Category Archives: Cosmetic Dentist

Do You Really Need an Expert Cosmetic Dentist?

I keep hearing how important it is to see an expert cosmetic dentist if you want a smile makeover. What I don’t understand is why. Don’t they just send out the work to be done at a lab? If so, wouldn’t the lab be the most important part of your smile makeover?

Landon

Dear Landon,

Photo of a single porcelain veneer held by dental forceps.
Porcelain veneer

You’ve asked an important question. A lot of people think of it with the analogy of it doesn’t really matter which gallery you purchase the art if the artist who does great work. That works for art. But, a dentist isn’t a gallery. Think of it more like it’s the doctor who determines your illness and what medicine will cure it, not the pharmacy where he sends the order.

The lab needs the right prescription to do that work. The truth is no matter how good the lab and ceramist are, they cannot work around a bad dentist. The foundation for the beauty of a smile makeover is in the hands of the dentist, not the ceramist. It’s the dentist who has to give the shade map of the final result, the surface texture, the degree of translucency, as well as a mock-up of the final result. The dentist has to approve what the ceramist does to ensure they followed his directions.

Even if a bad dentist uses a good lab, the results won’t be what you were hoping for. Always choose the dentist. Let the dentist choose the lab. The best dentists usually have an almost symbiotic relationship with their ceramist anyway.

Finding the Best Cosmetic Dentist

Because there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, it is hard for patients to recognize who has the skills to give them a beautiful smile. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recognized that problem. As a result, they started an accreditation program with a two-fold purpose. One is to help train dentists in the art of cosmetic work. The other is to have a recognition system to help patients know who has what it takes.

The best dentists have reached accreditation. These are the top 1% of dentists in the country. Any one of them can give you a stunning smile. Most smile makeovers are done using porcelain veneers. You’ll find these dentists will often have a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic 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.

What if You Hate Your Smile Makeover?

I’ve always hated my smile and am considering getting a smile makeover. However, my husband mentioned something that gave me pause. He asked me what happens if I spend all that money and hate my smile makeover? It’s a valid question. He’s not just asking because he doesn’t want to spend the money. Do you have an answer for that? Does it vary from dentist to dentist?

Brittany

Dear Brittany,

Pretty brunette with a beautiful smile
Can a beautiful smile be guaranteed?

Your husband asks a great question, one I wish more patients would ask before investing in their smile makeover. The answer varies from dentist to dentist. But, that being said, there is a “right” answer your dentist should be giving you. If they don’t give the right answer, go elsewhere.

A smile makeover is a work of art. Therefore, the first thing you should do is make sure you’re getting an artist to do it. If you were going to commission a portrait, I’m sure you’d check out the reputation and skills of the artist first. Please do the same with your cosmetic dentist.

Ideally, you’d want a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists have guaranteed technical skill and artistic prowess. You will get a stunning smile through them.

However, just because something is stunning, doesn’t mean it’s what YOU dreamed of.

What You Should Expect From a Cosmetic Dentist

Your cosmetic dentist should sit down with you and have a consultation about what is your dream smile. You can bring pictures or discuss the character you’re going for. For instance, do you want a sporty smile, an authoritative smile, a youthful smile? All of these are formed with different shapes.

He or she should also let you test drive your porcelain veneers after they’re created using a try in paste. You should get to look at them in several types of lighting and also have your family and/or friends look at them. If you LOVE them (and I mean really love them) great. If not, your cosmetic dentist should be willing to go back to the drawing board.

Most skilled cosmetic dentists call this a beautiful smile guarantee. If they don’t offer one, walk away. Once you’re satisfied, then and only then should you allow him to permanently bond them on.

I hope this helps! Enjoy your new smile. It will bring with it amazing doses of confidence.

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

Replacing all Crowns because of One?

I had crowns placed on all my front teeth about 17 years ago. Since then, my dentist passed away. I’ve been happy with his replacement, up until now. One of my porcelain crowns started to feel loose. I looked at it closely and there’s a dark spot on the top edge. I went to see the dentist. He said there’s decay at the edge and the crown needs to be replaced. But, (and here’s the catch) he says I have to replace all of them if I want them to match. That’s a LOT of money. Is that really necessary or can I wait until they need replacing individually?

Mara Lynn

Dear Mara Lynn,

Side by Side images of dental crowns done by two different cosmetic dentists on the same smile. One is ugly. One is beautiful

Believe it or not, the images above are of the same smile. In both pictures the patient had dental crowns placed. The only difference was the quality of the cosmetic dentist she used. I’m guessing your current dentist is more like the one on the left. He’s not a cosmetic-oriented practice, therefore his skill is limited.

It sounds like the margins on your porcelain crown opened, leaving a little ledge ideal for the development of decay. At the very least, the one with the decay needs to be replaced.

When your current dentist says your crowns won’t match if he doesn’t re-do all of them at the same time, he not lying to you. He’s admitting the limitations of his skill. In this case, you have two choices.

Choosing a Cosmetic Dentist to Re-do Your Smile

  • Just replace the crowns as needed to save money.

You’ll definitely need a new cosmetic dentist in order to do it this way. A good cosmetic dentist CAN just match one crown to the rest of your teeth. They won’t need to do the entire arch. The first thing I’d do, though, is check all the crowns for suspicious marks and open margins. You’ll want to replace any of those at this go-round before they turn into decay. After that, it’s fine to just change them as you need to.

  • Replace them all at once to save time

Even though this is what your dentist suggested, he did it for the wrong reasons— to cover his lack of cosmetic skill. Because of that, I’m not sure you’d be happy with his results. I believe you’d be better served with another dentist in this case as well.

The top cosmetic dentists in the country are those who’ve reached the accreditation level of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). AACD accredited dentists create beautiful smiles. In fact, most of them even have a beautiful smile guarantee.

On a side note, you’ll be much more comfortable using sedation dentistry to have that much work done in one sitting. You can simply go to sleep (if you want to) and when you wake up all the work is done.

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