Are orthobands good enough if you can’t afford porcelain veneers?

My dentist wants me to get orthodontics to close my tooth gap. I told him I’m not interested in doing braces because of the time involved. His next suggestion was using porcelain veneers, but that was way more money than I’m willing to spend. I read about orthobands. Would they work?

Laura L. – Virginia


I would absolutely NOT recommend ortho bands. They’re nothing more than regular rubber bands that force your teeth together. The problem is they only move your teeth, not the roots, which puts you in danger of loosing your teeth as a result.

I’m surprised your dentist didn’t recommend dental bonding to fix your tooth gap. That is the general treatment for that type of situation.  It’s much more affordable than porcelain veneers. That will be a good option for you if all you’re looking for is to close the gap.

However, if there were other things about your smile that you were hoping to change, such as their shape or color, then porcelain veneers would be the best option.

I’m puzzled why that is what your dentist suggested if the gap is the only issue. Is there more to this than you’ve mentioned?

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Why won’t my dentist fix my teeth?

I have teeth that need some work. Some are just discolored. Others are chipped, and some have decay.  All my dentist wants to do is remove the teeth and repalce them with partial dentures. I told him if I did replace them I’d want something more permanent, not something removable. He said my teeth can only have partials. I keep hearing about all these advances in dentistry, like dental implants. How do you get those. Also, isn’t there a way to save my teeth?

Dana P. – Montana


The sad truth is, just like with any other field of study, dentists vary in their abilities as well. Sometimes skill is the only factor, sometimes it’s laziness.

Some dentists are passionate about saving teeth. Others are fine just removing them.

Your chipped and discolored teeth can easily be repaired with dental bonding and whitening.

Your decayed teeth may still be able to be saved as well, but if not there are better treatments than partial dentures. You’re right that dental implants would be a much better treatment.

However, it sounds to me like your dentist doesn’t know how to do theses procedures. My suggestion would be to get a second opinion from a different dentist to get the kind of care you want.

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I have been trying to pick the best implant dentist in my area, but I’m not sure how to choose between them. I am missing several teeth and have been given a few different options. One doctor told me to fill all the spaces with dental implants, while another suggested an implant-supported bridge, and the third one told me to get as many as I could afford, and to do a traditional partial denture for the rest. Personally, I  liked the last option the most, but I think the second one was the best implant dentist. Should I go to him and see if he’ll do the other procedure?

Jonathan- Ft. Smith, AR

Dear Jonathan,

It’s good that you’re looking into all your options before embarking on an extensive treatment plan, and you’ll definitely want to get the best implant dentist, as that can make a world of difference in the final result.

The problem is, dentists often recommend things based on what they believe your results will be, and some of that comes down to skill. So, you may find one that doesn’t have a high success rate with bridges, and he’ll recommend a denture instead. For this reason, it’s a good idea to go with what the dentist recommends, because you’ll know he’s doing something he’s comfortable with and is skilled at.

With that said, the second one may have made his recommendation based on cost or something you said during the consultation. He may be perfectly content performing the procedure that the third one recommended. Go ahead and call the office and ask about the alternate procedure.

If the dentist prefers not to do that procedure, don’t push the issue. You may wind up pushing him to try to appease you, and that just means he won’t be doing a procedure he feels good about. Select based on skill, and go with the recommended procedure, or choose another highly-skilled dentist who performs the procedure you want.

Dental implants are an advanced procedure, which can have serious complications if not done well.  Make sure your dentist has post-graduate dental implant procedures. You also want to ask about his succesful dental implant experience.

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Want a dazzling smile

I’m going to have some cosmetic work done and I’m trying to find the best dentist in to do it.  My dentist suggested veneers and showed me his before and after pictures of cases he’s done.

I wasn’t that impressed with his pictures and wanted my smile to be more of a dramatic dazzle kind of thing. I want my smile to light up a room. How do I find a dentist who can do that?

Olivia R. – Virginia


You’re wise to look for a different dentist to do your cosmetic work. There are many well meaning family dentists, who are awesome at general dentistry, but just don’t have the artistic training for really gorgeous cosmetic work.

It’s a good idea to look for a smile gallery on each candidate’s website, so you can get a feel for whether his cosmetic work is something you’d be proud to show off. But, there are other things to look for as well.

Have they done significant post-graduate training in cosmetic work? Do they guarantee their work? Many good cosmetic dentists have something akin to a  “Beautiful Smile Guarantee,” which simply means that if you aren’t happy with your smile after the cosmetic work is done, the doctor will be glad to correct it. The procedures not considered finished until you’re thrilled.


There is a definitive way to be certain you’re getting the best possible dentist for your cosmetic work. If I were in your place, I’d want a dentist who was accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).  There is a difference between membership and accreditation, so make sure he’s accredited.

These are among the top 1-3% of cosmetic dentists, not just in the country, but in the world.

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