Tag Archives: Porcelain Veneers

Dealing with Tetracycline Stains

I am almost 45 and have severe tetracycline stains. I’d really like to improve my smile so I won’t feel embarrassed to smile. However, I’ve been to three dentists and they all want to give me a mouth full of dental crowns. My teeth are very healthy so I hate the idea of grinding them down. Are there other options for my situation or should I resign myself to crowns?

Brenda

Dear Brenda,

porcelain veneer being placed

Tetracycline stains are some of the most difficult type of cosmetic cases there are. If a dentist is suggesting a dental crown for your smile makeover and you do not have a clinical need for them, that is a hint that they are not a skilled cosmetic dentist.

One of the trickiest parts of a tetracycline case is getting the dental work opaque enough to cover the stains themselves, but still translucent enough to look natural.

Inexperienced cosmetic dentists try to get around this by using dental crowns. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really help. Given your unique situation, I would say you need an expert cosmetic dentist. They will be able to cover your tetracycline stains with porcelain veneers, which will give you the gorgeous smile you want without grinding healthy tooth structure down the way your current dentist wants to do.

While there is not a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, the top 1-3% of cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recognized the dilemma both patients and dentist’s faced. Patients needed a way to find good cosmetic dentists. Dentists needed a way to get the skills needed to do excellent cosmetic work that is not offered in dental school. As a result, they created their accreditation program.

It takes YEARS to get accredited. There are superb cosmetic dentists out there who have not yet received their accreditation, but your situation is quite challenging. I am going to recommend you look for a dentist who is accredited.

While not all dentists in our office are accredited, we do have one dentist in our office who comes in just for those challenging cases.  There is probably a dental practice in your area who has a credentialed  dentist. If there is not, it will be worth it for you to travel to a nearby state if you want to be assured of a gorgeous result.

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

Will Zoom Whitening Refresh My Porcelain Veneers?

I have had my porcelain veneers for a little over seven months. Everything was fine, but recently I have noticed that they have begun taking on stains. I tried over-the-counter teeth whitening strips, but they do not seem to be helping. My dentist does zoom whitening. Would that help?

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

a porcelain veneer being held up to a tooth

The glaze on porcelain veneers are very stain resistant. In fact, they are more stain resistant than your natural teeth. If they are picking up stains then something has damaged the glazing that protects them.

You mentioned that you have had them for a bit over seven months. This is enough time for you to go in for a check up and cleaning.  It is possible that the hygienist was unaware that using a power prophy jet or acidulated fluoride could damage the glazing.

My suggestion is you ask your hygienist what he or she used during your appointment. If they damaged the veneers then they should be the ones to repair them.

Unfortunately, Zoom Whitening will not help. Teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure, not dental work. This is also why the over the counter strips didn’t work.

The good news is that there is a way to repair the glazing. If your dentist does not know how, have him cover the expense of having an expert cosmetic dentist do that for you.

Once they are repaired, I recommend you use Supersmile Toothpaste. It is specifically designed to keep dental work in top shape. It can even remove coffee stains without any damage to your porcelain veneers.

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

Lumineers or Orthodontics?

My nephew is graduating and I promised to get him orthodontics as a gift. His parents are struggling and I know his teeth bother him. However, his dentist told him that he could get his teeth fixed much faster with Lumineers. I looked into it and they are a LOT more expensive. Would these really be a better option for him than straightening his teeth?

Angie

Dear Angie,

Invisalign aligner

I am glad you wrote before moving forward. If the only thing his teeth need is to be straightened, than orthodontics are the way to go. To do Lumineers simply to straighten teeth would be a bit of an overtreatment, and an expensive one at that as you have noticed.

At his age, instead of traditional metal braces, I would suggest you look into Invisalign. This would allow him to straighten his teeth without anyone even knowing because it uses clear aligners.

If there are other things wrong with his teeth, like their shape or size, and you are willing to invest in a total smile makeover, than porcelain veneers would be the way to go.

That being said, I would not recommend the Lumineers brand. This particular brand is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. Additionally, their lab, which they force dentists to use, is not known to produce beautiful results.

Instead, I would look for a dentist who is accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. They are the most skilled cosmetic dentists in the country and can give your nephew a stunning smile.

I hope this helps you with your decision.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

I Need Another Option for My Gummy Smile

I’d heard there are treatments for gummy smiles these days. I’ve always hated mine and wanted to do something about it but the two options my dentist gave me were either scary invasive or crazy expensive. The first option he gave me was porcelain veneers, which he said would fix my gummy smile along with “all the other flaws” in my smile. Not only was that a tad insulting, but the price was astronomical. The second option he gave me was gum contouring, which he said he does with lasers. That idea gives me hives. Is there another option that is not as invasive?

Penelope

Dear Penelope,

Botox gummy smile repair

Generally, the best treatment for you will depend on the cause of your gummy smile. There are more than people realize.

Causes of Gummy Smiles

  • Big Gums. This one is obvious. You have normal-sized teeth, but longer gums.
  • A puny upper lip. Some people just have tiny upper lips, so when they smile you see more gum than you would with a longer lip.
  • Medical Gingival Hyperplasia. This is when either a medication, poor dental care, or a medical condition causes the overgrowth of your gums.
  • Hyperactive muscles. This is when your lip tightens up more than normal giving you a gummy appearance.

Comparing Some Options

While porcelain veneers are a great option for a smile makeover and can also repair a gummy smile, if you are otherwise happy with your smile then it is not a good investment for you. This is a better option for someone who was looking for a complete smile makeover. If I am reading you right, that is not what you are after. You want to fix this one issue. So, in that case, don’t invest the money in porcelain veneers.

The laser procedure is not as scary as it sounds, but is not your only other option. A very simple thing you can do, depending on the cause of your gummy smile, believe it or not is Botox. Botox has been successfully used in treating gummy smiles. This is for someone whose lip comes up too tightly when they smile. Using the Botox relaxes the upper lip thereby giving them a more natural looking smile.

There are other options as well such as, orthodontics, root planing, crown lengthening, and even orthognatic surgery. Which of these is useful to you depends on the cause. You asked for the least invasive and that would be Botox.

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

Zoom Whitening Left One Tooth Lighter than Others

Two days ago I had Zoom whitening done. It all went pretty well, and I had very little pain or sensitivity after. It didn’t burn my gums or anything like that. I was surprised because a friend of mine did experience those things, but she does have extra sensitive teeth.

But now I can’t help but notice my right front tooth, the one next to the eye tooth, is lighter than all the others! At first, I thought I was imagining things, but I’ve looked at it under different lights and it’s definitely lighter than its neighbors. I asked my wife and she can see it too.

Why would this happen? What should I do?

Thanks,
Eric

Dear Eric,

Zoom whitening patient under the light

 

For those who are unfamiliar with this procedure, Zoom Whitening works by having a professional place a hydrogen peroxide based gel on the teeth, which is then activated by shining a specific type of light upon it. It will whiten any natural tooth structure, but will not whiten dental work, such as tooth-colored fillings or crowns, whether porcelain fused to metal, zirconia, or veneers.

The light activation allows you to get your teeth completely whitened in just one appointment.

What Would Cause One Tooth To Be Lighter Than The Others?

There are a few reasons this might happen. If the neighboring teeth have more filling material than this tooth, it could appear lighter due to the higher presence of natural tooth structure that is responding to the whitening agent. If this tooth happens to have an already-light crown or veneer, this may occur.

Sometimes it may be due to differences in the application of the gel, if it had been applied unevenly. Other times it may simply be caused by the original shade of the tooth itself, compared to the others. These shade differences occur naturally at times, and a tooth that was slightly lighter to begin with may end up lighter at the finish.

 

What Can Be Done?

Call your dentist; they should be able to get you in for an evaluation. If this was not due to an existing filling, crown or veneer, the doctor may choose to do a touch-up, where additional Zoom whitening treatment is given to the neighboring teeth to see if they can be lifted to match the shade of the lighter tooth. This may take a few appointments. Barring that, you may consider bonding or a porcelain veneer to attain the shade match desired. Many options exist, but they all begin by calling the office.

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

Will Snap on Smile Help with Crooked Teeth?

I am an adult with crooked teeth and I am trying to re-enter the workforce. It has been hard to clean my teeth because they are so crooked. I am wondering if the snap on smile I have read about would be able to make my teeth look straight and white so I have a better chance of getting a job? My dentist is suggesting porcelain veneers but that is a bit out of my budget. I have had several interviews for which I am more than qualified for but can’t seem to get the job. I asked a friend what she thinks is holding me back and she suggested my teeth could be a problem. So, would this snap on smile option work for me?

Patricia

Dear Patricia,

Invisalign aligners
Invisalign Aligner

Your friend is probably onto something regarding your teeth having an impact on the way the interviewer perceives you. Our smile is the first thing people notice about us so we want to put our best teeth forward.

While it is possible that Snap-on Smile could make your teeth look straighter, it is very likely that it will also look fake and bulky. This is made of acrylic, which often ends up looking flat and dull. That will not be a natural look. Another issue is you are placing it on top of already crooked teeth. This adds bulk and will make your smile stick out a bit more. The bulk can also affect the way you speak, which can also negatively impact your performance and impression with the interviewer.

Instead of Snap-on Smile, I am going to suggest you do Invisalign. These will straighten your teeth without anyone knowing you have orthodontics on. Instead of the metal wires and brackets you get with traditional braces, Invisalign uses clear aligners that straighten your teeth in about half the time of braces. These aligners are invisible even at a conversation distance. This is done at a fraction of the cost of the porcelain veneers procedure your dentist suggested to you.

You can also ask your dentist to provide you with some professional strength teeth whitening gel. You can wear these in your aligners, which can double as teeth whitening trays, at a time convenient to you. This will give you a mini smile makeover by straightening and whitening your teeth simultaneously. Plus, whiter teeth give you a more youthful appearance which can also help you if you are re-entering the workforce after a period of time away.

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

Looking for a cheap new smile

I have discolored front teeth and two chipped teeth from when I fell. My dentist fixed them several years ago and while they were fixed, the color sticks out as being different from the rest of the teeth. I want to fix the discoloration on both my natural teeth and the bonded teeth. My dentist suggested porcelain veneers which colors the whole tooth, but the price is pretty hefty. Is there a way to get a uniform smile cheaper?

David

Dear David,

before and after dental bonding

I am very glad you wrote. First, your dentist does not need to do either bonding or porcelain veneers on you for your smile makeover. I posted a picture above that shows how dental bonding should blend in naturally when done correctly. If he can’t do dental bonding, he cannot do porcelain veneers well either.

If you want to go cheap, I would not suggest veneers. The good news is that you won’t need them if they only thing you are concerned about is the discoloration. This can easily and affordably be fixed in two steps.

The first step would be to get your teeth whitened. Any dentist can do this, even yours. It is the easiest cosmetic procedure around. Once that is done, the next step will be to get your dental bonding replaced. However, I do not recommend you have your normal dentist do this. He doesn’t have the skills and/or materials to match the bonding to your natural tooth structure. Instead, I want you to go to someone with cosmetic dentistry training. Look at their smile galleries to see what type of results they get. Also, see if they have someone on staff who is AACD accredited. That would be ideal.

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

Are CEREC Veneers Risky?

I plan on getting CEREC veneers, but I have not exactly used this dentist before. He told me that he generally makes porcelain veneers 1.55 mm. I have done some research and that seems a little thick to me. Should I reconsider? I understand that the dentist who does the veneers could affect the outcome so I’ll tell you ahead of time, his name is [ name withheld ].

Patricia,

Dear Patricia,

porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

I am very glad you wrote. Instead of saying “the dentist could affect the outcome”, I would say the dentist determines the outcome. He or she would be the key to the outcome of your smile makeover.

Doing CEREC veneers is much harder than doing traditional porcelain veneers using a master ceramist. In that case, the skill and training of the dentist becomes even more important. I looked up the dentist you mentioned to me. I started by looking at his website and I saw nothing that indicated any cosmetic training. That was a red flag. But, I went ahead and did some extra work and looked up the institutions that do the type of training he would need. He is listed on none of their alumni lists. Because of that, I am going to recommend you go a different direction.

If you are set on CEREC veneers then I suggest you go to a practice that has an AACD accredited dentist on their staff. Nothing less than that would give you the outcome that I believe you want.

Let’s say you go to a dentist to get a smile makeover and he or she does a terrible job. You will have no recourse. The standard of care is that it the results of the procedure are functional, not attractive. This is not what you are going for when you want a smile makeover. Therefore, you as a patient, as to be proactive and find the dentist who will not only care that you have a beautiful smile, but has the training and skills to provide them for you.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Forman and Thimmesch.

Getting White Teeth Fast

I had read on a dental blog similar to yours that over the counter Crest whitestrips actually works. I’ve been using them, but they seem to take forever. I want really white teeth, but need it faster because I have an event coming up. Is there a product for that?

Misty

Dear Misty,

Zoom Whitening Logo

While it is true that Crest Whitestrips really will whiten your teeth, the whitening gel concentration is pretty weak. That is why it is taking so long. It’s not Crest’s fault. Because they are over-the-counter, there are regulations on the strength they can use in order to protect patients.

If you are looking for something to get your teeth really white really fast, than I will suggest you see a dentist who offers Zoom Whitening. This is a procedure that you will do in-office and your teeth will be white in just one appointment. The gel is highly concentrated. Plus, there is a special light they use to activate the gel and kick the whitening process into gear. You’ll get remarkable results.

Make sure you ask for a take home tray so you can do upkeep and touchups in a year or so. That will save you money in the long run.

Getting a Complete Smile Makeover

single porcelain veneer being placed

Another option you have, if you’ve ever considered a total smile makeover is to get porcelain veneers. These use tiny wafers of porcelain that can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth simultaneosly. It is the go-to for Hollywood to get that celebrity smile they all seem to have.

It is quite an advanced procedure, though. You won’t want to let just any dentist do it. They need training, technical skill, and artistry. We have an AACD accredited dentist on our staff which means he is in the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the country. If you decide you want to go the complete makeover route, find one in your area. If you have to drive to a nearby city or state, it will be worth it.

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

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.

Callie

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.