Were Porcelain Veneers the Wrong Option?

I have teeth which are too short. I’d recently read an interview about a celebrity who used to have the same problem. She got porcelain veneers on her teeth and now her smile is gorgeous. I told my dentist I wanted him to give me her smile, but it turned out horribly. Did I misunderstand what she had done? Were porcelain veneers the wrong option for me?

Kylie L.

Dear Kylie,

A single porcelain veneer being placed

Porcelain veneers are a great solution for what you were concerned about. They can change just about anything wrong with a smile. They can make short teeth longer, as you needed. In addition to the length of your teeth, they can change the width, the shape, the color, and create a character.

The problem likely lies in the skill set of your dentist. Not every dentist has invested a lot of time into learning how to do smile makeovers. Given that it is not something taught in dental school, the additional post-doctoral training is a must.

Even those who have invested in the training have varying levels of skill and even greater variety in artistry. If you’re unhappy with the results of your case, you can ask him to re-do it. However, even if he is willing, you may not get any better results. He’s limited by his capabilities or lack thereof.

I’d ask for a refund or at least a partial refund and then go to an expert cosmetic dentist to have the case done the way you’d dreamed.

Finding the Right Dentist to Create Your Porcelain Veneers

You want a dentist with more than just technical knowledge. You want an artist; someone who can truly design a stunning smile that blows you away. You should be so thrilled with your smile makeover you can’t stop smiling to show it off. You should feel like a new woman with renewed confidence.

So, where do you find a dentist like this? The easiest way is to go to aacd.com and click on find a cosmetic dentist. Then, make sure you check that you’re looking for an accredited dentist.

AACD accredited dentists are the top cosmetic dentists in the world. They will give you a stunning smile. Additionally, almost every one of them has a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Do Dentures Really Make Your Face Shrink?

My mother is losing her teeth. I’ve tried for years to get her to brush but she doesn’t like “how it feels”. Now she needs dentures. Of course, she doesn’t have dental insurance or money so I’m having to pay for her new teeth. I can barely afford these dentures and now the dentist tells me if I get them her face will shrink and instead I should get dental implants. They’re massively more expensive. However, I don’t want to damage my mother’s face. Is he right about the shrinking thing?

Annabelle C.

Dear Annabelle,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

It is truly fantastic how you are looking out for your mother’s best interest, especially given she doesn’t seem to care about taking care of herself. What your dentist referred to with the dentures is known as facial collapse.

How it works is once your mother’s teeth are removed, her body will begin to resorb the minerals in her jawbone to use elsewhere. This is because her brain senses she no longer has teeth and assumes she doesn’t need the jawbone. It’s remarkably efficient. If only our government knew how to distribute resources where they’re actually needed.

The problem is after ten to twenty years, there’s very little jawbone left, which gives her face a squashed, older appearance. Additionally, it makes it impossible for her to keep her dentures in. He’s suggesting dental implants because the implants serve as teeth roots, which lets your brain know that jawbone is still a necessity. This prevents facial collapse.

Should Your Mother Get Dentures?

While dental implants are the better treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right treatment for your mother. I’m not just talking about the expense. My guess is your mother lost her teeth because of gum disease. If that’s the case, she’s not yet a candidate for implants. Gum disease causes tooth loss. It will also do the same to her dental implants.

Right now, dentures are the best thing for her. If you can convince her to take care of her oral health and get her gum disease thoroughly healed, then you can re-evaluate. However, there’s no point it getting an expensive procedure that will be guaranteed to fail.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Considerations Before Getting Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implant
Dental Implant Diagram

You’ve lost a few teeth and need to replace them. While all the buzz is about dental implants when it comes to tooth replacement options, there are some things to ask yourself before deciding. Here are some questions to consider:

Have All My Options Been Explained?

Yes, dental implants are a fantastic way to replace missing teeth, but it’s important you know your options so you can be sure you chose the correct option for you. For instance, if you’re only replacing one tooth, but one or more of the two adjacent teeth need crowns, then a dental bridge would make more sense. If you’re missing all your teeth, getting a dental implant on every tooth would cost up to $84,000. Getting implant overdentures addresses all the same needs with significant cost savings. Be sure to ask your dentist to explain all your options along with their pros and cons when you book your consultation.

Are You Committed to Proper Oral and Health Care?

If you’ve lost your teeth because you have gum disease, that will have to be addressed before getting dental implants. Gum disease will cause the implant to fall out just the way your teeth did. Once your gums are healthy, it’s fine to go ahead and get the implants. However, if you’re not willing to care for your teeth with regular brushing and flossing, along with visits to the dentist, you’ll end up right back where you are now. In that case, you’d be better off not investing in something you won’t care for. Removable partial dentures may be a better option for you.

If you’re a smoker, this is a larger contributor to both gum disease and dental implant failure. The reason behind that is smoking causes a reduction of blood flow in your gums. This slows healing time, which often leads to infections. You’ll want to consider quitting or at least severly cutting back if you’re serious about dental implants.

Think About Your Long-Term Goals

These are meant to be a permanent replacement. That’s great, but if you’ve been unhappy with a dingy smile, you’ll want to take care of that before getting your implants done. Get your teeth whitened. This way when your dentist creates your implant crowns, they can be made to match your beautiful new fresher, whiter color. It’s a great way to come away with not just a full set of chompers, but one you’re proud to share as well. Make sure you discuss with your dentist any long-term goals you have for your smile at your consultation. This way the two of you can work out a logical plan that will save you money in the end.

Make Sure You Book with an Experienced Implant Dentist

This is an advanced procedure which requires extensive post-doctoral training. Don’t hesitate to ask the dentist where they received their dental implant training as well as the number of cases they have performed, as well as their success rate. It should be around 98%.

While not everyone is a dental implant candidate. They are the closest option to having healthy natural teeth in your mouth.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Do It Yourself Invisalign

I keep seeing the advertisements for at-home Invisalign. You only have to submit photos, etc. Do they work?

Cecil

Dear Cecil,

A woman putting in her Invisalign aligners in two stacked images

There are several of these type of companies at the moment. None of them are actually aligned with Invisalign, which is a specific brand. They’re just sort of leeching off the name recognition to get people to click and learn about them.

Some of them work and some of them are outright dangerous. However, all of them have one thing in common which gives me pause. You rarely, if ever, see a dentist. Yes, you submit photos. Yes, a dentist looks at those photos. What they’re not saying is there are things which even the best dentists can’t discern from a photograph, such as gum disease.

While there are some cases, depending on their severity, which are obvious even in a picture. Most of the time it requires x-rays and some probing of the gums. Plus, molars are very difficult to see in pictures. Your oral health needs to be checked during treatment. Gum disease can derail your treatment process as well as your teeth. If gum disease progresses untreated you can lose bone mass and teeth.

Benefits of Seeing a Dentist for Invisalign

Seeing a dentist and getting the real deal when it comes to your Invisalign treatment means you get a jump start on fixing any issues which develop, such as the gum disease listed above or decay and tooth pain.

Other times teeth have to be shaved in order to make room for treatment with crowded teeth. If those cases, you will be sent to a dentist even with these “do it yourself” treatments. But, you’ll likely be working with a dentist who is not invested in your case in any way. It actually takes some cosmetic dentistry skill to do this in a way which still allows the teeth to look natural.

Additionally, there are other cosmetic procedures you can do simultaneously when you work with a dentist. Your Invisalign aligners can double as teeth whitening trays, essentially giving you a mini smile makeover between the straighter teeth and a whiter smile.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.