No-Prep or Traditional Veneers

I’m getting a smile makeover for the start of the new year. It was one of my Christmas presents. I’ve been doing some research and I just can’t make the final decision between Lumineers or traditional porcelain veneers. I like the idea of no-prep, but the reviews have been mixed with some people saying their smile ended up looking bulky. Do you have any advice for me?

Elaina

Dear Elaina,

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental instrument

How great that you received such an incredible Christmas gift. You must have been a very good girl this year. It is also nice that you are trying to research ahead of time to get the best option for a beautiful smile.

I’m going to shift your question a bit to give the important answer. A great cosmetic dentist can create a gorgeous smile for you no matter what type of materials he is working with. That is one of the reasons the reviews are so mixed on the Lumineers brand. The ones who’ve had their teeth end up looking bulky are the ones who didn’t go to a top-of-the-line cosmetic dentist.

Whenever you’re talking about creating a piece of art, the artist you choose matters. While porcelain veneers, whether traditional or no-prep, can give you a stunning smile. The right dentist has to be doing it.

So, how do you find this magic dentist?

Finding the Right Dentist for Your Porcelain Veneers

You’ll want a dentist who has not only invested a significant amount of time training in cosmetic dentistry and smile design, but one who has a natural or trained artistic eye as well.

You could spend countless hours researching each cosmetic dentist in your area one by one, or you can utilize one of two great resources. The first is the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). They have an accreditation program which helps patients find the best of the best.

You’ll simply need to go to their site (aacd.com), click on find a cosmetic dentist, then input your area. Be sure to check the box that says you’re looking for an accredited dentist. That is very important.

Sometimes it’s hard to find an AACD accredited dentist in some areas. These are among the top 1% of cosmetic dentists. The accreditation process takes a long time. If you don’t see one in a reasonable traveling distance to your home, check out mynewsmile.com.

This site screens cosmetic dentists who wish to be listed for both technical skill and artistry in their work. They also have a find a cosmetic dentist button. While many they list are accredited, others are highly skilled cosmetic dentists in the midst of the accreditation process and can give you an equally gorgeous smile.

This blog is brought you by Salem Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Is it Too Late to Get a Pretty Smile?

I’ve had dentures for years. They have always looked fake but I knew they would be because they were dentures. Last week a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a few years came to town and we had lunch together. Her smile was gorgeous. I couldn’t believe it. She said she got dental implants. I didn’t even know those existed. Is it too late for me to get them?

Mandy

Dear Mandy,

Mature couple smiling
You can have a gorgeous smile that feels good no matter what your age!

It’s never too late for a pretty smile. You should know that, with a great cosmetic dentist, you could have had a beautiful smile with dentures as well. It’s not the procedure in this case. It’s the dentist. However, you can’t change the past.

Dentures or Dental Implants

Truthfully, dental implants are by far the best choice when it comes to replacing their teeth. First, they’re permanently implanted so they’re completely secure. It’s like having healthy, natural teeth back in your mouth. You can eat whatever you want and brush and floss like you do with natural teeth.

They have a more important function, though. You’ve probably noticed your dentures don’t fit the same way they used to when you first received them. That’s because your jaw is shrinking. When your teeth were removed, your body recognized that and started resorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere.

It won’t be long before you won’t be able to keep your dentures in place. This is known as facial collapse. Dental implants prevent that. The prosthetic roots placed into your jawbone tricks your body into thinking your natural teeth are still there and, as a result, leaves your jawbone intact.

If you decide to get dental implants, you’ll likely find you no longer have enough jawbone left to support them. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get them. It means you’ll have to have an additional procedure first, called bone grafting.

Bone grafting is a simple, outpatient procedure. This will build up the bone structure so that your jawbone will be able to retain the implants.

Getting Beautiful Results No Matter What Procedure You Choose

As I mentioned above, the most important decision is to find a highly skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist. They can create something stunning that you’ll be proud to share with the world. You’ll never feel like you have an ugly smile again.

The easiest way to find one of those is to go to the website of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.com). They have a “find a cosmetic dentist” link. However, to get one with the expertise you need, you need to check that you want an accredited dentist, not just a member.

After you find a great cosmetic dentist, see which of them have experience with dental implants. You’ll want one with post-doctoral training in restorative dentistry.

Best of luck to you. This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Blade Implant Not Healing?

I don’t know what’s going on. I had a blade implant placed over 12 months ago and it still isn’t healed. Is something wrong or is this normal? Do I just wait it out?

Catherine

Dear Catherine,

Illustration of a dental implant

I’m curious as to why your dentist decided on a blade implant. While they have been in use for many years, there are better options in current practice. It’s generally used for people who don’t have a thick enough jawbone to retain a traditional screw implant but don’t want to do bone grafting.

Unfortunately, while traditional dental implants (pictured above) have a 98% success rate, blade implants only have around a 50% success rate. This should have healed within twelve months. At this point, something is wrong. You need to return to your implant surgeon and have them look and advice you.

Dental Implant Options

A woman's profile twice, one with facial collapse, one after
Wearing Dentures Leads to Facial Collapse

Bone loss in your jaw is usually the result of having missing teeth with no replaced root. For instance, if you removed your teeth but didn’t replace them or replaced them with removable dentures, the minerals in your bone start to resorb into your body. The result not only ages your appearance years, but it will also make you a denture cripple, forced onto a liquid diet the remainder of your days. This is known as facial collapse.

If you want to replace those teeth with an option which provides a prosthetic root, thereby preventing facial collapse, you need to have enough jaw bone. If you don’t, you have two great alternatives to blade implants.

Bone Grafting

This is a simple outpatient procedure which adds bone structure back into your jaw. The biggest benefit to this is it allows you to get screw implants which have a significantly higher success rate to the blade option.

All-on-4 Dental Implants

This doesn’t require grafting. Instead, the all-on-4 implant procedure places the implants at an angle helping them retain with less bone structure.

Cosmetic Considerations with Dental Implants

While it is wonderful to have a full mouth of teeth. If they’re not attractive teeth, you might not smile nearly as much as you would if you were provided with a stunning smile. Whether you are getting all new “teeth” or just a couple of implants, you’ll want a dentist who can make them match your teeth. You don’t want natural teeth next to obviously fake teeth.

One or Two Implants

I recommend before your implant crowns are made, you whiten the rest of your teeth. It’s an inexpensive way to drastically improve the aesthetics of your smile. But, the real reason for doing it before getting your crowns is the permanence of your crown color. Even professional teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure. That means if you get the crowns first and then decide to whiten your teeth, your natural teeth will whiten. Your tooth replacements will not. Doing the whitening first means your implant crowns can be made to match the beautiful new color of your teeth.

A New Smile with Implant Overdentures

If you are getting a new smile with your implants, you want an expert cosmetic dentist to do the work. You are talking about a complete smile makeover made from dental crowns. Finding an expert cosmetic dentist is a lot easier than it used to be. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has an accreditation program which helps patients to know who can give them a stunning smile.

Just go to aacd.com and click on find a dentist. Just make sure you put a check by “accredited dentist”. This way you get a list of those who are experts in their field.

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

Why Your Cosmetic Dentist Matters

A pretty blonde with a pretty smile.
The best cosmetic dentists create beautiful smiles

I recently read on Dr. Hall’s blog about a woman who was having a full-mouth reconstruction. Yes, this is mostly for function, however, it’s important it looks good as well. This poor woman had so many problems. Her dentist made the top teeth darker than the bottom, they weren’t the color she wanted (he told her she picked the wrong color), then one of the teeth were sharp.

When she mentioned that, he essentially said she’s too demanding and he can’t help her. She had the choice between having horrible teeth bonded on or leaving without teeth. She asked him to use a temporary bonding and he refused.

This is a horrific situation. If you want to read her complete post, you can here. However, the more important thing is knowing how to not end up in that type of situation to begin with.

Getting an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

This man wasn’t a true cosmetic dentist. I know that not just by his obvious lack of skill, but also by the manner in which he responded to her about the color as well as her dissatisfaction.

A true cosmetic dentist would have always deferred to the patient’s desires. Not only that, a temporary try-in paste is an automatic given.

If you’re looking for a great cosmetic dentist, your best bet would be to go the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry website (aacd.com). They have a “find a cosmetic dentist” link. Now, here’s the thing. Any dentist can become a member of the AACD. What you want is someone who is accredited by them.

Accreditation is only achieved after passing both oral and written exams, as well as proving the artistry of their work. They have to turn in photographic evidence of a large number of cosmetic cases they’ve done.

If you want to avoid a situation like the one I mentioned, make sure you get an accredited dentist. Dentists who are accredited are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. They could give you a gorgeous smile makeover.

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