Tag Archives: Teeth Whitening

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.

Porcelain veneers with an overbite

I want to get a smile makeover. I asked my dentist about porcelain veneers and he said because my top teeth cover my bottom teeth I’m not a good candidate. Instead, he suggested I have crowns placed on my six front teeth. My teeth have some dark stains because of tetracycline too. Does this mean after the crowns are done, I’d whiten the bottom teeth to match?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

I want to caution you not to do dental crowns for your smile makeover. I think I know what is going on here. It sounds like your dentist isn’t as comfortable with designing and placing porcelain veneers than he is with dental crowns.

He doesn’t want to tell you this and cause you to think less of him as a practitioner, so instead he suggests the procedure he feels he does better.

Blaming your bite is creative but not valid. Even thinking about it logically, porcelain veneers would be a better fit for your bite. Porcelain crowns surround your entire tooth, but porcelain veneers only are bonded to the front. They would actually be less intrusive.

On top of all of that, with dental crowns, your teeth have to be ground down to nubs. Because of that, you can never have anything but crowns on those teeth for the remainder of your life.

There is another hint to me that your dentist isn’t an advanced cosmetic dentist. He’s suggesting six teeth be treated. Unless you have a narrow smile, that won’t be enough. Most people show between eight to twelve teeth when they smile.

Finding an Advanced Cosmetic Dentist

Your particular case is particularly challenging and requires a top-notch cosmetic dentist. Tetracycline stains are quite tricky to get right. You need the teeth to have the look of natural translucency, but at the same time still be opaque enough to cover the deep stains.

Only the top 2% of dentists can do this well. In your place, I’d look for a dentist who has been accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. They have both the technical skill and artistry to give you a stunning smile, even with tetracycline stains.

Regarding the teeth whitening you mentioned. Yes, you would whiten the remaining teeth which don’t get veneered. However, you want to do the teeth whitening first. When you get them to the level of whitening you want, it will be time to get your porcelain veneers. The KöR  Teeth Whitening System has been the most effective in whitening tetracycline stains.

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

pain with Invisalign

I know that braces cause pain because all my friends complained about it when I was growing up. I’m old enough to know I don’t want a mouth full of metal while I straighten my teeth. It would just seem unprofessional. However, I want to know what I’m signing up for. Does Invisalign have pain the way traditional braces do?

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

Invisalign aligner

It’s always wise to go into any treatment with a good idea of the pros and cons. The pros of Invisalign are obvious.

  • They work in half the time as traditional braces
  • You can eat and drink whatever you want
  • You can brush and floss much more easily
  • You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing
  • You don’t have to worry about cuts and abrasions from metal wires and brackets.

There is one point in which Invisalign aligners can ache a bit. You switch aligners every two weeks. For the day or two when you first put in your new set of aligners, they will feel snug and ache a bit.

This is because the aligners are sculpted to the next alignment your teeth should be in by the time the two-week time period is up. After those first few days, your teeth will be in that new position and the aligners will feel loose.

Usually, just some over-the-counter pain reliever is enough to keep the pain at bay.

An Unexpected Benefit with Invisalign

One extra treat you can get out of Invisalign is inexpensive teeth whitening. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. So, all you will need to purchase from your dentist is the whitening gel that you can place in your aligners for a period of time each day.

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

tri-colored porcelain veneers

I’ve got a smile makeover disaster. I have three different colored teeth right now. First, my ugly natural yellow teeth, then I had four porcelain veneers placed. Three of them look okay, but one of them is an uneven gray color. I paid a lot of money hoping to get a beautiful smile, but now I feel ridiculous with three different colors of teeth. I don’t even smile. My dentist said she’d make the gray one thicker to even out the colors, but I’m not sure how that will look and I’m losing confidence in her. What do you recommend?

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

Yikes! I can understand why you are unhappy. It sounds like you went to your family dentist who was in over her head. First, don’t let her make the graying veneer thicker. In fact, I think you need to ask for a refund and start over.

If I’m right about the graying veneer you have a good case for one. Because it is a splotchy gray, I think there isn’t a good bond between the porcelain veneer and the tooth. This is bad for your teeth. It allows things to get between the two, leaving you vulnerable for decay.

When you have this re-done, the first thing the dentist will have you do is whiten your teeth. This will keep your adjacent teeth from being an obviously different color. This is why your natural teeth look so obviously different from your four porcelain veneers.

Finding the Right Cosmetic Dentist to do Your Porcelain Veneers

It is imperative you have an excellent cosmetic dentist to re-do your porcelain veneers. Unfortunately, doing beautiful smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. Dentists have to invest time in getting the training they need.

Even with training, as with every art, some dentists have a more artistic eye than others. If you want the best cosmetic dentist, I’d go to aacd.com and look up an accredited cosmetic dentist in your area.

AACD accredited cosmetic dentists are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. They’ve passed stringent oral and written exams. Additionally, they have to provide visual evidence of a large number of cases they’ve done in order to show they are both technically skilled and artistic.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic 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.

Peroxide on Porcelain Veneers

If I used a DIY mouthwash which included peroxide, would it damage my porcelain veneers? It’s important to me they’re well cared for (as well as the rest of my mouth). If I can’t use that, what can I use?

Tamara

Dear Tamara,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

It’s great that you want to take care of your oral health as well as your porcelain veneers. With great care, they can last a lifetime. To answer your question, a mouthwash which contains peroxide won’t harm your porcelain veneers. However, depending on the frequency of use, it could harm you.

The occasional use of hydrogen peroxide will be beneficial. Regular use, say for a week or two, will lead to an imbalance of the microorganisms in your mouth. When that happens, you’ll develop a painful oral yeast infection. So, if you do want to do it, don’t do it too many times close together. Spread it out quite a bit.

Taking Care of Porcelain Veneers

If using a mouthwash is important to you, there is one particular ingredient in a mouthwash you’ll want to avoid. Don’t use anything that contains alcohol. The reason for that is it will eat away at the bonding on your porcelain veneers. This will lead to them falling off.

There are plenty of mouthwashes on the market which will be safe to use. Just check their ingredients list for alcohol and you’re good to go.

The most important thing you can do is have regular oral hygiene at home and keep up with your dental checkups to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

I usually recommend cosmetic patients use Supersmile Toothpaste. It’s specifically formulated to clean cosmetic dental work.

One other thing to be careful of has nothing to do with you. When you go in for your regular appointments, make sure your hygienist doesn’t use anything like a prophy jet during your cleanings. This will take the glazing off your porcelain veneers.

When this happens, you lose the protection for your veneers and they will start picking up stains very quickly. Bleaching them will be completely ineffective because teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure.

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?

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.

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.

Mandy

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.

Which Dentists Do CEREC Crowns on Front Teeth?

I keep hearing no CEREC crowns on front teeth, but surely there have to be dentists who do it. Is there a way to go about finding those dentists?

May

Dear May,

Machine for CEREC Crowns
Can you get beautiful crowns from a CEREC machine?

Great question! You can certainly find a dentist who will give you a CEREC crown on your front teeth, but what you want is a dentist who can do it well. The first thing you need to look for is a top-notch cosmetic dentist. The best of the best are dentists who’ve reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are among the top 1% of dentists in the country.

If it’s milled by machine, why does the dentist need to be so artistic? Another great question. It’s specifically because they’re milled by machine. Until recently, CEREC machines would only mill from a single block of porcelain. There are new machines which can mill with gradients. But, many dentists just finished investing in the older CEREC machines and aren’t able to scrap it for the new one. They don’t come cheap.

That doesn’t mean they can’t create you a gorgeous crown. With expertise in color theory, they can create the gradient with the way they color the tooth. But again, only the best of the best can do that.

Consideration When Getting Crowns on Front Teeth

When you’re talking about the most visible part of your smile, you want it to be as beautiful as possible. Once the crown is created, the color on it cannot be changed. You not only want the tooth to look natural and beautiful, but to match the surrounding teeth as well.

So, if your teeth are in need of a little brightening, the time to do it is before your crown is created. Teeth whitening is a quick and easy way to give your smile a boost. If you want, you can even do it in just one appointment using in-office Zoom Whitening.

Once you have the color you’re pleased with, your dentist can match the CEREC crown to it exactly.

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