Tag Archives: Porcelain Veneers

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?

Kathryn

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.

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.

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.