I have had white spots on my two front teeth since childhood. I would like to have a more evenly colored smile. My dentist suggested Lumineers but that is very expensive. I was thinking something closer to Zoom whitening or something. Would that work?
I am very glad you wrote. What your dentist suggested is a bit of an overtreatment, unless you were looking for a complete smile makeover. Even then, Lumineers would not be my first choice in the brand of porcelain veneers to use. They’re often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists. If you didn’t suggest a desire for a smile makeover, I worry that your dentist may have been using you for practice.
That being said, while Zoom whitening is a very effective means of whitening your teeth, it will not be the solution you are looking for in this situation. Any type of teeth whitening will whiten all the tooth structure evenly. That means as your teeth get whiter, so will the white spots. This is probably not the look you were going for.
The simplest solution would be to see an expert cosmetic dentist who can do microabrasion and then dental bonding. Or, if you do desire to get a complete smile makeover, you could see that expert cosmetic dentist, but for porcelain veneers instead.
I had been saving up to give myself a smile makeover. I’d planned on porcelain veneers. There is not anything major wrong with my smile, but I heard porcelain veneers were the procedure to do for a smile makeover. When I met with my dentist he suggested I do Invisalign first and then get the porcelain veneers. I was under the impression you do one or the other. I don’t have a major orthodontic case, just one crooked tooth. My dentist suggested Lumineers, which I was fine with, but that confused me more because their advertisement said they can make crooked teeth look straight. What am I not understanding?
I can understand your confusion. In general, unless as you said there is a major orthodontic case, the porcelain veneers can make your teeth look straight if the dentist is skilled enough to do it right. I am concerned that your dentist is not and that is why he is suggesting Invisalign first. The fact that he wants to place Lumineers reinforces my fears. That particular brand of porcelain veneers is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists.
If you decide to go with porcelain veneers, you need to find a different dentist to do it. I would look for a practice that has an AACD Accredited Dentist on staff. That being said, I don’t think you actually need porcelain veneers.
Based on your description, it sounds like you are just wanting to whiten and brighten your teeth and change the appearance of that one crooked tooth. You could do that at a fraction of the cost of any brand of porcelain veneers using Invisalign.
Plus, the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. Now, if there are other things about your smile you want to change, such as their shape or chips, then, yes, spend the extra money on porcelain veneers (though I do not recommend the Lumineers brand). Just make sure you get them done right with an expert cosmetic dentist.
I have a gap in my two front teeth. It is substantially large enough for another tooth to fit there. Would getting Lumineers help? They could make each of the teeth a little wider. One dentist recommended that. Another recommended orthodontics. I really don’t want braces though.
I am trying to imagine that dentist thinking that extending your teeth out that far will look in any way normal if that gap is as large as I’m picturing. I wish I had a picture.
I will say that dentists who suggest Lumineers are not usually in the top tier of cosmetic dentists. That particular brand of porcelain veneers is often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. The type of cosmetic case you are describing is very advanced and would take the best of the best in cosmetic dentists. I wouldn’t let anyone except an AACD accredited dentist touch that.
However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to have traditional metal and wire brackets. Orthodontics have come a LONG way. These days, you can get Invisalign. Instead of wires and brackets, they use clear aligners. These are invisible even at a conversational distance.
This will allow you to straighten your teeth without anyone noticing. If you want, the aligners can even double as teeth whitening trays which allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time.
It looks to me like you need to seek out a third dentist if the one who suggested orthodontics didn’t offer Invisalign, unless there is something else about your bite that wasn’t mentioned. If it is a simple matter of a gap then it is the perfect solution.
I have a large tooth gap. It was last measured at 9mm. I thought about doing Snap-on Smile, but after all the tests and things, it turned out I wasn’t a candidate for that procedure. I’m too old for braces, so I’m thinking about Lumineers. I have scheduled an appointment with a Lumineers certified dentist in a couple of weeks but thought I’d check and see if you thought that was a waste of my time and money.
I am very glad you wrote before going through with this plan of Lumineers. While I am sure you could find a dentist willing to do it for you, it would end up a disaster!
The size of your gap is enough to fit another tooth. Unless the dentist is a top of the line, expert cosmetic dentist you are going to end up with something that looks ridiculous. And I will tell you right off the bat, dentists who advertise as placing Lumineers tend to be at the bottom of the barrel of cosmetic dentists.
The Lumineers company markets themselves to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place because they don’t require any tooth preparation, the way other brands of porcelain veneers do. There are two problems with that.
One, that rarely turns out looking anything but bulky. Some people have described it as horse teeth. And, two, there is a whole lot more to creating a beautiful smile than just the tooth preparation.
An Invisible Alternative to Braces
You mentioned you were too old for braces. Has your dentist discussed Invisalign with you yet? These are sometimes called invisible braces.
Both people in the image above are wearing orthodontics. The one on the left is wearing traditional braces. The one on the right is wearing Invisalign. No one will be able to tell you are wearing them even at a conversational distance.
With the size of the gap you are talking about Invisalign would be my number one recommendation for repair. It has an added benefit as well. Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners to straighten your teeth. Those aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This will allow you to straighten and whiten your teeth all at once.
If you don’t like the idea of any orthodontics, then you will need to go with porcelain veneers. However, as I mentioned above, you will need an expert cosmetic dentist in your case. I would only see an AACD accredited dentist to do your porcelain veneers case, if that is what you decide on.
I wanted to get Lumineers. I have a tooth which is a little crooked. Not enough for full orthodontic treatment. That’s why I was hoping to do Lumineers because I was told they could just go on top of my teeth. My dentist said I could do them, but would need Invisalign first for the crooked tooth. Are both really necessary? That’s more money than I was planning.
Please bear in mind that I haven’t seen your case, but in general you would either do Invisalign or Lumineers, not both. There would be some exceptions in severe orthodontic cases. Based on what you’d mentioned, I don’t think that is your situation.
Let’s go over what you can do with each treatment and you will have an idea of which will most help you meet your smile goals.
These use clear aligners to straighten your teeth. No one will know you are wearing them, even at a conversational distance. That is why some people call them invisible braces.
They are more comfortable than traditional metal wire and bracket braces and usually work in half the time.
The aligners have the additional benefit of being able to double as teeth whitening trays. This allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth simultaneously.
If all you feel your teeth need are a straighter look and whiter color, this method will save you thousands of dollars.
The first thing you should know is that Lumineers are simply one brand of porcelain veneers. Most expert cosmetic dentists prefer other brands. This is mostly because this brand is owned by the DenMat company, which requires dentists to use their labs. This lab is not known for skilled results.
Porcelain veneers, when done by a skilled cosmetic dentist can completely remake your smile. They can change the shape of your teeth, the size of your teeth, and the color of your teeth all at the same time. It is the go-to for celebrities trying to get that perfect Hollywood smile.
While it won’t straighten your teeth, it can make your teeth look straight.
Even without the need to make your crooked tooth look straight, doing a smile makeover is an advanced procedure. Your particular case requires a little more expertise.
If you want to go that route. I’d go to aacd.com and search for an accredited cosmetic dentist in your area. Dentists who’ve reached accreditation are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.
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?
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.
My sister and I are in constant competition with one another, even when I don’t want to be. I told her I was planning on getting a smile makeover next year. I’m guessing she felt she needed to beat me to it because three months later she called to tell me she just had Lumineers done and has a gorgeous new smile. At first, I was mad. She’s always “one-upping” me. However, after I saw her new smile, I was relieved. She likes it (or at least says she does). But, I think it looks awful. Her teeth are bulky. To me, they look like horse teeth. They’re also chalky looking. I was hoping for something more natural looking, though I do want them to be very white. How can I avoid a fake looking smile? I’ve seen the pictures of smile makeovers and, in photos, they look gorgeous. What went wrong with my sisters?
Having a copy-cat sister is going to turn out to be a true blessing for you. The most important decision to make when it comes to getting a total smile makeover is the dentist you choose to create your new smile. Cosmetic dentistry is an art. Just like two different sculptors have different levels of artistry and skill, the same is true for dentists.
Choosing the wrong dentist is what went wrong with your sister’s porcelain veneers. My first clue to that is you said he gave her Lumineers. Those are a particular brand of porcelain veneers that are highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place.
Many expert cosmetic dentists feel the brand is sub-par. The reason for that has more to do with the fact that the DenMat Company, who owns Lumineers, insists dentists use the company’s lab. They’re not known for following the dentist’s directions in a way which creates beautiful results. That’s likely where the chalky look came from.
As for the bulkiness, that’s also a common complaint with that particular brand. They’re advertised as being easy to place because they’re ultra-thin and the teeth don’t have to be prepped as a result. That’s why they’re considered “easy” to place. The problem with that is with some smiles, regardless of how thin the veneers are, without the teeth being prepped you end up with bulky looking teeth.
Finding the Right Dentist to Place Your Porcelain Veneers
If you want a stunning smile, one that will make your sister think twice about rushing into something just to beat you to the punch, then you one a top-of-the-line cosmetic dentist. If possible go to a dentist who has attained accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. These are the best cosmetic dentists in the world. They’re so good
If you can’t find an AACD accredited dentist in a near enough distance for you to reasonably travel, don’t panic. There are many other skilled cosmetic dentists, many of whom are on their way to accreditation which takes many years.
You can look at the mynewsmile.com website to find these dentists. They don’t recommend anyone who cannot create a stunning smile. You’ll be safe with anyone on their list. All you have to do is input your zip code and how far you’re willing to travel for your smile makeover.
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?
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.
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.
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.