Tag Archives: smile makeovers

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.

Smile Makeover Disaster

I need some advise. I had porcelain veneers done. The first time they came back they were way too thick. Even my dentist knew that by looking. I asked him to send them back, which he did. When they came back again, they didn’t really let me see them. They did tell me they could make any adjustments necessary after they were bonded on. That turned out not to be true. They ended up very bulky looking and, though I did ask for a white smile, they ended up chalky and fake looking . I absolutely hate them, but my dentist isn’t returning my calls. Do you have a recomendation of how I can get this fixed?


Dear Carla,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

I think you’re suffering from having a decent family who is trying to do cosmetic dentistry he’s not qualified to do. Believe it or not, smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. A dentist has to invest in a significant amount of post-doctoral training in order to develop the skills necessary to create beautiful smile makeovers. My guess is your dentist didn’t invest in that.

True cosmetic dentists also know that it is the patient’s perception of their smile that matters most. Because of that, they will use a temporary try-in paste so you can get a good look at your porcelain veneers in a variety of lightings before they are bonded on. You have a legal advantage. He misled you regarding the ability to make changes to your porcelain veneers after they were placed, bonding them on without your official permission.

Getting Your Porcelain Veneers Done Right!

Normally, I would say insist on a refund, however, you mentioned he’s not returning your calls. That may be because he is avoiding you or, if we want to be generous, maybe he’s not checking messages as much if his office is closed during the COVID-19 quarantine. Though, they should be open for emergency procedures.

Leave him another message letting him know if you don’t hear back from him this time, you’ll be contacting a lawyer. That will kick him into gear. If you do end up having to get a lawyer involved, you have a pretty solid case. I’m sure his insurance holders will advice him to settle quickly.

When you go to have these re-done, I want you to be certain you use a dentist with both training and artistry.. Ideally, you’d see an AACD accredited dentist (which is different from just being a member). Accredited dentists are in the top 1% of dentists in the country. If you can’t find one of them within a reasonable distance to you, contact me again and we’ll help you find someone.

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

Is a CEREC Crown falling Off an Essential treatment?

I had a CEREC crown placed right before the lockdown for COVID-19.. Today, it just fell out. Our governor said you can only go to the dentist for essential treatment. How do I know if this is essential? Do I go in or wait until the quarantine is over?


Dear Mark,

porcelain block for CEREC crown
Block of porcelain for a CEREC crown

In most cases, because of COVID-19 and how easily it transmits, the CDC and Governors of many states are asking us to forego routine treatments until we have a handle on the virus. That would mostly include things like cleanings, checkups, and elective cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening and smile makeovers.

Essential appointments are things like emergency dental care, such as you’d have with a tooth infection or other types of repairs. Your case is one of those. If a dental crown falls off, which by itself should be unusal, it is important it gets re-bonded.

If you wait until the quarantine is over, the adjacent teeth will begin to shift into the space left open. This will mean by the time you are able to contact the dentist for the re-bonding, your CEREC crown will no longer fit and you’ll have to get an entirely new one.

Don’t wait. Call your dentist.

One other thing, as I said earlier, it is highly unusual for a dental crown to fall out, especially a CEREC crown. They are milled by a computer so they are usually a tighter, more accurate fit. If your dentist rebonds this and it falls out again, I’d recommend you see a different dentist.

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

porcelain veneers during pregnancy

I’ve been saving up for a smile makeover. I just reached the amount I needed and I found out I was pregnant. Am I able to move forward wtih the porcelain veneers or do I need to wait until after the baby is born?


Dear Melinda,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

Congratulations on your new little one! While there are so many things you’ll have to protect your new child from, porcelain veneers won’t be one of them.

There are some cosmetic procedures which are not recommended during pregnancy, such as teeth whitening. This is because, especially during the first trimester, when the baby is most vulnerable you don’t want them ingesting any unsafe chemicals.

Fortunately, porcelain veneers do not have anything which could endanger your baby. The only chemical used would be lidocaine which has already been proven safe in pregnancy.

It is up to you at this point. Some women struggle with intense nausea during their first trimester. That may make having your mouth messed with a challenge. Because of that, you may want to wait and see how your body reacts to this new baby first. If you seem to be fine, you can move forward. If not, there is no harm in waiting.

Who Should Do Your Porcelain Veneers?

You don’t want just anyone doing your smile makeover, though. This is a once in a lifetime procedure and you’ll want it done right. Because there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, there is no real way to know if the dentist doing your procedure has had enough additional training to do the job well.

In your place, I’d look for a dentist who has attained accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

They’ve passed stringent oral and written exams to prove their technical knowledge. Additionally, they had to provide visual evidence on a large number of cases they’ve done to show they are also artistic.

Any one of them can give you a stunning smile.

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

My Sister’s Porcelain Veneers Disaster

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?


Dear Lacey,

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental tool

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.

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

What’s the Difference Between a Cosmetic Dentist and a General Dentist?

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?

Sandy M.

Dear Sandy,

A ugly cosmetic smile and a pretty cosmetic smile

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.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Why Does an Overbite Prevent Me From Getting Porcelain Veneers?

Can you help me understand something? I really wanted to have porcelain veneers placed, but my dentist said because I have an overbite, I’d have to get crowns. He wants to place six porcelain crowns on my front teeth. Is there another option? Also, if I go with the crowns, do I whiten my bottom teeth? Both arches have tetracycline stains.

Amanda L.

Dear Amanda,

Lafayette Porcelain Veneers

I’m very glad you wrote before moving forward with this procedure. It sounds like you went to your family dentist instead of someone with expertise in cosmetic work, and he’s not as comfortable with doing advanced cosmetic procedures. Rather than admit that, he came up with a rather creative (though completely untrue) excuse for why you can’t have it. Then recommended porcelain crowns because he is comfortable doing that.

Porcelain veneers are actually a better solution for an overbite. Crowns have to grind down your teeth. Porcelain veneers do not. Why would you want to grind down healthy tooth structure?

In fact, the two pictures below will demonstrate the difference in preparing for the two procedures.

Lafayette Porcelain Veneers
Tooth Preparation for Porcelain Veneers
porcelain crown prep
Preparation for a Porcelain Crown

As you can see, you save much more tooth structure with porcelain veneers.

Another thing to consider is the number of crowns he said to get because it’s equally applicable to porcelain veneers. Six is not enough. Most smiles show between eight and ten teeth. Some wider smile show even more. Take a close look at your teeth when you’re smiling broadly. How many are visible? You want each visible tooth covered.

So, who should you have do this smile makeover? Your particular case is especially advanced. Tetracycline stains are among the most difficult to deal with. You need an expert cosmetic dentist. In your position, I’d look for a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.org). Bear in mind accreditation is very different from membership. Any dentist can be a member. Accreditation requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and artistry.

Your bottom arch can be whitened. Traditionally, teeth whitening isn’t the ideal for tetracycline stains, but if your dentist uses KöR Whitening, you should get decent results.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Why are My Porcelain Veneers Unnaturally Shiny?

I finally got the porcelain veneers I’ve always dreamed of. They’re the right color and the right shape, but they’re so shiny they look unnatural. It’s almost like a blinding light in photographs. Is there anything I can do to lessen the shine?


Dear Margie,

Dental work with all natural teeth but one
What Makes the Shine on Porcelain Veneers natural looking?

You’ve brought up something very interesting. Normally when we get questions about the shine on porcelain veneers is because the shine is gone. It’s the glaze on porcelain veneers which gives it the shine, which is important. That’s what makes the porcelain veneers so stain resistant. But, it has to be done correctly. It sounds like yours may not have been.

What Makes the Shine on Porcelain Veneers Look Natural?

When done properly, the shine on the glaze helps the veneers to look like your natural teeth. Our natural teeth reflect light. You want your smile makeover to do the same. Look at the picture above. All of the teeth in the picture are natural except one. I bet you can’t tell which. The difference is in creating the right texture.

If yours are too shiny, the dentist may have the veneers too flat. That wouldn’t look natural at all. In fact, it could be visually assaulting, which is what you seemed to indicate.

How True Cosmetic Dentists Prevent Porcelain Veneer Disasters

Expert cosmetic dentists will make sure you love your smile BEFORE they bond it on. They’d use a temporary try-in paste and let you get a good look at them in various lights. If you’re not thrilled with them, they won’t bond them on.

Unfortunately, the only way to lessen the shine is to remove it. The cheapest way to do that is to ask your hygienist to use a prophy jet on them at your next cleaning. In fact, most of our questions about veneers and shine have to do with inexperienced hygienists doing that without realizing they’re ruining the patient’s cosmetic work.

You don’t really want to do this. Your veneers will not only look flat and unnatural, but they’ll immediately begin picking up stains. Instead, I’d visit your dentist and ask him to re-do them. You paid for a smile you’d love and didn’t get one. Also, insist he uses a temporary try-in paste and get your approval before bonding them on.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

What’s a Better Cosmetic Procedure: Crowns or Veneers?

I want to improve my smile. I went to my dentist to discuss getting porcelain veneers. He said they’re not as good as everyone makes out and I’d get a better smile with porcelain crowns. I’m a little worried about that idea because I’d lose so much tooth structure. But, if they’re better I guess I should go for it. What do you think?

Emma T.

Dear Emma,

A gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone
A gorgeous smile created by cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Malone

If you want a gorgeous smile, what matters more than the material is the cosmetic dentist you have do the procedure. However, that being said, I can tell you right now your dentist isn’t the right one because of the material he’s trying to talk you into.

Porcelain veneers are as good as they say…when the right dentist does it. Your dentist is probably suggesting crowns because he doesn’t have enough experience with porcelain veneers. He doesn’t want to admit that so he suggests a procedure he is good with, porcelain crowns. But, you’re right to be concerned. Why would you want to grind down perfectly healthy tooth structure? Porcelain veneers don’t do that. They only require mild tooth preparation.

How Do You Choose a Cosmetic Dentist?

The easiest way to choose a cosmetic dentist is through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). They have an accreditation program. Dentists who reach accreditation level are among the top cosmetic dentists in the world. They have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate their artistic abilities and quite a few cases they’ve done on patients. They’ll certainly give you a gorgeous smile. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

What if there’s not an accredited dentist near you? Not having someone who’s reached accreditation level in your area doesn’t mean you can find a highly skilled cosmetic dentist. Some dentists are in the process are obtaining accreditation but already give gorgeous smiles. I’d check the mynewsmile.com website. They recommend highly skilled and artistic cosmetic dentists only some of which have already passed the accreditation exams.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Am I Too Old For Invisalign?

I’d like to get my teeth straightened. I’d always wanted to but my husband kept insisting he liked me the way I was. I appreciated the sentiment, but they still bothered me. He passed a couple of years ago. I’ve decided I’m going to do it now. Otherwise I’ll always regret not following a dream. I’ve always heard adults prefer Invisalign. If I’m over 60, am I too old?

Eva – Montana


You’re definitely not too old for orthodontics, including Invisalign. You’re right that most adults prefer Invisalign. It’s more comfortable than traditional braces. You don’t have to worry about your oral hygiene. With braces, brushing and flossing is quite the challenge. With Invisalign, you simply remove the aligners then brush and floss as normal.

It’s great that you’re not letting your dreams pass you by. While your husband’s sentiment is sweet and romantic, you may find with a corrected bite you feel better. Sometimes our bite can throw off our hinge joint enough to cause TMJ. It can cause everything from jaw pain and migraines to complete lock jaw.

We’ve also had seniors live out their dreams of a total smile makeover. You’re never too old to do anything!

Make sure you have a dentist you’re comfortable with because you’ll need to change out your aligners every couple of weeks, though most dentists don’t make you check in that often. The point is, you’ll be seeing the dentist a little more than usual.

You won’t have to see an orthodontist, though. Many general dentists are Invisalign certified and will do a fantastic job.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.