adults with crooked teeth if all of their teeth are fully erupted. In some cases of extreme crowding Invisalign might not be effective, but a dentist certified to treat with Invisalign would certainly recognize such a situation and suggest treatment accordingly.

Another option that you have not mentioned is porcelain veneers. A porcelain veneer could work to create the appearance of a normal, straight tooth, though you do state that the tooth is misaligned. Again, a skilled, experienced cosmetic dentist will tell you whether or not a porcelain veneer is a possibility.

I would not recommend opting to have the crooked tooth extracted. From a cosmetic standpoint, an uneven number of front teeth is just never going to look right. Symmetry is extremely important in smile aesthetics, and an uneven number of teeth simply cannot be symmetrical. From a functional standpoint, a missing tooth will cause the teeth surrounding the gap to shift. This movement can create bite alignment issues, that in turn can lead to problems with your tempromandibular joint (TMJ).

For your best results, I would consult with a dentist that does both Invisalign and is accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Ask to see samples of their work through a smile gallery.

Choosing between Invisalign invisible braces or porcelain veneers

I have always wished to have a really beautiful smile, and have finally reached the point where I can afford to do it. I have one tooth that is crooked, but other than that no big problems with my teeth. I want them to be much brighter and whiter, so I’ve been considering getting 10 porcelain veneers on my top teeth. Whenever I look at the pictures on dentist’s websites, I really like the smiles of the patients who got porcelain veneers.

My dentist doesn’t seem all that excited about this, though, which is weird to me because it is a LOT of money I am ready to spend on this. He has suggested that I consider Invisalign invisible braces instead. I can only see one crooked tooth, so that seems like overkill, to get braces for one crooked tooth. He says he will do the veneers, but that I should have the Invisalign treatment first. That will add up to a year to my treatment time, not to mention the extra cost.

Is this usual, to have orthodontic work before getting veneers placed?

Thanks for your input,

Shelly in Grosse Pointe Woods

Dear Shelly,

This is only speculation, but it could be that you have a bite issue or serious crowding issue, and that is prompting you dentist to push for the braces first. If that is the case, he should have told you why he was making that recommendation. It is customary for a dentist to recommend either Invisalign or porcelain veneers, not both. It is also possible that he thinks the use of the Invisalign braces and a professional teeth whitening will yield the results you want without placing porcelain veneers. Again, if this is what he was thinking, he should have communicated it with you.

In this case, I would recommend a second opinion. Don’t tell the dentist what your current dentist said, and see if he recommends a similar course of treatment.

If you do decided to go with porcelain veneers, make very sure your dentist is an expert cosmetic dentist before you have him do the work. Check his work though his website, or ask to see before and after pictures of his porcelain veneer clients.