Tag Archives: Smile Makeover

lumineers trouble

I had Lumineers placed on both my top and bottom teeth. The top ones did absolutely fine. It’s the bottom ones I am having trouble with. They’re in massive pain and I’ve already lost one tooth when a root canal didn’t help. My dentist is going to put on a bridge free of charge. He doesn’t know why there is so much pain. He’s trying to help but I’m living on pain killers right now. I don’t want this to be the rest of my life, especially knowing how addictive they are. Can you help? Have you heard of this happening before?


Dear Margie,

There are a couple of things going on here. First, Lumineers are often advertised to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. That gets many well-intentioned dentists in over their heads.

A lot of this is because the Lumineers’ company promotes them as being no prep. Sometimes that can work out well on top teeth, though not always. Many patients complain about them being bulky. The bottom teeth, however, are a completely different story.

Second, when you’re talking about a no-prep technique, the teeth are about two millimeters longer as well as sticking out a tad. On bottom teeth, this can throw your teeth out of their proper occlusion and cause lots of pain for you.

That is likely what is going on in your case.

Cosmetic Work on Bottom Teeth

When it comes to smile makeovers, unless there is something which needs to change structurally with your bottom teeth, we’ll put porcelain veneers on the top teeth, but only whiten the bottom arch. Though, there are times veneers make sense. In those cases, however, tooth prep is necessary.

It does sound like your dentist is trying to take responsibility and make things right for you. That’s a sign you have an ethical dentist who just happened to do a procedure he wasn’t ready for. Don’t be too hard on him. We all start somewhere with procedures that are new to us. It’s a good sign that he’s stretching himself and adding to his field of knowledge.

Make sure you are out of pain before the bridge is placed. If he’s having trouble with that, you can suggest he talks to an expert cosmetic dentist, who’s studied occlusion as well. I’d look for an AACD accredited dentist in that case. Feel free to show him this post.

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

porcelain veneers & invisalign?

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


Dear Kathryn,

Invisalign aligner
You can now straighten your teeth invisibly

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

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

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

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

Invisalign or Porcelain Veneers

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

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

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

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

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

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?


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.

What If I Can’t Get Porcelain Veneers?

I’m disappointed with my smile, but my dentist said I can’t get porcelain veneers because I grind my teeth. Is there anything else I can do to improve my smile? I have a gap between my teeth and they are quite discolored.


Dear Mandy,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

I think your dentist may be a little confused. If the only issue is that you grind your teeth, there is a way for you to get porcelain veneers. It’s possible that he’s not comfortable doing smile makeovers and rather than admit that he’s trying to discourage you from moving forward with that. Don’t pressure him. You will not be happy with the results.

Here’s what I’d recommend. The first thing I want you to do is to get a second opinion. But, make sure you do it with a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

In all honesty, in order to get the gorgeous smile you’re hoping for that’s the type of dentist you’d want to do your veneers anyway.

If Porcelain Veneers Aren’t an Option

There are some cases, where other work has to be done before you can get porcelain veneers, such as when you have gum disease. In other cases, they’re good candidates, but this type of makeover is just over their budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t get an upgraded smile. Here are some great, affordable options:

  • Teeth Whitening: This is the most affordable way to brighten your smile dramatically. It will make you look years younger.
  • Invisalign: This is a great option to straighten your teeth without anyone knowing your wearing orthodontics. Plus, it works in half the time of traditional orthodontics.
  • Dental Bonding: This can repair chips and gaps on teeth.

As you can see there are many ways to upgrade a smile. However, no matter what you do, you’ll want to protect your teeth, especially after investing money in improving it. If your dentist hasn’t suggested a night guard to you, knowing that you’re grinding your teeth, then it may be time to get another dentist.

This is a simple orthotic device you’d wear over your teeth and it will take the pressure off of your teeth when you grind them. Without this, your natural teeth will eventually be worn down to nubs, requiring you to get each tooth crowned.

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

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.

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.

Can Invisalign Straighten My Gums?

I’ve never been happy with my smile. My front teeth are a little crooked and my gums are uneven. I was thinking of getting Invisalign but wondered if it would work for my gums too. I’m a little embarrassed to ask my dentist in case it’s a stupid question.


Dear Bethany,

A woman placing in her Invisalign aligners

When it comes to the health of your gums and teeth, there are no stupid questions so never be afraid to ask your dentist anything. He should be happy to answer. If he’s not, you need a different dentist. Invisalign is a great option for straightening teeth without anyone else knowing. They’re invisible even at a conversational distance. If you’re a good candidate then it will do a great job with your crooked front teeth. What it won’t do is straighten your gums. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be straightened.

For that, your dentist can do a couple of things. If you’re referring to unevenness from one tooth to the next, then he’d do what’s called a gingivectomy. That simply means he’d remove some tissue from the gums that stand out more. It’s a simple procedure.

If the shape of your gums doesn’t look quite right or they’re bulky, then your dentist will perform a gingivoplasty. That’s just a big word for reshaping. This is also a simple procedure. Both are done in-office in one visit. I’d recommend taking care of the gums first and then getting your Invisalign done.

An Alternative to Invisalign

If there’s more than just the crookedness of the front teeth which bother you, there’s another option. Porcelain veneers can give you a complete smile makeover. Veneers can change everything about your smile—the shape, the size, the color, even the character.

Unlike Invisalign, which can be done by just about any dentist, a complete smile makeover will require an expert cosmetic dentist. Otherwise, you could end up with very disappointing results. Look on aacd.com to find an accredited dentist in your area.

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

Can porcelain veneers fix a tooth gap?

If I have a tooth gap between my center top front teeth, can porcelain veneers close the gap?

Lucy P – North Dakota


Yes, porcelain veneers can close a tooth gap. However, unless there are other things about your teeth you’d like to change, there is a less expensive fix.

Dental bonding is a simple way to close a tooth gap. It uses composite resin. Your dentist will manually shape it to your teeth, blending it to look naturally with your front teeth.

Porcleian veneers are better for a total smile makeover.  They can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth. They can completely remake your smile.

However, they do cost more than bonding. Which procedure you should get will be determined by your goals and desires for your smile.

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

Why won’t my dentist let me get lumineers?

I want to get lumineers, but my dentist Dr. ———– says they’re not any good. Shouldn’t it be my choice?

Tara M. – Kentucky


I know the dentist you’re referring to. He’s actually a very good cosmetic dentist and he can give you a gorgeous smile. There are a lot of good cosmetic dentists who aren’t crazy about lumineers. Mostly that stems from the fact that the Lumineers company requires dentists to use their lab, which to be quite frank, isn’t that great.

Yes, it is up to you, but you’re going to your dentist for his expertise. Maybe you should trust his instinct. If you’re worried, you can tell your dentist that you want to approve the try ins. But, again, he’s a great dentist and would have you do that anyway.

One thing to bear in mind is that Lumineers are just a brand of porcelain veneers. There are several different brands of veneers. Each of them have their own characteristics and a great cosmetic dentist will know which one is the best option for the type of smile you want.

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

Do I need to go out of town for a smile makeover?

I live in a small town. We do have a dentist and he said he could give me lumineers, but my sister is saying I’d be better off going to Atlanta for the makeover. That’s an hour and a half drive. Is it really worth that?

Amy D. – Georgia


If I were in your place, I would drive to Atlanta. I know it is a drive, but you’d only have to do it twice. I assure you it will likely make a huge difference.

If your dentist is saying he could give you lumineers it has me concerned. Many artistic cosmetic dentists feel that will not give you the beautiful smile you’re looking for. They often prefer other brands of porcelain veneers. Many inexperienced dentists place them because they’re marketed as being easy to place, but they tend to be bulky and opaque.

What you really want is a dentist who has expertise and an artistic eye.  It’s ideal if you can go to a dentist who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

A dentist with that kind of skill will give you an absolutely stunning smile. If you’re ging to spend the money on a makeover, you want to make sure you get a gorgeous one.

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