Tag Archives: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

Which Dentists Should Do Smile Makeovers?

I’ve been going to the same dentist for years. He’s always been good to my family. I’ve noticed lately he’s been promoting the fact that he does smile makeovers with something called porcelain veneers. I thought that was just for cosmetic dentists. Can regular dentists do them too? I was thinking of getting one myself.


Dear Maxine,

Woman with beautiful smile
Finding the Best Dentist for Your Smile Makeover

You’ve brought up a very common misconception when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. There isn’t a recognized specialty to become a Cosmetic Dentist like you’d find with an oral surgeon or a pediatric dentist. A cosmetic dentist is simply a general dentist who also does cosmetic procedures.

Because there’s no standard in study for that area of dentistry, you can imagine the results vary widely from dentist to dentist. So while any dentist is allowed to do a smile makeover, it doesn’t mean they should.

One dentist may simply take a short seminar on how to place Lumineers and start offering that service to patients, marketing himself as Lumineers certified; while another dentist will spend years developing his artistry and skills with placing porcelain veneers investing money and time at advanced post-graduate dental training centers.

When it comes to a smile makeover, you definitely want the later dentist. So, how does a patient go about finding the best dentist for their cosmetic work? Do they interview the dentist about their hours? How many hours is enough? Should they ask to see their smile gallery? Fortunately, there is an organization who’s done all that work for you.

Finding the Best Dentist for a Smile Makeover

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) started an accreditation program for just this purpose. While any dentist can become a member of the AACD, it takes a great deal of technical knowledge and a demonstration of artistry on a wide variety of cosmetic cases to receive accreditation.

In your place, I would simply ask your dentist if he’s AACD accredited. They’re among the top cosmetic dentists in the world. If I were paying the kind of money a great smile makeover costs, I’d want to make sure I get the most stunning smile possible. Fortunately, most expert cosmetic dentists offer a beautiful smile guarantee, so you don’t have to worry about becoming another cosmetic dentistry horror story.

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

How Do I Find the Best Dentist to Fix a Cosmetic Tooth Disaster?

Help! I spent half my savings on a smile makeover and it’s a disaster. My dentist suggested Lumineers because my teeth wouldn’t need to be shaved. I thought that would be better for my teeth. What he didn’t tell me was how bulky they’d look. I feel like I have the smile of a donkey. Plus, the color isn’t anything like I expected. They look opaque to me instead of translucent. Can this be fixed? How do I find the best dentist to fix them?

Lucinda C.

Dear Lucinda,

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental instrument
Finding the Best Dentist for a Smile Makeover

These type of tragedies are way too common. A patient spends a lot of money to get a beautiful smile only to end up with a disaster that was worse than their natural teeth were to begin with. Most patients tend to leave it to their regular family dentist to do their smile makeover out of a sense of loyalty.

Unfortunately, unless your family dentist has invested extensive time and training in developing their technique and artistry for creating gorgeous smiles with porcelain veneers, the results are rarely what you’d expect and often disappointing.

Lumineers are often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place because they’re considered “no-prep”. Well, you’ve seen what no prep can sometimes end up looking like.

Finding the Best Dentist to Fix Your Cosmetic Disaster

First, your dentist should not have permanently bonded your Lumineers on without letting you see what they looked like with a temporary try-in paste. The fact that he did and they look so unacceptable to you, you have the right to ask for a refund. Then it becomes a matter of finding the right dentist to give you a stunning smile.

The easiest way is to find a cosmetic dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the best cosmetic dentists in the country. Not every area has them. However, it’s worth it to do a little traveling to get the best. There are some cosmetic clients who fly across the country to get their cosmetic work done. But, I realize not everyone is living on a celebrity’s budget.

If you don’t have one at a reasonable distance, look on the mynewsmile.com website. Some dentists are in the process of reaching accreditation level and are equally skilled. This site checks out the technical and artistic skill of the dentist before allowing them to list on their site. No one can simply purchase their way to the list.

I hope this helps!

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

Need Invisalign to Save My Marriage

Help me! I totally blew it at Christmas, apparently. I thought I was listening and being attentive. She’s always complaining about how we have the worst vacuum ever. So, I spent more money than I thought you should on a vacuum. Pro tip: That’s not a good Christmas gift. I wasn’t aware that things you have to have anyway to keep the house clean doesn’t count. She’s been mad at me since Christmas morning. In my defense, I have noticed she is vacuuming more, even if she’s glaring at me while doing it. I’m determined to make it up to her on Valentine’s Day. She also always talks about wanting a smile makeover. So, I thought I’d get her a gift certificate for Invisalign and teeth whitening. I went to see her dentist at lunch today to order it (see I’m actually a month ahead of the game), but he said no. She has to be there for an exam to know the cost. How can I surprise her like that? Will all dentists feel that way?

Dennis (the gift menace)

Dear Dennis,

A woman putting in her Invisalign aligners in two stacked images

I love how much you’re trying. You’re absolutely listening, so she can’t fault you for that. I think you’ll be able to get her that mini smile makeover you’re hoping to. Before we do that I want to make sure you know a distinction. When your wife says smile makeover, she could be referring to Invisalign and teeth whitening. Many people get beautiful smile makeovers from these two products.

Be aware, though, most people are referring to getting a smile makeover with porcelain veneers. Either way, I’d make sure you do some digging to see which she means as you’re trying to make something up to her she was unhappy about.

What’s the Smile Makeover Difference between Invisalign and Porcelain Veneers

With Invisalign, her teeth will be gently and precisely shifted to a correct position wearing a series of aligners. The image at the top of this post shows a woman placing an Invisalign aligner on her teeth.

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental instrumentWith porcelain veneers, her teeth can be made to look straight even when they’re not using thin wafers of porcelain an expert cosmetic dentist designs. You can see an image of a single porcelain veneer directly above. These can also change the shape, size, and color of her teeth. This is the smile makeover most celebrities get when they’re going for that “Hollywood Smile.”

Can You Pre-purchase Invisalign Ahead of Time?

My suggestion, if you want to get an Invisalign Gift Certificate is to talk to the dentist again asking what the minimum cost would be. If he knows your wife’s teeth at all, he can probably give a semi-educated guess. Then purchase a gift certificate for that amount. Let him know after her exam and treatment plan is designed, you’ll make up any cost difference.

If it turns out porcelain veneers is what she was after, the dentist you choose to do this is the most important decision you’ll make in this procedure. You really want her to go to a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Those are the dentists which can give her a stunning smile. Be aware, this procedure is much more pricey than Invisalign. But, you get way more for your buck at the same time. The aacd.com website can help you locate one near your area.

This blog is brought to you by American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Accredited Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

How Do I Know If My Dentist Is the Best for My Smile Makeover?

I’m worried I should go to a different dentist for my smile makeover. He’s a really nice man, but when I suggested I get porcelain veneers he said that crowns would be a better option. I told him I didn’t want to grind my teeth down when they’re healthy. He said he was willing to get certified to place Lumineers for me. He’s super sweet and I love that he’s willing to learn something to help me but I’m not sure I want to be his first case, especially because this will essentially wipe out my life savings. What do you think?

Carrie E.

Dear Carrie,

Woman with beautiful smile

Your gut instinct is right. It does sound like you have a very caring dentist, but he won’t be the best dentist for your smile makeover. You need someone who’s had significant training and skill in cosmetic dental work. It takes a lot of training and artistry. It doesn’t mean you have to switch dentists altogether. Just for your smile makeover. You can still see your regular dentist for everything else.

Look for a dentist in your area who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the dentists who have the skill you need to create a gorgeous smile. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

The Best Way to Care for Your New Smile

Now one thing to understand is your dentist won’t know the right way to care for your new smile after you finally get it. The important thing will be to make sure they don’t use anything like a prophy jet or other power jet to clean your teeth. That will remove the glaze from your porcelain veneers and they’ll quickly become ruined.

He sounds like a responsible dentist. It might not be a bad idea for him to learn about how to properly care for them for your further cleanings and check-ups. I bet he’d be willing to do that, especially because he offered to get certified in Lumineers for you.

By the way, tell him if he’s truly interested in learning about placing porcelain, not to waste his time with the Lumineers seminar. He’d be better off learning about true aesthetic dentistry at somewhere like LVI. Obviously, he’d probably take that better from a peer than a patient, so feel free to show him this post.

Best of luck with your smile makeover.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

How to Find the Best Dentist When You Move

We’re moving across the country. We’ve had a fantastic dentist all of our lives. It’s sad to me that we have to leave the clinic. I’m pretty sure we’ve had the best dentist in our state. Is there an easy way to locate the best dentist in our new state?

Emily P.

Dear Emily,

Best Dentist in Boston

I’ll give you some tips to narrow down your dentist choices. The first thing you need to do is decide what services are important to you. For instance, if you’ll want someone who focuses only on general dental services you’ll go one route. But, if you are interested in cosmetic dental services there will be additional things to look for.

I’m going to go on the assumption you’re looking for a good cosmetic dentist because those are harder to find. There is no recognized specialty for cosmetic dentistry so every cosmetic dentist is just a general dentist who offers cosmetic procedures. As with any art based skill, there are a large variety of skills among the artists.

Because it’s extremely difficult for patients to know ahead of time which dentists are skilled at creating beautiful smiles and which are really bad at it, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) developed an accreditation program. Those cosmetic dentists which reach accreditation are among the most skilled, artistic dentists in the world. If getting a smile makeover is important to you, you’ll want an AACD accredited dentist.

Now, you likely fell in love with your dentist because of his personality. He showed interest and care about your family. It won’t do you any good if your dentist is artistic, but a total jerk. So, once you’ve found an AACD accredited dentist in your area, look at their smile gallery to be certain you like the results they get. You’ll also want to make sure they have some form of beautiful smile guarantee. Then, go onto sites like Google Review or Yelp! and read reviews patients have given them. You want to make sure they’re good with patients.

If you take these steps, you’re very likely to find at least one of the best dentists in your new area. If cosmetic work isn’t important to you, then just look at reviews to make sure they’re friendly and do work that holds up.

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

Who’s the Best Dentist for a Recovering Bulimic?

I’ve struggled with bulimia for years and am finally on the road to recovery. It’s been hard but I’m doing much better recently.  One of the things I’m doing is trying to repair some of the damage my purging has caused. My teeth are in bad shape and I caused it. I need to find the right type of dentist for this. I don’t want one who’s going to make me feel any worse than I already do.

Meredith G.

Dear Meredith,

Wow! You’re a strong woman. I’m proud of the dynamic recovery you’ve made thus far. I appreciate the steps you’re trying to take. You’re also wise to try to find the best type of dentist for this situation.

You’ll want to work with an expert cosmetic dentist. They have the experience in working with bulimic patients. Plus, you’ll be certain whatever work they do will be beautiful.  The last thing you need at this stage of your recovery is shoddy work which makes you feel worse about yourself.

The dentist will want to look at the damage to the back of your teeth. Your purging causes a lot of acid to attack the back of your teeth. It may be that will cause you to need some all-porcelain crowns, but don’t worry. A good cosmetic dentist will make them stunning.

Your best bet is to get an accredited dentist with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).  They’re the top cosmetic dentists in the country and will give you a smile you will be unbelievably proud to share with people.

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

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


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.

Who’s the Best Dentist to Do Porcelain Veneers?

If I want to get a great smile. How do I know who’s the best dentist for porcelain veneers?

Kevin C. – Maryland


I’m glad you’re asking about this before just going to your family dentist for treatment.  Most patients don’t know that cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty. That means any general dentist, no matter how much or little training they have in cosmetic procedures can call themselves a cosmetic dentist.

If you want a guaranteed gorgeous smile, then the best dentist to go to is one who is accredited with the American Academy fo Cosmetic Dentistry. Accreditation is different than membership.  To get accredited you have to pass stringent tests both written and oral, as well as demonstrate your artistic ability in a variety of sample cases that the dentist performed on actual patients.

It’s worth it even if you have to drive to a nearby city to get to one. If you’re going to invest the money, you might as well get the most skilled, artistic dentist to create your new smile.

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

Can My Crown Be Changed to Match the Veneers?

I got porcelain veneers. There was one tooth that already had  crown, so that one had to have a new crown placed. I was worried I wouldn’t get a good smile, because my underlying teeth, the inner layer is darker than most peoples. At least that’s what my dentist told me.  The veneers look fine. Much better than I expected, but the crown doesn’t match. It’s whiter than the veneers next to it. Is there a way to make them match?

Lillith B. – Ohio

Hi Lillith,

I’m glad you’re happy with your porcelain veneers. They can really remake a smile. When the underlying are darker, it can get a little trickier. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just has to be done by an expert cosmetic dentist. It sounds to me like you have a good family dentist who does cosmetic work, but maybe hasn’t studied the advanced aspects of it.

To be a great cosmetic dentist takes a lot of post-graduate training. Porcelain veneers are thing. Porcelain is naturally translucent, just like your natural tooth enamel, which makes it an excellent dental material. However, porcelain veneers are significantly thicker than veneers. If the underlying teeth are dark, as yours are, that dark color is going to shine through the porcelain veneers much more than it would with the crown.

One of the ways to get around this is for the dentist to add an opaquer to the teeth before sending your case off to the lab. It takes quite a bit of skill on the part of the dentist, so not many can do it. If I were in your place, I’d look for a dentist who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

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

Can Dentures Be Attractive?

It’s the ten year mark where my insurance company allows me to get a new set of dentures. I really want to replace mine because they look so unnatural. I’m hoping in the last ten years there have been enough advances that they can be made to look attractive. However, I don’t want any false hope. What are my chances?

Samantha L. – Lawrence, KS


I almost hate to tell you this, but you could have had attractive dentures ten years ago. The problem wasn’t the advances in technology. The problem was your dentist.

A good cosmetic dentist can make well-fitting dentures that look just like your natural teeth, or even improve your smile.

See if you can find a dentist in your area who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). They’ll be highly skilled, both technically and artistically. You’ll be absolutely thrilled with the results.

A good tip is to get pre-authorization from your insurance company for the dentures. That way they won’t deny the payment after you’ve already have them done, sticking you with the bill.

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