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How Do You Avoid a Smile Makeover Disaster?

My friend Cecilia just spent thousands of dollars on a “smile makeover” and it’s awful. The teeth are thick and bulky. They look opaque. In all honesty, she went from having an okay, but not beautiful smile to having horse teeth. I didn’t even have to tell her it was bad. She burst into tears the minute she walked through my door. I told her to ask for a refund or to have it re-done, but she said the dentist thinks it’s beautiful and the problem is in her mind. If I go with her and tell the dentist I agree with her will it help? I was planning on having my own smile makeover. I still want to do it but would love to know how to avoid my friend’s issue. Any tips?

Lucy S. – Seattle

Lucy,

I can tell you right away what went wrong with your friend’s makeover. She went to a family dentist who doesn’t have a great deal of training or experience with cosmetic dentistry. Based on the description you gave of your friend’s new smile, it sounds like her dentist placed Lumineers on her teeth. That wouldn’t surprise me because they’re often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. Unfortunately, horse teeth are usually what you end up with when someone without skill places them.  They’re just a brand of porcelain veneers. A brand most cosmetic dentists don’t prefer.

I don’t think you going and telling the dentist he did a bad job is going to change his mind. Your best bet is to have her go to an expert cosmetic dentist and have THAT  dentist tell him it was a bad job. An expert cosmetic dentist would never be satisfied with a case in which the patient is dissatisfied. Ever. However, a family dentist, who doesn’t do much cosmetic work will be more interested in what his peers think. If colleague thinks his work is subpar, he won’t want to look bad by not re-doing it.

So, your friend’s problem is how to find an expert cosmetic dentist.  This is your issue too, because you want a gorgeous smile makeover when you decide to go forward with yours. You want to go to an AACD accredited dentist. The AACD is the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Now bear in mind any dentist can become a member of the AACD, but accreditation has to be earned. Only the top cosmetic dentists reach this level. If you get a smile makeover by them, you’re pretty much guaranteed a gorgeous smile. In fact, many highly skilled cosmetic dentists (like Dr. Burba) have a beautiful smile guarantee.

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

What If My Dentures No Longer Fit?

I’ve had dentures for a long time. They’ve gotten to the point where they won’t stay in.  It’s like my jaw has changed.  Is there anything I can do?

Jeannette N. – Brooklyn

Jeannette,

I know exactly what was going on. When your teeth are removed, your body begins to reabsorb the minerals from the roots of your teeth to use elsewhere in your body. It’s a very efficient system…unless you happen to wear dentures. Eventually so much of your jawbone is gone that you can’t wear your dentures anymore.

There is a way to repair this. You’ll need to have some bone grafting done. This will restore bone structure to your jawbone. Then you can have your treatment restored. Ideally, you’d want to get dental implants to replace your teeth. This prevents your body from reabsorbing the minerals and protects your jaw.

If you can’t afford dental implants, you could get snap-on dentures. This will affix your dentures to your jaw using as few as two implants, which saves you a lot of money. Then, as you’re able to, you can add implants.

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

I can’t chew very well with my dentures

I’m hoping you can give me some denture advice. Ever since I’ve got them, it’s been very hard to chew. Is there anything I can do? My dentist says the dentures are fitting properly.

Scott D. – Georgia

Scott,

Even the best fitting dentures will reduce your chewing efficiency by 50%.  That can be discouraging. Ideally, when you need to replace teeth, you’d get dental implants. However, that is not in the budget for all patients and they’re stuck with dentures.

If you’re in that category, you might consider getting snap-on dentures. That will anchor them and help with your chewing efficiency.

You still won’t feel like you did with natural teeth or you would with dental implants, but it will be a significant improvement.

There will be the added benefit of allowing you to retain some of your jawbone. Obviously , the more implants, the better the stability and the more bone will be retained, but as long as you have a minimum of two, you should see some improvement.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba

Do I need jawbone for snap on dentures

My dentist said I needed to get dentures, because I don ‘t have enough jawbone for dental implants. I was really disappointed to hear that. I have heard that there are snap on dentures that use a mini type of implant. Am I able to get those with a little jawbone?

Brendon L. – Tennessee

Brendon,

Unfortunately, without enough jawbone, the mini implants won’t have enough support for your snap on dentures. Snap on dentures are usually used when people are good candidates for dental implants, but don’t have the money for the big daddies.

Did your dentist not mention bone grafting? If you really wanted dental implants, you can have bone grafted to your jawbone to build up the structure.

If you’ve lost that much bone already, then eventually your dentures won’t even stay in place. Your bottom dentures rest on your lower jaw and that is the only thing keeping them in.

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

What can keep my dentures from slipping

I can’t afford dental implants, so I’m stuck wtih dentures.  I know there is nothing I can do about that, but wondered if there is any way to keep them from slipping.? Please tell me there is.

Donna M. – Staten Island, NY

Donna,

I’m sorry. There is nothing worse than knowing there is a better treatment out there, but you can’t afford it. Fortunately, there is a way to make living with dentures a little easier. That includes keeping them from slipping.

Has your dentist mentioned snap on dentures to you?  It essentially is anchoring your dentures to your jawbone. That will keep you from having complete loss of your jaw bone.

Another thing I’d like to bring up. If you truly desire dental implants, there is a way to do them in stages.  You can get two implants at a time, giving you time to save up for each set. This will further secure your appliance, eventually giving you the comfortable tooth replacements you’ve been wanting.

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

Lumineers for cosmetic work

I’m going to get my teeth fixed. I’ve been doing a lot of research and have decided to get Lumineers because I don’t want my teeth shaved all the way down. I live in Colorado and I’ve been looking into Dr. ________.  My cousin got her teeth done by you and she says you’re great. Do you know if he is great too. He’s not listed on the Lumineers site, so I wasn’t sure.

Carolyn- Denver, CO

Carolyn,

First I want to clear up some misconceptions. I can tell that you’ve seen a lot of the marketing for Lumineers. They often emphasize the fact that they are no-prep. They may have indicated that your teeth would need to be shaved down with other brands of porcelain veneers, but that is not accurate.

When your teeth are “shaved” for other brands, they only take about the depth of a fingernail off. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in appearance between a shaved and unshaven tooth.

In fact, often when Lumineers are put on without any tooth preparation they will make your smile look bulky and too long.

Also, the dentists that are listed on the Lumineers site are not any better or worse than another dentist. It just means they’ve passed a written exam by reading the lumineers material. What you want to look for is a dentist who is highly skilled in cosmetic dentistry both by understanding the technical issues and by having an artistic eye. The dentist you mentioned is not someone I’d consider an expert cosmetic dentist. He doesn’t seem to have the post-graduate training required to do a great job.

If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on new smile, you want to make sure it will be  a smile you’ll be thrilled with. Your best option is to find someone who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. They will be among the top 1% of cosmetic dentists. If you can’t find one in your area, or you don’t like them, you could also look on the mynewsmile.com website. They recommend expert cosmetic dentists in each state.

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

A question about dental accreditation

It seems like there are some cosmetic dentists who are accredited and some who aren’t. Why is that and what is the difference?

Burke I.- Detroit, MI

Burke,

You have asked one of the most important questions there is regarding cosmetic dentistry.  Most people don’t know that cosmetic dentistry is a completely unregulated field. That means any general dentist can learn a few cosmetic procedures and call themselves a cosmetic dentist. Even the standard for acceptable care in cosmetic dentistry is really low. For instance, as long as your cosmetic work is functional, it is considered acceptable, regardless of how unattractive you may feel it to be.

This lack of regulation is a problem. Very few “cosmetic” dentists are skilled enough to create a truly beautiful smile. It takes a significant amount of post-graduate training to be able to adequately do cosmetic procedures. So, knowing this, how can you know if a cosmetic dentist is really qualified?  That is where accreditation comes in.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) has an accreditation program. Dentists are not required to participate in the program. Those that do have to pass a stringent written exam, as well as a clinical exam where they have to give five case samples of their work. Only about 1-2% of dentists in the world acheive this level of qualification. You can be certain that if a dentist is AACD accredited, you are in fantastic hands.

You may be interested in learning about our porcelain veneers cosmetic procedure.

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

Congratulations to Dr. Arthur Chal

As we mention on this website, Dr. Burba is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The AACD accreditation program is made possible by the dedicated service of a number of volunteers who serve as examiners, evaluating the cosmetic dentistry of their peers. These expert cosmetic dentists donate their time and expertise to help advance the cause of promoting quality cosmetic dentistry.

We wanted to give acknowledgement to one of those dedicated professionals, Dr. Arthur Chal, who was recognized recently for 16 years of service as an accreditation examiner for the AACD. This is the longest tenure of any member of this examining board, and represents a tremendous commitment to the profession.

Congratulations, and thank you for your service, Dr. Chal.

This blog is sponsored by AACD Accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Insurance for Crowns

I need to get three crowns. I told my dentist I want an all porcelain crowns. He preferred porcelain with metal bases, but said he’d be willing to do an Empress crown.  My insurance says it will pay $350/crown.– for the crowns, but my dentist said it will be over $1000.– per crown. Is this correct?!

Dana S.- Austin, TX

Dana,

Yes, your dentist is giving you a reasonable price quote. In fact, $1000.00 per crown is on the low end of a crown fee.  Dental insurance does not work like medical insurance. Generally, with medical insurance, the higher the cost of the procedure, the more the insurance is helpful to you. With dental insurance it is different. They are in business to make money. The more the procedure costs, the more you’ll have to pay.

I would like to address one other thing. You mentioned you told your dentist you would like all-porcelain crowns, but he preferred the porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. While you have a right to have the type of crown you prefer, it may be wiser for you to go to another dentist  for the procedure. You’re taking a huge chance pushing your dentist into a procedure he is not comfortable doing. All-porcelain crowns require very sophisticated bonding techniques that if not done properly will cause you a lot of problems.

It doesn’t mean you cannot go to your dentist for other procedures that he is qualified to do. But, you need to go somewhere else for the crowns  you want.

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

Speech issues with Snap-on Smile

I recently received a snap on smile device. I really  like how it improves the appearance of your smile, my only problem is that it makes it hard for me to read out loud. I volunteer at a school to read to classes and this has made it difficult. Do you know of another company that does this type of device that isn’t so bulky?

Bernadette P.- San Francisco

Bernadette,

The DenMat company is the only one I know of that puts this out, but that is the device you already have. Because it snaps on to the top of your teeth, it makes your teeth feel bulkier. This could be what is affecting your speech. If you want to upgrade your smile, without something bulky on your teeth, you may want to look into getting porcelain veneers. They are more expensive than Snap-On Smile, but they are significantly more beautiful and last for decades as opposed to a few years. Plus, they are permanently bonded to your teeth. You’ll never have to worry about them coming off or needing to take them off to clean your teeth.

If you decide to get them, make sure you go to an expert cosmetic dentist. This way you’ll be sure to get a stunning smile.

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