Tag Archives: Braces

Fixing My Teeth Without Porcelain Veneers

I have some crooked teeth. All of my teeth are discolored from age. I want to improve my smile. My dentist is very keen on me getting porcelain veneers and even showed me his brag book. I hope it doesn’t sound ugly to say I was not impressed. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, so I am looking for alternatives.


Dear Callie,

Zoom Whitening

Don’t feel bad about having a high standard for your cosmetic work. These are expensive procedures that affect your appearance. Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you.

If you do not want porcelain veneers, that is okay. There are options. The first thing I would suggest is to deal with the discoloration. Having brighter, whiter teeth can make you look years younger. One quick way to do that is with Zoom Whitening. It can deeply whiten your teeth in just one appointment.

side by side compairison of braces
Braces versus Invisalign

Then, to straighten them, you can either get braces or Invisalign. I recommend Invisalign for several reasons.

  • They are more comfortable
  • They are invisible even at a conversational distance
  • They work faster
  • They make it easy to keep up with your oral hygiene

Both of these procedures together are less expensive than porcelain veneers. While porcelain veneers require extensive post-doctoral training for a dentist to do them well, teeth whitening and Invisalign can be done by just about any dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Invisalign with Missing Teeth

I have two missing second bicuspids and want to get my teeth straightened. I feel like I’m too old for braces. I was thinking of getting Invisalign. I went to see an orthodontist and he doesn’t think Invisalign is all it is cracked up to be. He wants me to get traditional braces. Is that my only option?


Dear Katherine,

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign: The adult solutions to braces

My guess is your orthodontist is more comfortable with traditional metal wire and bracket braces. However, Invisalign should work fine in your case, though you may have better success with a dentist who treats with Invisalign than with a traditional orthodontist.

It will do fine with the missing teeth. It could close the spaces so that you wouldn’t even need to replace them with dental implants. However, let your dentist evaluate that.

If he thinks replacing the teeth is necessary, just make sure he has post-doctoral training in restorative dentistry.

A Fun Benefit to Invisalign

There is another perk to Invisalign aside from straightening your teeth. Because the aligners are custom-fit to move your bite, they are very snug. This makes them ideal for doubling as teeth whitening trays.

Your dentist can provide you with whitening gel that you can place in your Invisalign aligners at a time convenient to you. This allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. It’s like getting a mini smile makeover at a discount.

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

Thumb Sucking

I sucked my thumb until I was in junior high school and was finally able to quit. Now I’m an adult with a huge overbite. Is it possible to fix this without metal braces?


Dear Cami,

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign: The adult solutions to braces

I’m glad you wrote. It is never too late to repair and improve the appearance of your smile. Plus, because of the advancements in orthodontics, you no longer have to wear ugly and uncomfortable braces with their metal wires and brackets.

My suggestion is you see a dentist who offers Invisalign. These use clear aligners. No one will even know you are wearing them, even at a conversational distance. One of the hidden benefits is the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This will enable you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time, though you don’t have to.

Thumb Sucking

I’m saying this for the benefit of parents who have a thumb sucker. Don’t panic! Most children give the habit up by the time their adult teeth start to come in.

If you make a big deal out of it, there’s a good chance it will backfire and make it harder for your child to quit. If they get to the point where their permanent teeth are coming in and they can’t seem to quit, let them know you can help.

You don’t have to take them to a pediatric dentist and do anything expensive. The simplest solution is to purchase Thum. This is a bitter-tasting liquid you can “paint” on their thumbs. Most of the time they stick their thumb in their mouth without even meaning to because it’s a subconscious habit. This liquid will help them realize it.

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

Snap on Smile for straight teeth

Will snap on smile make my teeth look straight? I’m too old for braces.

Cathy- Maine


Whether Snap-on Smile can make your teeth look straight, will depend on how your teeth need to look straight. If you have a large overbite, then it would make your smile stick out further.  If your teeth are a little crooked, then it will make them look straight. You need to know that while this will give you a decent smile, it will not give you a stunning smile like you would get with porcelain veneers.

You mentioned that you are too old for braces, but have you considered getting Invisalign? These will straighten your teeth with invisable aligners. No one will even know you are straightening your teeth.

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


Root Resorption

I have been told today that I have tooth resorption on my front tooth. This was noticed by my orthodontist. My question is could my braces have made this happen (I have had them off for 4 months now) and what is the best treatment? She spoke about root canal filling and is this going to make it permanently better?
Thanks Bradley

Dear Bradley,

It is common for most patients going through orthodontic treatment to incur some root resorption during the treatment process. The root resorption most likely will stop now that your braces are off, no further treatment should be necessary, and the possibility of you losing the tooth in the future is highly unlikely. Now if your resorption is severe and you have bone loss around the tooth then the probability of losing the tooth in greatly increased. Only if your tooth is infected will you need to have a root canal. Our advice to you is to see an endodontist for an evaluation of the tooth. Endodontist specialize in root canal treatments. If they say the tooth is not infected then you will not need any treatment even if root resorption is present. We advise you to have your tooth x-rayed at least once a year during your dental check-ups to make sure your tooth is not losing any bone and that the resorption is stabilized.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Teeth very sensitive after removal of braces

I had braces for two years, and have just recently had them removed. Ever since they were taken off, I have noticed that my teeth are incredibly sensitive to temperature. If I try to eat or drink anything hot or cold, it is really painful. I can also feel rough patches and dips on the front of my teeth, almost as if the enamel is gone. Could my orthodontist have damaged my teeth when she removed the brackets? I am also noticing that my teeth seem to be getting darker every day. I don’t drink coffee or cola very often, but my teeth seem to soak up every stain like never before.

What should I do? I did not go through two years of ortho to have ugly teeth!

Thanks for your time,

Savannah from Council Bluffs

Dear Savannah,

I don’t think your orthodontist caused this damage, though it is not unheard of that damage can happen during bracket removal. The patches you describe sound like areas of decalcification. These are areas where your teeth have lost some minerals, and those areas are porous, which is causing the staining you are seeing. Those spots may eventually turn brown, and even chip away, leaving pitted holes in your teeth. I am sure this is NOT what you envisioned as you went through orthodontic treatment, and that missing enamel is what is making your teeth so sensitive.

Teenagers are not always as diligent as they should be about brushing their teeth after eating, and when a teen has braces, the problem is magnified. The brackets allow food to sit against your tooth, and underneath the brackets, the acid in your saliva that helps digest food is busy working away at the surface of the tooth. The extent of the problem becomes really evident when the braces come off.

It is important to address the issue before it gets any worse. Bleaching will not help the stains. It will probably make them look worse, so I would not recommend going that route. If the damage is just to a few small spots, a treatment choice might be dental bonding. Freehand dental bonding is one of the most challenging cosmetic dentistry techniques from an artistic standpoint, and if it is not done well, you will not be happy. Make sure you chose a cosmetic dentist who is trained and experienced. Direct dental bonding requires a very high degree of artistry and technical skill that very few dentists possess.

If the damage is extensive and/or severe, you may be looking at porcelain veneers. That is a daunting prospect after two years of orthodontic work, but it is better to be prepared.

If you have friends that still have braces, you can be their cautionary tale. People with braces simply MUST brush after every single time they eat. At the very least, they must rinse thoroughly with water if brushing is impossible. It is very frustrating to go through all those years of ortho work, only to continue struggling with dental issues when you are done.

What is faster than braces?

I am getting married a year from now, and searching for “The Dress” was an eye-opening experience, and not in a good way. After a while, all I could see in the mirror was my crooked, crowded teeth! I really want to look and feel my best for my wedding day. I had a consultation with an orthodontist, and she told me that straightening my teeth with braces will take at least two years. I don’t have that kind of time! Is there a faster way to have a really beautiful smile for my wedding day?
–Kimberly in Bangor, ME

Dear Kimberly,

If you have crowded, crooked teeth, there are a couple of different ways you CAN have a beautiful smile in just a few months, but only if you consult the right professional. You need to talk to an expert cosmetic dentist, not an orthodontist. An expert cosmetic dentist (especially one accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) will be able to offer you options that a traditionally trained orthodontist is not qualified to provide.

Invisalign braces can straighten your teeth in six to nine months, depending on the degree of crowding. Extremely crowded teeth might take a little longer, but treatment with Invisalign braces rarely takes more than a year. An added bonus to using Invisalign is that even if your treatment is not completely finished by the day of your wedding, the aligner can simply be removed for the big day and pictures. If your teeth are otherwise intact and attractive, Invisalign might be the way to go.

An even faster option is to go with porcelain veneers, but here especially you must be very careful about choosing the right dentist. Many dentists have the technical skill to place the veneers, but they lack the artistic sense to make your smile truly beautiful and natural. If your teeth are discolored or misshapen, porcelain veneers can give you a really gorgeous wedding day smile quite quickly.

The bottom line is that you really should have the advice of an expert cosmetic dentist that has experience with both treatment types before you make any decisions. Choose your dentist very carefully, and then you know you can count on their advice to be sound.

Good luck, and congratulations on your wedding.