Tag Archives: Lafayette Dentist

dentist pushing a cerec crown

I need to a get a dental crown. I’ve always gotten the regular kind so I was expecting that again. Instead, my dentist wants me to get a CEREC crown by a machine. Before I commit, I want to make sure they’re okay. I’d rather have it made by a human, but if they’re okay I guess I’ll go ahead.

Paul

Dear Paul,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

You are fine getting a CEREC crown, with one possible exception which we’ll talk about in a moment. Using the CEREC machine to mill the crown, you will get a great fit. It uses sophisticated software to make sure your crown is precisely cut.

Because they are all-porcelain, they will have the same translucency as your natural teeth. They will look beautiful if your dentist knows how to use the machine well.

Their biggest benefit, though, is you can get your dental crown in just one visit.

The one exception to this would be for front teeth. These are trickier. When your teeth are milled by a CEREC machine it uses a single block of porcelain.

Our natural teeth are not the same level of depth all the way down. Some parts are more opaque than others. Because of this you need a dentist with expertise in color theory and staining in order to mimic the different levels of color needed for front teeth.

Finding a Dentist to Do CEREC Crowns on Front Teeth

Only about 1-2% of dentists will know how to do this correctly. If your crown is needed on another tooth, you should be fine, but with a front tooth, I’d look for an AACD accredited dentist.

Dentists who’ve been accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry have done extensive training. In order to reach accreditation they have to pass oral and written exams as well as demonstrate their artistry .

Any dentist who has reached accreditation can give you a gorgeous crown, even on a front tooth.

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

Pimple turning tooth gray

I think I need help fast, but I don’t have a dentist. I have a pimple on my gums which is causing serious pain. I think it’s poisoning a tooth tooth because one of my teeth has turned gray. What do I do if I don’t have a dentist?

Brooke

Dear Brooke,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain needing an emergency dentist
Tooth pain is a dental emergency

I’m very sorry you are in so much pain. You’ve got two things going on here. One of which is considered a dental emergency.

Pimple on the Gums

Let’s start with the pimple on your gums. This is a sign you have an infected tooth. The pimple is known as an abscess. This happens because the infection is severe. Infected teeth are considered dental emergencies.

These infections will continue to spread. In some cases, they become life threatening quickly. This is a result of where they spread and how long they’re left untreated. Your jaw is very close to your brain and heart. If the infection reaches there, sometimes it is too late to do anything. There were too many people who died from tooth infections last year, given how preventable it is.

I do realize you don’t have a dentist. Because this needs to be seen to right away, I’m going to suggest you do an internet search for an emergency dentist. These are general dentists who are willing to see non-established patients quickly in cases of emergencies such as yours.

Often, they’ll do what they can to get you out of pain, prescribe an antibiotic for hold off the infection and schedule a follow-up appointment to give the tooth the entire treatment it needs.

A Gray Tooth

When a tooth has turned gray, that is a sign it is either dead of dying. This tooth was also infected, which is a definite indicator the infection is spreading.

The dead tooth won’t have any pain, but the infection is still there and will need to be removed by the dentist. Unlike medical infections, you can’t just take an antibiotic and be done. Antibiotics will only keep a dental infection at bay, it won’t rid your body of it.

With dental infections, the dentist has to get in there and physically remove the infection with a procedure called a root canal treatment. This often requires the tooth to be crowned as well.

Don’t put off getting this seen.

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

Problems with invisalign

I’ve been considering getting Invisalign, but decided to talk to an acquaintance who’d already used them. She said she’d never had worse breath than when she wore them. I decided to do some online research about that issue and it seems some people have had that same problem, but others absolutely love them. Does that mean that particular issue is preventable?

Marcia

Dear Marcia,

A woman placing in her Invisalign aligners

Absolutely that one is preventable. Invisalign is removable. As such, it allows you to eat whatever you want. Then, you simply pop them back in when you are done. However, your dentist will strongly recommend you brush and floss your teeth after each meal before you put them back on.

There is a good reason for that. Every time you eat, you get some food and bacteria on and between your teeth. If you don’t remove that before you place the aligners back on, they’re going to fester there. That will lead to some seriously bad breath. It would also leave a nasty taste in your mouth. Simply brushing before replacing them completely fixes this problem.

Two Other Common Invisalign Issues

So you are completely prepared for Invisalign treatment, I want to tell you about two other common issues.

The first is some minor aches when you switch aligners. With Invisalign, you wear a pair of aligners which you will switch out every two weeks. Each pair gently moves your teeth into another position.

The first couple of days, the aligners will feel a bit snug. That’s because it is new position. By the third day, they should feel like a perfect fit. The remainder of the two week is to allow the bone time to form around the new root position.

Many patients don’t feel any discomfort. However, if you are one who does, most often some mild over the counter pain relievers is enough to make a difference.

The second common issue is excess saliva. For some patients, when they first start Invisalign, their body thinks of it as a foreign substance in their mouth which needs to be digested. It responds by producing excess saliva. Fortunately, this fades quite quickly.

An Unexpected Invisalign Benefit

While everyone expects to have a straighter smile by the end of their Invisalign treatment, did you know you could also have a whiter smile as well? Invisalign aligners can double as teeth whitening trays.

All you have to do is ask your dentist for some teeth whitening gel, which doesn’t cost much at all. Then, you simply place the gel in your aligners and you’ll have a mini smile makeover at a fraction of the cost.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA 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.

Does smile direct work?

I keep seeing advertisements on Facebook for smile direct club. They’re offering a free start on their program and it’s much less expensive than Invisalign. Does it really work?

Sadie

Dear Sadie,

The Smile Direct Club is an company which has been in business since about 2013. They’ll mail you your aligners which you’ll wear for three weeks. With Invisalign, you switch the aligners every two weeks.

Their biggest benefit is the money savings. It does cost less than working through a dentist with Invisalign. It appears to work out fine for many patients. But (you knew there would be a but), there are risks.

Dangers with Smile Direct

  • Gum Disease

While you submit a photo and a dentist reviews it, only certain cases of gum disease are able to be diagnosed this way. Dentists will also do x-rays and probe the tissue.

If you do this treatment and have gum disease it will quickly get worse. As it progresses, your teeth can become loose. Combine that with shifting of tooth movements for your orthodontic treatment and you could end up losing teeth.

  • Complications

While for most patients things will go fine, there are exceptions. Sometimes a tooth his supposed to rotate which doesn’t. This affects the entire treatment process.

Another, more common issue, is when there’s crowding. When that is an issue, some of the sides of the teeth have to be shaved down to make room for the correct alignment.

This is something you’ll have to do at a dental office. However, removing the right amount of enamel is tricky. You’d really want a dentist who’s invested in the case to do the work on it. Without that, It might not go as well as you’d like.

So, could it work? Possibly. In many cases it does. The thing to be aware of is what to do if something doesn’t. At the very least, I’d recommend you get a good check up with a dentist ahead of time and make sure you don’t have any signs of gum disease before proceeding.

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

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.

Invisalign Myths Debunked

Ever since Invisalign made its debut in the 1990s, they’ve been in high demand. As with most new or popular things, there are always some myths which pop up about them. Before we debunk the myths, let me tell you what Invisalign can do for you.

Invisalign aligner

What’s True About Invisalign

  • Invisalign can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing, in half the time of traditional glasses.
  • Their aligners can double as teeth whitening trays allowing you to do two procedures simultaneously.
  • They have a very high patient satisfaction rate.

Myth #1: Invisalign is Only for Teenagers

While teenagers certainly do enjoy using Invisalign, the procedure was actually developed for adults. They have professional lives and can’t necessarily work with a mouth full of metal. Having an invisible orthodontic option is a huge help.

It’s only after it became so popular that more and more parents requested it for their teenagers and Invisalign Teen was developed.

Myth #2: Braces are More Effective than Invisalign

While it used to be that Invisalign could only handle certain candidates, that has changed. Now it can handle even difficult orthodontic cases.

Myth #3: You Can’t Eat What You Want with Invisalign

Similar to the first myth, this one is completely backward. With traditional braces, you’re limited in what you can eat. Many things get caught in the metal wires and brackets in traditional braces.

Fortunately, Invisalign is different. Because the aligners are removable, you can actually eat absolutely anything you want. The important thing is you brush your teeth after you are done and place the aligners back on immediately after cleaning your teeth.

Myth #4: You Get More Cavities with Invisalign

It’s possible you can get more cavities with Invisalign, but that’s up to you. If you take care of your teeth, you’ll be fine. That means to observe the following:

  • Brush after each meal before putting your aligners back on.
  • Don’t drink sugary or alcoholic drinks with your aligners in. You can still drink them, just make sure you do it when your aligners are off.

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

Dentist Said No to CEREC Crowns

My dentist has a CEREC machine. We’ve used it for a crown before, but on a tooth on my bottom arch. Now I need one on my top front tooth and he’s saying “No”. He said they don’t look good on front teeth. I truly liked the convenience. Plus, he wants to crown both front teeth to make them match. Is this legitimate?

Anna

Dear Anna,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

You should be aware that only the top cosmetic dentists in the world can match a single crown to a front tooth. That is even more challenging when it comes to using CEREC. If convenience is what you’re after, go with the two crowns and traditional crowns. I’ll explain why in a moment. If you want gorgeous front teeth with just one crown, you’ll need to find an expert cosmetic dentist.

Matching a Single Crown to a Front Tooth

Your front teeth are right next to each other and much more exposed to the light. Even the slightest deviations will be very noticeable. It will be quite obvious your teeth won’t match.

With even the best dentists, it will take a few try-ins before it matches perfectly. That could go faster with CEREC crowns because it’s milled right there and not sent to a lab. It will still likely take more than one try. This method will take even more skill.

With a CEREC crown, that’s even harder because they are milled from a single block of porcelain. Traditional porcelain crowns use several blocks with variations in opacity. Your dentist would have to be very versed in color theory skills which are not taught in dental school. It’s obvious your dentist doesn’t have that training.

It’s actually showing his integrity that he’s being honest with you. He could have bluffed his way through and given sad looking results.

Finding the Cosmetic Dentist Who Can Do Gorgeous CEREC Crowns

Truthfully, because of the difficulty of this type of case, to get a beautiful, natural looking result which will match your other front tooth, you’ll need to go to a dentist accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

AACD accredited dentists have gone through stringent oral and written exams as well as proven their artistry with a large number of cases they’ve done and provided evidence for. All of them have gone through extensive training in advanced cosmetic procedures after graduating dental school.

What it boils down to in this particular case is what’s more important to you— a convenient, fast result, or a natural looking attractive result.

It is definitely your smile and your choice. Don’t feel pressured to go a way you don’t want.

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

Dentist Broke Tooth “Fixing a Porcelain Veneer”

I had several porcelain veneers done and they ended up looking awful. I never got to see them before he bonded them on so had no idea how bad they were until I got home. He agreed he’d redo them after I called him and told him how miserable I was about how they looked. Unfortunately, when he tried to remove the first one, he broke the tooth. It broke so completely he ended up having to extract it and now I’m having to get a dental implant. I have a flipper for now because I told him not to remove the others until I have a chance to get a second opinion on what’s going on. I know he’s the professional, but I feel like he can’t be trusted. What’s going on?

Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

I have to tell you this is gross incompetence on the part of your dentist. If I am truly understanding what you’re saying here, it sounds like your dentist tried to “pop” or pry off the veneers from your teeth. That is absolutely NOT how this is done.

Instead, porcelain veneers will be gently ground off, sort of how the dentist prepared your teeth the receive the veneers to begin with. If he broke your tooth so badly it couldn’t be saved, I wouldn’t let him anywhere near the rest of your teeth. He doesn’t have a clue about cosmetic dentistry.

1. He didn’t let you see them with a try-in paste before permanently bonding them on.
2. He didn’t make them to your standards.
3, He didn’t know how to remove them.

You’re going to need an expert cosmetic dentist. I’ll tell you how to find one of those in a moment, but first I want to make sure you don’t get stuck with this bill. You’re going to have to be pretty tough and tell your dentist you won’t sue him if he pays for the repairs with the cosmetic and implant dentist of your choice. If he’s wise, he’ll do it.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

The problem many patients run into is the skills necessary to go stunning cosmetic dentistry requires significantly more training than they received in general dental school. It takes significant post-doctoral training to know what you’re doing.

You want a dentist who’s invested that time in the additional studies as well having an artistic eye. To find that type of dentist you can look at two resournces, The first of those is the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry website. Once there, you can list a location were you’d like to be treated. The key here, though, is checking you want an accredited cosmetic dentist. These are among the best dentists in the world.

They can give you a stunning smile. However, because it takes many years to reach accreditation, there aren’t many of them around the country.

There is another list. This one is called nynewsmile.com. Like the aacd.com website, they have a link to find a cosmetic dentist. You’ll input your zip code along with how far you’re willing to travel and they’ll give you a list of incredible cosmetic dentists. Many of them are close to being accredited if they’re not accredited already.

Have one of these dentists re-do your smile makeover as well as plan your dental implant. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about with one of them. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

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

Help! Which Crown Should I Get?

I need to get a dental crown on a tooth. My dentist threw all these options at me. While he did explain everything, it was all so fast I can’t remember. I told him I’d let him know this week. I tried to do some research but everything is so confusing. Help!

Lacey

Dear Lacey,

CEREC Crown being placed on a tooth

Sometimes dentists think you can understand everything in 5 minutes that they studied all the way through dental school. Sounds easy, right?

It’s good that you’re doing some research. It’s important to go into these type of decisions informed. One thing to be aware of is that you should always feel free to tell your dentist to slow down and to repeat himself if necessary. You should never feel rushed.

To help, I’ll go over the three most common types of dental crowns.

Three Most Common Dental Crowns

The first has been in place for many years and it’s been a staple in the dental diet. These are conventional crowns, also known as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. As their name implies, these have porcelain on top and a metal base underneath. These are best used for back teeth because of the amount of biting force we use with our back teeth. If you have a metal allergy, there are metal-free options.

The second type is all-porcelain crowns. These have porcelain all the way through, even as it’s underside. These are especially useful for front teeth because they look more natural than their metal-based counterparts. With front teeth, there is a completely different biting force and these can withstand the pressure.

Thirdly, there are CEREC crowns. These are also all-porcelain. The biggest differences are they are milled by machine using a single block of porcelain. As a result, they’re able to be done in just one appointment. Be aware, unless you have a highly skilled cosmetic dentist, these won’t have the same subtleties that the non-machine milled crowns will have which are made from several different blocks that have different shades.

There’s really not a horrible choice, though I never recommend metal-based crowns on front teeth. You won’t like the results. I hope this helps.

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