Tag Archives: Porcelain Veneers

Discolored Porcelain Veneer

My daughter is in college and still has several weeks before she gets out for the summer. A couple of years ago she had eight porcelain veneers placed on her upper teeth. Last summer she chipped one in a biking accident. Our dentist decided the solution was to shorten the tooth to even out the chip. That also meant shortening the tooth next to it so they’d match. This was not ideal and changed the character of her smile. A few months later, the tooth began to turn dark. We brought her in over the Christmas break but the dentist insists we’re being too picky and he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. When I pushed back against that a little, he told me that he is the cosmetic specialist and knows color better than I do. I mean, sure, he’s the dentist, but I did learn how to match colors in kindergarten and this tooth looks different. There is  now a weird blue/green tint to the tooth and we’re worried the veneer is going to fall off before she can get home. Of course, I think we’ll need a new dentist to do any thing about it, which is frustrating because I feel certain he’s the one who damaged it and should repair it. Do you have any recommendations for us? Should we get her to a dentist near her school or can it wait until she is home in a few weeks?


Dear Sandy,

Leaky porcelain veneers
The bluish color on these temporary porcelain veneers are an example of leaky veneers in their early stages.

The blue/green color to me indicates that the veneer is leaking. Does it look a bit like the ones above? That happens when the bond between the tooth and the porcelain veneers is failing.  While it will fail at some point, it is better to let it fall off than to force it.

If the porcelain veneers falls out while she is at school, I would look for an AACD accredited dentist that can get her in for an emergency appointment and bond her veneer back on safely.  While there is no such thing as a specialty in cosmetic dentistry. AACD accredited dentists have proven expertise and artistry. With you away, this is one way for you to feel confident she is in qualified hands.

I also agree that another dentist is in order for your family. The way he rudely discounted your concerns is unprofessional.

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


Fixing Beaver Teeth

I have really large front teeth that tend to make me look a bit like a beaver. I am trying to think of a way to improve the look of my smile but can’t think of anything that won’t be very unpleasant. I could get braces, but I don’t want a bunch of metal in my mouth at my age. Plus, though I am no orthodontist, I am guessing that because of the size of my teeth there might not be room to move them in, which might require removing some back teeth. That is something else I am not too keen on.  Is there an option that I have not considered?


Dear Sammie,

Invisalign aligner

I am glad you wrote. Yes, there is another option for you. First, if your dentist has some cosmetic skills, he or she could trim the sides of the teeth enough for them to be moved into a more esthetically pleasing, aligned position.  This has to be done with diamond burrs and diamond strips.

You would not have to move them with braces. Instead, you could use Invisalign. These are a type of invisible braces that use clear aligners to adjust the position of your teeth. No one will even know that you are wearing orthodontics, even at a conversational distance.

If your teeth require a great deal of trimming, enough to where the dentin is exposed, then you will need to have porcelain veneers placed in order to cover the dentin.

All of these procedures require training, so don’t pressure your dentist into any of them. If he or she is unfamiliar on how to do this don’t push them into it. You won’t like the results. Instead, find a cosmetic dentist with the training to do the trimming and, if necessary, the porcelain veneers.

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


Ways to Straighten a Crooked Tooth

I have two crooked teeth and a couple of small gaps. I went to my dentist to discuss braces. I heard there are clear braces these days. My dentist is suggesting porcelain veneers because my teeth are yellow and these can straighten my teeth and make them whiter. I am a bit concerned on how expensive porcelain veneers are. Are there better options?


Dear Enid,

Invisalign aligner

Let’s start with the porcelain veneers. They can make your teeth look straight, but they will not actually straighten your teeth. These are more useful if you are looking for a complete smile makeover, but not a great use of your money if you are just wanting to straighten and whiten your teeth.

In all honesty, there is a much less expensive option for you. If you get Invisalign, which use clear aligners. These can both straighten and whiten your teeth simultaneously. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays so all you will need is to get some professional strength gel from your dentist.

This will straighten and whiten your teeth at a fraction of the cost of porcelain veneers.

Of course, if there are other things that you would like to change about your teeth, such as their shape or size, then porcelain veneers will be a great option. Just make certain that you go to an expert cosmetic dentist to have the work done. Otherwise, you could end up with a smile that is less attractive than your natural smile.

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

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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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.