Tag Archives: Teeth Whitening

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.

How Invisalign Helped Celia Get a Date

We received a funny note we thought we’d pass on.

Lafayette Invisalign brings love.

Dear Dr. Malone,

I love my Invisalign treatment. It’s been fantastic seeing my smile get prettier with each pair of aligners. But, I love them even more now. I was meeting a friend for dinner. I went into the restroom to remove my aligners and place them in their case. No problem, except I didn’t realize I’d entered the men’s room instead of the lady’s room. I’d just gotten my aligners out when a man walked in. That’s when I saw the urinals and realized what I’d done. I went into complete panic mode and took off.

Once I was in the hallway again, I realized I’d left them. Feeling absolutely humiliated, I walked back in. The man was standing there holding my case. He said, “I assume this is yours?” He had a cocky smirk on his face. The worst part was how cute he was. It just made it more embarrassing somehow. He then asked if it was Invisalign. I told him it was. He’d been thinking about getting that himself and asked me some questions about it.

We talked for about ten minutes about the treatment. The whole time still in the men’s room. By the time we left, he asked me to meet him for coffee the next day. So, Invisalign actually got me a date.


Dear Celia,

We’re thrilled for you. If for some reason this fella’ doesn’t work out, you could always come by for some teeth whitening. That gives you two sets of trays you can leave somewhere, doubling your chances!

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

What Happens if You Dry Your Invisalign Aligners?

I feel like a complete moron and I’m super worried this is going to throw my treatment off. I’ve been looking forward to finishing so I could whiten my teeth. After breakfast this morning I accidentally put my Invisalign aligners into the washer and dryer. I have no idea how they got there. I couldn’t find them after breakfast which worried me. I was about to call the dentists office when my dryer buzzed. I pulled out my clothes and there they were. I put them on but they’re tight. Did the dryer shrink them? Is it okay to still wear them? I feel too stupid to call the dentist’s office now.

Esther M.

Dear Esther,

A woman placing in her Invisalign aligners

First, you have no reason to be embarrassed. These type of things happen all the time. And believe me, your dentist has seen and heard it all. I would not continue to wear this set of Invisalign aligners. That would be more likely to throw your treatment off. If you were close to the end of this two-week cycle, you can just ask your dental office for the next set of aligners. Then, you’ll actually be a smidge ahead of schedule instead of behind.

It’s okay to do that this once, but if you skip to the next pair early much more than that you risk losing your teeth. Your teeth actually move into their new position just a few days after you place the aligners. The remainder of the time is there to allow the bone to reform around the tooth root in its new position. Without that, the teeth will become loose.

If you’d recently started the new set, don’t move forward. That would be too much movement at once. However, your dentist can provide you with a new pair and you’ll be right back on track.

Invisalign and Teeth Whitening

You wouldn’t necessarily have to wait until your Invisalign treatment is over to start your teeth whitening. Tell your dentist of your interest. If you’re a current candidate for teeth whitening, your aligners can double as teeth whitening trays.

Just be aware if you have any fillings or other dental work somewhere, it won’t whiten with your teeth. You’ll have to have your fillings redone to match after the whitening procedure is done.

The key is always open communication with your cosmetic dentist. If he knows what all your goals are, even long-term, he can give you the most efficient way to get there.

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

Is There a Poor Man’s Smile Makeover?

I’ve been waiting for years for my financial situation to change so I could get a smile makeover. Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not going to change anytime soon and I’m really tired of hating my smile. I can’t afford porcelain veneers. But, hoped there’s such a thing as a poor man’s smile makeover.

Missy E.

Dear Missy,

There are several things you can do to improve your smile on a budget. Which procedures you do, depends on what bother’s you about your smile.

If it’s just the color, teeth whitening can totally remake your smile affordably all while taking years off your appearance. It can be done in one appointment at your dentist’s office or over a period of time at home with custom made whitening trays from your dentist.

If you have minor chips or gaps, you can have dental bonding done to repair them. Of course, if changing the whiteness of your teeth is still in the picture, you’ll want to do that first. The color of the bonding can’t be changed once it’s completed, so you’ll want to match it to already whitened teeth.

Another option is Invisalign. It’s a way to orthodontically straighten teeth without using traditional metal braces. It can be done without anyone knowing you’re doing it. A bonus feature is the aligners used for Invisalign can double as whitening trays, so you can straighten and color your teeth simultaneously, saving you additional money.

Invisalign and whitening can be done by just about any dentist. Dental bonding, however, requires a cosmetic dentist with some artistic ability. It’s done freehand and your teeth change in depth and translucency as you move down the tooth.

If your financial situation ever changes and you want a blow out the room type of smile makeover, then you’d get porcelain veneers.

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

If I Get a CEREC Crown Will It Fall Off?

I have a friend who got a dental crown. The temporary one fell off three times before his permanent one came in, then his permanent one fell off–twice. I’m wondering if it is because he got a regular crown. Would the same thing happen if he had gotten a CEREC crown?

Danny P.

Dear Danny,

In reality, neither crown should fall off. The temporary is more excusable because they’re designed to come off easily. However, the permanent one, when bonded properly should have stayed fixed. A well-made crown could stay affixed without bonding (assuming you don’t eat anything extremely chewy). But when it’s made well and bonded, you’re safe.

It sounds like this dentist isn’t the best when it comes to a proper understanding of either porcelain crowns or bonding. Hopefully, you’re not going to the same dentist.

CEREC crowns are a little safer. They’re milled by computer so are more likely to be cut precisely. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of a temporary crown.

I’m not sure where you’re getting the crown, but if it’s somewhere visible and you plan on doing any cosmetic work, such as teeth whitening, you’ll want to get the whitening done before the crown is designed. You can’t whiten crowns once they’re done. So, the wise thing to do is whiten your teeth and then have your crown made to match the new color.

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

Zoom or Take Home Whitening?

I’m getting my teeth whitened, but am trying to decide between Zoom Whitening and Take-Home Whitening. Will I need a cosmetic dentist or can my family dentist to it?

Lisa R. – Colorado


I’ll answer your second question first. Any dentist can do teeth whitening. It’s a fairly simple procedure. If you were getting something like porcelain veneers, then you would definitely want a dentist with cosmetic training. However, if your family dentist doesn’t have a Zoom Whitening System, then you’re down to one option. Not every dentist invests in one.

As to which procedure, that depends on your goals. If you’re wanting your teeth as white as they can be as quickly as possible, Zoom is your best option.

On the other hand, if you want more control over the level of whiteness or want to do it gradually, then take-home teeth whitening is a better fit for you. Either way, you’ll get beautiful, white teeth.

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

Can I Run My Invisalign Aligners Through the Dishwasher?

I’m a germaphobe. I hate the idea of putting my aligners in my mouth with bacteria in them. All that spit that got on them (and yes I know it’s my spit) gives me the heebee-geebees. I was thinking of running them through the dishwasher as a means of disinfecting them. I do that for all my dishes and silverware. The heat gets rid of the bacteria.

Kate – San Antonio


I understand how you feel. I’m a salmonella-phobe. You should see all the precautions I take when I’m cooking chicken. However, using the dishwasher to disinfect your Invisalign aligners is a bad idea. The heat, which admittedly does disinfect, will also distort the aligners. That can derail your treatment.

Your dentist should have given you instructions on how to properly clean your Invisalign. Additionally, the Invisalign company makes a special kit you can order. If you are still concerned, you can do a vinegar soak. Vinegar is a natural and potent disinfectant. However, I would only let them soak for 30 minutes about once a week. Don’t forget to rinse them after the soak or you’ll have a nasty taste.

You may also consider asking your dentist if you can get your teeth whitened simultaneously with your Invisalign treatment. The aligners can double for teeth whitening aligners as well. Peroxide (used in whitening gels) is also a disinfectant. This way you can feel better about killing bacteria, while doing something proactive about your smile at a reduced cost. I’m all for multi-tasking (and saving money).

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

Can I Improve My Smile Without Tons of Money?

I’ve wanted to improve my smile for a long time, but just don’t have that much money. I’ve heard porcelain veneers are the way to go, but when I looked into them they were way too expensive. Is there a less expensive way to makeover your smile?

Amanda S. – Topeka


It’s a tough economy right now, especially where we are in Louisiana, so I understand wanting to save money. It’s tough when you have a desire to improve something, but don’t feel you have the requisite funds. I have some good news for you though. There are cosmetic procedures you can do that will improve your smile without porcelain veneers.

One of the least expensive cosmetic procedures is teeth whitening. That simple procedure takes years off your appearance. If you can swing in-office whitening, it’s faster. Your teeth will be dramatically whiter in one appointment. However, your dentist can custom design trays for you to do professional strength whitening at home. That costs a little less. It will take a little longer, depending on the level of whitening you desire, but it can get them as white as the in-office option.

If you have chips or gaps in your teeth, dental bonding can repair them, and is significantly cheaper than veneers. Just be aware that while veneers can last a couple of decades when well cared for, dental bonding will only really last a few years.

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

Straighten and Whiten your teeth at the same time

I’ve been saving money to make my teeth look better. I’ve got enough to straighten my teeth and whiten them.  Would it better to do the braces first or to whiten them first?

Nerry P. – Georgia


If you’re a candidate for Invisalign, you could do both at the same time.  You’ll find most patients prefer invisalign over traditional braces anyway. They’re more comfortable, more attractive, and finish much sooner.

You may click here to learn more about Invisalign.  If you’re dentist agrees, it is possible to use the invisalign aligners as whitening trays.  This way you can spend some of your time wearing the aligners with the whitening gel inside. In all likelihood, you’ll have briliant, white teeth before you’re even done straightening them, allowing you to witen your teeth and straighten them simultaneously.

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

Can a general dentist do cosmetic dentistry?

I want to do some cosmetic procedures to my teeth. My dentist is a general dentist. Can you tell me if he can do the cosmetic procedures or if I need to go to a cosmetic dentist?

Frank C. – Oregon


There is no recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry. That means that everyone who does cosmetic dentistry is a general dentist. However, not all “cosmetic” dentists are equal.

You didn’t mention what type of cosmetic work you were planning on. If you were wanting something simple, such as teeth whitening, then any dentist could do it.

But, if you were wanting someting complicated, such as porcelain veneers, then you’ll want someone with specialized training.  In those cases, I would look for a dentist who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). They’ll have the skill to give you a gorgeous smile.

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