Tag Archives: Lafayette Cosmetic Dentist

CEREC or Regular Veneers

I told my dentist I wanted to get a smile makeover. He’s suggesting we do CEREC veneers. Are those as good as the porcelain veneers? I want to make sure I get the right material. Which would you recommend?

Olivia

Dear Olivia,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

It is great that you’re trying to do research ahead of time. I wish more patients did that. I’m going to shift what you are researching though. The materials used do not matter nearly as much as the dentist who is working with the materials. Think of it this way. If two artists were given a block of the same type of marble and told to make a statue of the same person, would the statues turn out exactly the same? Of course not! One artist will definitely be superior to the other. Whether your dentist is creating CEREC veneers or traditional porcelain veneers, what matters most is his skill.

What I’d like you to look at is whether or not your dentist has the technical skill and artistry to pull this off. Doing a smile makeover using the CEREC veneers can be done, but only by top of the line cosmetic dentists. The reason for this is a CEREC machine mills your veneers or porcelain crowns out of a single block of porcelain. However, our teeth don’t have uniform levels of translucency.

In order for a cosmetic dentist to get these to look both beautiful and natural, he or she will need to know a lot of color theory and understand how the different stains available can manipulate the level of translucency and opaqueness in a tooth. Without that, you could end up with teeth that look fake and flat.

Is Your Dentist Good Enough to Do CEREC Veneers?

Before moving forward, I want you to ask your dentist for two things:

1. Ask him to see before and after pictures of recent CEREC veneers cases he’s personally done. If he doesn’t have any, find another dentist. If he does have some and you love the results, you will likely be okay to go ahead as long as he agrees to the second point. If you don’t love the results, find another dentist.

2. Make sure he’s willing to stand behind his work with a form of a beautiful smile guarantee. This should mean that he’ll put the veneers on with a try-in paste when he’s done and let you look at them in several different lightings. If you are not over the moon thrilled with them, he’ll re-do them. No veneers should be permanently bonded until you are ecstatic.

If these two things can’t be met. You need to find a better cosmetic dentist.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

If I were getting a smile makeover, I”d want one of the best of the best cosmetic dentists. The easiest way to find those is to go to aacd.com. They have a “Find a dentist” link. You want to look for a cosmetic dentist in your area who has reached accreditation. They have a box you can check for accredited.

AACD accredited dentists have passed stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrated their artistry on a large number of cases. Any one of them can give you a stunning smile.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette 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.

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.

Porcelain Veneers Look Unnaturally Shiny

I’m curious if you can reduce the shine on porcelain veneers. Mine are unnaturally shiny looking. There’s so much shine on them they don’t look anything like regular teeth, more like a overly waxed marble floor. Is there anything I can do about this?

Martha

Dear Martha,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

When you pay money for a beautiful smile, this is what you should get. I’m very sorry you didn’t. I’m going to make a very good guess that your dentist isn’t an expert cosmetic dentist. Those who are create stunning smiles. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

While the shine on porcelain veneers is an important part of what gives it their beauty, they have to be done properly to achieve that result. Even more importantly, the glaze is what protects the veneers from picking up stains. However, in your case it sounds like the glazing wasn’t properly done.

Here’s what can create a fake looking shine. Look at the picture directly below. Notice that although these teeth have a beautiful shine, there’s texture. This makes the shine look natural. In fact, one of those teeth are fake. You probably can’t tell which one.

close up of teeth

The likely reason your shine looks unnatural is it is flat. It wasn’t given the texture of natural teeth, which makes the teeth look fake. You can remove the glaze by allowing your hygienist to clean your teeth with a prophy jet. However, doing that will actually cause your teeth to pick up stains rather quickly.

Getting Your Porcelain Veneers to Look Beautiful

I would not recommend removing the glazing. Instead, I’d ask your dentist to re-do them properly. If your dentist hesitates, it may help you to get a second opinion from an expert cosmetic dentist. Look on mynewsmile.com. All the dentists they list are expert cosmetic dentists.

They’ll be able to let you know what’s wrong with the smile and help your dentist to understand that as well. If your dentist doesn’t think he can follow through. He may be able to give you at least a partial refund.

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.

“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.

If My Teeth Keep Shifting Do I Need to do Invisalign Again?

I had Invisalign years ago and it did a great job. Then I wore a retainer full-time for a year. Even after that was done, I still have to wear one at night. I’ve noticed that my teeth shift quite quickly. Lately, I sometimes can barely get them to fit at night when it’s time to put them in. I almost have to force them on. Do I need to do Invisalign over again? I was really hoping to move on to the next part of my smile makeover—teeth whitening. I feel like I’m taking a step back.

Corinne

Dear Corinne,

A woman placing in her Invisalign aligners

It sounds like your teeth aren’t firming up. Doing Invisalign again won’t make any difference it that case. Some people just have to wear a retainer full-time to keep their teeth in place. That doesn’t mean you’ll need a mouth full of metal for the rest of your life.

There are lingual retainers they can bond to the back of your teeth. No one will even know it’s there. However, if your teeth have shifted out of a position you’re happy with then it would make sense to re-do part of the treatment. In those cases, it doesn’t take long. there’s even an Invisalign express for people who don’t need much movement. From there you could switch to a retainer.

Invisalign and Teeth Whitening

None of this will interfere with your smile makeover goals. Either way, you can move forward. If you need to move things back into place and have to redo part of your Invisalign, you could still get your teeth whitened without waiting. The clear aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. Your cosmetic dentist can provide you with professional whitening gel. You simply place the gel in your aligners and wear them for a minimum of 20 minutes a day.

If you don’t need to wear the aligners and choose to go straight to a lingual retainer, you could just do the teeth whitening as you normally would. That gives you two options.

Traditional Whitening

You could choose traditional whitening where you wear custom-made teeth whitening trays that your dentist designs for you. You wear them at your convenience, though many people choose to sleep in them. The biggest benefits to this method are cost and control. It’s slightly less expensive. It also enables you to determine how much whitening you want. Once you reach the level you’re hoping for you simply stop using the gel.

Zoom Whitening

If you want to get it done quickly, you can use Zoom Whitening. That will allow you to whiten your teeth in just one appointment. It will get them their whitest, so you have less control than if you did the tray whitening. But, if you want your teeth as white as possible as quickly as possible, this is the way to go.

This blog is brought to you by 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.

Switching from Braces to Invisalign

If I’m absolutely miserable with braces can I switch to Invisalign? I love that I’m getting my teeth straightened, but the metal cuts my mouth, I can’t eat anything I like, and I feel ugly.

Angela B.

Dear Angela,

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

If your case is a good candidate for Invisalign, then yes, you can switch. Though most cases work with Invisalign, there are a few more tricky cases that require braces. It’s just a matter of talking to your dentist or orthodontist and they can let you know.

Why Invisalign is So Popular

You named many reasons that people actually love Invisalign. There is no metal to deal with. That will mean no cuts for you. Until you switch, your dentist should be able to provide you with some wax to put on the braces which should help with the pain.

Invisalign has absolutely no restrictions as to what you can eat during meal time. You simply remove the aligners, eat as you wish, then brush your teeth and place the aligners back on your teeth. However, there are some restrictions when they’re on.

You don’t want to drink things like coffee or soda when the aligners are in. The reason for that is they’ll pool in your aligners, soaking your teeth with their ingredients. This will eat away at your decay, putting you at a tremendous risk for decay. You can still drink those beverages, just make sure you do it at meal times instead of between meals. While your aligners are in, drink water. Drink as much water as you want.

Oral hygiene is so much easier with Invisalign. You don’t have to worry about getting around the wires and brackets. That lessens your chance of the decalcification many people with braces experience.

You mentioned appearance. The beauty of Invisalign is that you can’t see it. It’s invisible even at a conversational distance. When you smile, they’ll just see your smile.

Whiten Your Teeth with Invisalign

Your Invisalign aligners can also double as teeth whitening trays. It’s an easy way to take an additional step toward beautifying your smile without having to also pay for custom fit whitening trays. You’ll only need the tooth whitening gel your dentist can provide.

Once you have a straight, white smile you’ll be astounded at the boost it gives to your confidence. You’ll find yourself smiling more and lighting up a room.

This blog is brought to you by AACD accredited dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Is Orthly Equal to Invisalign?

I told a friend the other day that I wish I could afford Invisalign. I’ve spent a lifetime embarrassed about my teeth. She sent me this link to a company called Orthly. It looks like Invisalign, but it’s 70% cheaper. I just want to make sure it’s safe to do it and it’s similar to Invisalign.

Ellen

Dear Ellen,

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

It sounds like you have a friend who cares about you. It’s lovely to have friends like that. If you won’t hate me, I’m going to help you understand the differences taking you back to High School. Do you remember geometry class where you had similar triangles versus congruent triangles? As you recall, congruent triangles were completely equal to one another in both sides and angles. But, similar triangles were only that, similar but not equal. They had the same angles but not the same lengths.

That’s how I would describe Orthly to Invisalign. Similar but not equal. It will save you money. Unfortunately, it could also cost you some teeth.

The first thing you should know is it wasn’t founded by dentists or anyone with dental knowledge. The idea came to two students who wanted to get Invisalign but couldn’t afford it. Their company is very straightforward about that. They say, “Orthly does not practice dentistry nor do any employees in the company.” That alone wouldn’t make it dangerous. I’m sure they consulted with dentists and orthodontists as they followed through on their idea.

Where Does Orthly Fall Short of Invisalign?

The way Orthly saves money is by avoiding orthodontic appointments. You see a dentist a total of two times. They can request photos through the app, but that’s the extent of the “looking after” you get. You may think that’s no big deal, but here’s what worries me about that.

The reason dentists keep an eye on you throughout the treatment is to measure things like mobility, root absorption, periodontal disease, and oral hygiene. None of these can be tracked through a photo. If they don’t catch any one of these problems in time, it could lead to the patient losing their teeth.

Then you’re talking about a much greater expense then they’d have had if they’d done the best treatment to begin with. They’ll need to replace their teeth.

So, in your place, I’d weigh the benefits with the risks before you decide.

You could always talk to your dentist about your desire and ask if there’s a way he’d let you pay out “the real deal” in installments you can afford.

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