Tag Archives: Porcelain Veneers

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.

Cosmetic Dentistry Tourism Disaster

I had porcelain veneers placed on my top teeth and a dental implant and crown on my bottom arch. In the U.S. it would have cost me over $60,0000 but I was able to get it done overseas for around $11,000. At first, I was pleased as punch, but now I’m four months out and the veneers are falling off. I’ve been cutting up the food the way he showed me and not eating with my front teeth at all. In fact, the last one fell off while eating spaghetti. That’s hardly anything to stress about. Three of the veneers have fallen off. They’re all intact. Do I need to have these re-done or can another dentist put them back on?

Catrina

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental tool

So, here’s the thing. Those instructions your dentist gave you about eating are a huge red flag to me. There is absolutely no reason why you should have any restrictions at all on what or how you eat. When properly bonded on, porcelain veneers will allow you to eat anything.

This dentist doesn’t know proper bonding technique. That alone, makes me question the skill of the rest of his work. For health and safety reasons, I’d like you to get a second opinion on the dental implant and crown you had done. This is especially important about the implant. If an infection develops it can lead to serious consequences.

Regarding your fallen porcelain veneers. You mentioned they’re still intact. In that case, it is possible an expert cosmetic dentist could clean them up and get them bonded back on properly. However, this is beyond the skill of almost all cosmetic dentists. You will need someone in the top 2%.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t really taught in dental school so you’ll need to look for someone who invested the time and training into doing it well. In your place, I’d look for a dentist who has reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are in the top 1% of dentists. You can find them listed on aacd.com. Just make sure they’re accredited. They will know the right procedure to help you with your porcelain veneers.

The cost to get them bonded back on properly shouldn’t be too bad, if they can be saved. If they can’t be, these dentists will give you a list of options and let you determine which way you want to go.

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.

Will Invisalign Work if I Have Missing Teeth?

I want to get Invisalign but I have a couple of missing teeth. Is Invisalign still possible?

Dan

Dear Dan,

A woman placing in her Invisalign aligners

Invisalign does fine with missing teeth. It used to be that Invisalign could only take certain types of cases but it’s becoming more and more advanced and can take even cases of crowding at times these days.

The key to a successful Invisalign case, when there are missing teeth involved, is communication with your dentist. Are you looking to replace those teeth? Do you want a permanent replacement, such as dental implants? Or, do you just want to close up the spaces? Those will work different ways during treatment so make sure you and your dentist discuss your goals thoroughly.

Invisalign Versus Other Cosmetic Work

What Invisalign will do is straighten your teeth. If that’s all you want to be done, then that’s the perfect treatment solution. If there are other things about your smile you want to tweak, there are several options.

If another issue you have is the whiteness of your teeth, your Invisalign aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. That allows you to simultaneously whiten and straighten your teeth.

If you’re looking for a total smile makeover, porcelain veneers are the way to go. These can change absolutely anything about your teeth— the shape, the size, the color, or any combination of those. One word of caution when it comes to smile makeovers.

While just about any dentist can do Invisalign or teeth whitening, to get a beautiful smile with porcelain veneers takes some additional training and skill. In fact, you’ll want an expert cosmetic dentist. Ideally, you should get an AACD accredited dentist.

These are the top cosmetic dentists in the world. Most, if not all of them will have a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana 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.

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.

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.

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.

What’s the Difference Between a Cosmetic Dentist and a General Dentist?

I can’t seem to figure out the difference between a general dentist and a cosmetic one. My dentist is a general dentist but he also does cosmetic things like teeth whitening and Lumineers. Is there a difference or do they just label themselves for the kinds of patients they want to draw and do both kinds of work?

Sandy M.

Dear Sandy,

A ugly cosmetic smile and a pretty cosmetic smile

There is no difference as far as a specialty. There isn’t a recognized specialty in Cosmetic Dentistry with the American Dental Association. Any Cosmetic Dentist is actually just a general dentist who also does cosmetic work.

That being said, there is a huge difference regarding quality and beauty that varies from dentist to dentist and it doesn’t matter which label they use. A good example of this is the image above. Both smiles are of the same woman and both smiles had the same type of dental work done. On the left, she had dental crowns. On the right, she had dental crowns. The only difference is the dentist.

The dentist on the left didn’t understand what materials to use to give her a natural looking smile. He technically knew how to make and bond dental crowns and is likely a decent general dentist. But, if you want anything appearance related it will take someone with both technical skill and artistry. That’s what the dentist on the right had.

Fixing Botched Cosmetic Dental Work—A New Industry

Most patients would be surprised how much business comes to high-quality cosmetic dentists, like Dr. Mike Malone, because they are fixing botched cosmetic cases. I suspect your dentist isn’t a high-quality dentist. The only reason I’m saying that without seeing examples of his work is his reliance on Lumineers. These are generally marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. But, the results are often opaque and bulky. So, how do you not end up with a smile makeover disaster?

If I were in the market for a complete smile makeover with porcelain veneers, I’d look for a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). There is a difference between being a member of the AACD and an accredited member. Any dentist can pay the fee to join. But, to become accredited, you have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate your artistry in many, many recent cases.

They’re among the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the country. If you’re looking for a beautiful smile, they’ll create one for you. In fact, many of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

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.