Tag Archives: porcelain veneers

Best Way to Fix My Nephews Teeth

My nephew wants to be an actor but his teeth are pretty crooked, at least in my opinion. He is about to graduate from high school. I want to get his teeth repaired for him as his graduation present so he can pursue his dream of being an actor. I spoke to one dentist who suggested Lumineers, but I’m a little concerned about this option. It doesn’t have the best reviews. Plus, from what I hear they will only last about 15 years. Should I look for something more permanent?

Aunt Mary

Dear Aunt Mary,

Clear Invisalgin Aligner
Invisalign’s aligners are invisible, even at a conversational distance.

If only everyone had an aunt like you! What a great way to help your nephew. I’m actually very glad you wrote because I want to make sure your money is well spent and not wasted on such a kind gift.

With how you described your concerns with your nephew’s smile, you have two options. Let’s start with the one your dentist recommended— Lumineers.

Option One: Porcelain Veneers

Lumineers is one brand of porcelain veneers and you’re wise to be concerned about the reviews you’ve read. It is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. The company claims it doesn’t require any tooth preparation (which is what they say makes it easy). In most cases, that makes the teeth look bulky.

A secondary problem is the company which makes Lumineers requires dentists to use their lab, which isn’t known for its beautiful work. Because of that, most expert cosmetic dentists prefer other brands of porcelain veneers.

If you decide to go the route of porcelain veneers, make sure you take your nephew to an AACD accredited dentist. These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. They’ll know which brand will work best for your nephew’s smile goals and will create a gorgeous smile for him.

As far as the longevity of porcelain veneers. A lot of that depends on how well cared for they are. If they are not taken care of, they will only last around five years. If they are cared for diligently, they can last 20+ years.

However, you have a second option, which costs significantly less.

Option Two: Invisalign and Teeth Whitening

If all he really needs is orthodontics, I would suggest you go this route. With Invisalign, he can straighten his teeth without anyone knowing in half the time of traditional braces. Instead of metal wires and brackets, these use clear aligners. A sophisticated software program plans out his treatment then produces the aligners which he’ll switch out every two weeks.

Additionally, if his teeth need whitening, the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays which will allow him to straighten and whiten his teeth at the same time.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Root Canal or Dental Bonding

I went to an endodontist for what I thought was a dental emergency. My tooth is darker. He said the tooth is still viable and likely doesn’t have to a root canal treatment. In that case, I think I could just get dental bonding done to make it look better. My endodontist said I’d have to get several teeth bonded for it to match. I’m not sure I want to do that if I will need a root canal in the near future. What do you think?

Trisha

Dear Trisha,

Illustration of an abscessed tooth

If he’s telling you the tooth is viable and saying you don’t “have to” have a root canal treatment, then you don’t have a tooth infection and don’t require a root canal. You either need one or you don’t. Saying you don’t have to have one is misleading. My guess is you have a cracked tooth. Doing a root canal treatment won’t help that.

If you want to treat the color, dental bonding or a porcelain veneer can do that. As to your dentist’s suggestion that you’d have to have several teeth done in order for them to match, that is only true if you go to an inexperienced cosmetic dentist. An expert cosmetic dentist can match a single tooth.

Finding that Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Very few dentists are skilled in cosmetic dentistry. The best have reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. To reach that level, they have to pass stringent exams as well provide visual evidence of their artistry in a large number of cases they’ve completed.

If I needed cosmetic work done on a visible tooth, I would go to an AACD accredited dentist. You are assured a beautiful result.

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

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.

Blacklisted by Best Dentist

I’m afraid I’ve been blacklisted by the best dentist in the area. He came highly recommended by several of my friends. They’ve all been to him for various cosmetic procedures, from whitening through veneers, and everyone says such wonderful things about him. Maybe I built him up too much in my mind, but I recently went in for a consultation about having my teeth fixed up a bit. I have some awkward spacing and one tooth is a little twisted. I wanted to have them straightened out and whitened. Everything seemed fine. I met him and thought he was fantastic. He talked up veneers and I felt great. But, then his assistant came in after and gave me the estimate—it was thousands more than I could afford. I asked if there were alternative solutions and the girl huffed at me a bit and then went and got the dentist. He came back and basically told me that if I didn’t want to do it his way, I shouldn’t be in his office.

I was devastated. I really thought this guy would be great, but I can’t afford to go through with the treatment and my friends keep asking me when I’m going in to see him. I have absolute faith in his capabilities, I just wish he’d work with me on treatment. Is there any way to salvage this?

Thanks,

Anonymous In MA

Dear Anonymous,

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair
How do you know if you have the best dentist for your needs?

Let’s be realistic for a moment here. If he was the best dentist, would he be treating you this way? The answer is no.

He’s Not Taking Good Care of You

Perhaps he has amazing artistic skill and can craft beautiful smiles, but that’s only half the battle. Being able to make patients feel comfortable and helping them get around their barriers is equally important. In your case, cost is a barrier.

A good dentist would understand this and pitch solutions that work within your limitations. Perhaps you might be better getting six porcelain veneers instead of two or four. Maybe that is the best way to improve your smile. At the same time, maybe two will provide you with adequate results and be a bit more affordable. Or, perhaps Invisalign combined with teeth whitening is a better option for your budget. There are always multiple approaches. If he isn’t willing to explore them with you, he’s not doing you justice.

You Can Find a Better Dentist

Go have a consultation with another dentist and be upfront about your budget from the onset. A great dentist will go over your options with you. For what it’s worth, you don’t have to explain to your friends why you’re seeing someone else. The prior office has an obligation to keep your information confidential, so unless you tell your friends why you left, they never need to know.

This blog is sponsored by Salem Dentist Dr. Burba.

A Collapse Bite Requires You Choose Your Dentist Carefully

My smile humiliates me. I have to work extraordinarily hard for people to see my teeth. It looks unnatural. Plus, my jaw hurts. My dentist has me wear a night guard for that. It does help and my lips and teeth look more natural when I do. I think it may be that my teeth aren’t big enough. In that case, would porcelain veneers help?

Mary

Dear Mary,

Woman covering her mouth

Based on what you’ve mentioned, it sounds like you have a combination of a collapsed bite along with TMJ issues. If that is the case, porcelain veneers aren’t your solution. However, I do have one for you.

I’m actually relieved you wrote before moving forward. There are too many times we hear from people only after a dentist without the requisite training completely destroyed their bite.

In order to fix what is going on, they will have to open your bite with dental crowns. It will have to be done carefully and methodically with a dentist who knows how to do a full-mouth reconstruction. It will take restoring your bite with provisional restorations first.

This is necessary so that it is reversible until the provisionals are successful. This will mean you are completely out of pain, your upper teeth show normally, you have no speech difficulties, and you are pleased with the appearance of your new smile.

This is a tall order and there are only a small minority of dentists who are able to accomplish this. You’ll want someone who has done extensive post-doctoral work at one of these institutions:

  • L.D. Pankey Institute
  • The Dawson Academy
  • The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies

These are the top schools for this sort of procedural training. Anything less and you’ll end up with an even more serious problem than you are facing now. The good news is, those dentists are out there. You have hope.

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

Notches & Erosion at gumline

I have notches on my teeth at the gumline a type of erosion from brushing too hard. I’m thinking of getting porcelain veneers as a means of covering it. As long as I don’t brush too hard, they should be fine, right?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

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

I’m glad you wrote. It’s true that we used to think the kind of erosion of teeth you’re dealing with was caused by brushing too hard. We no longer believe that to be the case.

While it is still believed to wear away your gums, the notches and erosion on your teeth are now believed to be caused by bruxism. This is when you clench and grind your teeth. So, let’s see if I can’t help you with both issues.

Porcelain Veneers

Yes, you could get porcelain veneers and it will cover those notches. Whether or not you get a gorgeous smile with those veneers depends on the dentist who creates the smile.

Smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. It’s something a dentist will choose to study afterward if they’re interested. Some invest more in time and training than others. Some have an artistic eye and some don’t.

If you want a gorgeous smile, you need to look for an expert cosmetic dentist. Go to the website of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.com) and do a search for an accredited dentist in a realistic distance from you. AACD accredited dentists are of the highest caliber.

Bruxism and TMJ

Bruxism is biting stress on your teeth. When you grind your teeth or even clench them, it causes stress at the neck of the tooth leading to the problems you currently have, as well as weakening and cracking them. It will also lead to problems with your temporomandibular joint causing TMJ Disorder.

Even if you get porcelain veneers, this will need to be dealt with. You will continue with this habit without realizing it. Most people do it in their sleep. My suggestion is you see a TMJ dentist and get fitted for a nightguard as soon as your porcelain veneers are bonded.

If you’re not getting your smile makeover right away, be sure to get the nightguard now so you don’t do any further damage to your teeth.

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

Dentist wants to CROWN a Chipped Tooth!

I fell on some ice and chipped my tooth. I wanted to repair it but my dentist said the best repair would be a crown. I know he’s not big on cosmetic dentistry, but I was hoping for something that wouldn’t grind the whole tooth. Aren’t there some cosmetic options?

May

Dear May,

before and after a chipped tooth is repaired

I’m sure your dentist is a decent general dentist and is giving you the best service he can provide for you. Unfortunately, he not the best dentist for you in this particular situation. Yes, there are cosmetic solutions to this which are much simpler. The ideal one is much more affordable than a crown too.

However, I don’t recommend you force his hand on this. If he isn’t familiar and experienced in cosmetic dentistry you will not like the results you get. Many people use one dentist for their general dental work and one for their cosmetic work.

Fixing a Chipped Tooth

The standard repair for a chipped tooth is to have dental bonding done on it. This uses a composite resin that the dentist will sculpt onto the tooth freehand. It does require an artistic cosmetic dentist. As you don’t have one, I’m going to tell you how to find the best cosmetic dentist in your area.

I mean if you’re going to do a cosmetic procedure, you may as well go to the person who can not only do it well, they do an awesome job. My suggestion is you get an AACD accredited dentist. These dentists have gone through stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrated their artistic ability on a large number of cases.

Any of them could not only fix your chipped tooth, but they could also give you a stunning smile makeover with porcelain veneers.

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

My Mouth Is Sinking In

I need some advice. You can barely see my front teeth when I smile. It makes it look like I don’t have any and is embarrassing. I do have jaw pain which I wear a night guard for. My face feels more comfortable and natural when I wear it. But, most of the time, my jaw tightens and I have trouble forming certain letter sounds. My dentist suggested porcelain veneers but I wanted to get a second opinion. What do you think?

Pamela

Dear Pamela,

A Chart showing how joints muscles and teeth all work together in TMJ

I’m concerned by some things I’m hearing. I think you need a different dentist. While it is true that getting porcelain veneers can give you a gorgeous smile, it will not help the root of your problem. In fact, it’s likely to make it worse, specifically your jaw pain and issues with pronunciation. You may actually end up with a locked jaw.

Go see a dentist with a lot of training and experience in TMJ Disorder. You’re probably thinking, “Great, that’s not a specialty. How do I find one of those?” Well, I’m glad you asked. You can look on their website or ask their staff where they received their TMJ training. If they only mention their dental school, that’s insufficient. Here are some great institutions. I’d want them to list at least one of them:

  • The Pankey Institute
  • Dawson Academy
  • Spear Education
  • The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies

It sounds like this has happened over time, which may mean you’ve worn your teeth down causing them to overclose. If that’s the case, then it’s very likely you’ll need a full mouth reconstruction. Picking the right dentist for that is just as important as finding an expert in TMJ Treatment.

You want to have a functional smile, but one you’ll also be proud to show everyone. In your place, I’d start by finding an expert TMJ Dentist, but then also see if they’re an expert cosmetic dentist. It is possible to get both. For cosmetic dentistry, the ideal is to get a dentist who has attained accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

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

BEST Dentist to Fix Meth Mouth

My daughter has come a long way. When she was 14 she ran away. She came back this year at 19-years-old. I barely recognized her. She was too thin and completely strung out on drugs. She could barely talk. I couldn’t believe this was the same little girl who used to cuddle in my lap while I read Little House on the Praire books to her. We took her back in. She was addicted to meth but once she could communicate told us she’d do anything to get her life together and she meant it. She’s completely off drugs. She got her G.E.D. and is preparing to go to a local university. I’m super proud of her. One of the things which still embarrasses her and I’m afraid will hurt her employment opportunities is her teeth. She has what I now know as meth mouth. I want to fix her teeth so she can feel confident when she smiles. But, I understand this is a gargantuan task that requires more than your average family dentist. How do I go about finding the best dentist to give her the beautiful smile she deserves?

Linda

Dear Linda,

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

What a great moment that must have been to get your little girl back. It reminds me of the prodigal son in the Bible. It sounds like you have good reason to be proud of the changes she’s made. None of that could have been easy for either of you. I’m sure just her coming off the meth was a torture you’d never want to experience again.

It’s good that you recognize this is above the abilities of most dentists. These type of smile makeovers require immense skill and artistry. You need not just one of the best dentists. You need the best of the best. My suggestion would be to find a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD Dentists are among the top 1% of dentists in the country. They’ll be able to give your daughter a stunning smile.

It’s likely they’ll do a combination of teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and porcelain crowns. Many of them even have a beautiful smile guarantee, so you’ll be sure to get the smile you want.

I’m glad you guys are getting your daughter back.

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

How Do I Find the Best Dentist?

I’ve recently moved and need to find a new dentist. I’ve been to the same one most of my adult life so it feels weird switching. How do I find the best one available?

Burt

Dear Burt,

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair
The Best Dentists Leave Us with Smiles

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some independent, objective measurement to tell us who the best dentists were? Unfortunately, especially when it comes to general dental care, there isn’t. That doesn’t mean I can’t give you some guidelines to help you find the best dentist for your particular needs.

The first thing to ask yourself is what type of services do you need? Are you strictly and nuts and bolts guy who just wants his teeth cleaned and maintained as necessary? Or maybe you also want some cosmetic work done? Once that’s decided, it gets a little easier.

Finding the Best General Dentist

For the basics, I’d simply do an internet search for dentists in your area. Then I’d take two additional steps.

  • Check their reviews.

You’ll want a dentist people enjoy seeing. One who makes them feel like family instead of just someone they need to get in and out of the dental chair. Reviews are generally written by those who are thrilled with the service they’ve received or hated it. Either one should give you the information you need.

  • Check their passion

Each state has a requirement for how many continuing education hours a dentist has to do to keep their license. You want a dentist who not only keeps up with the developments in his field but has a passion for it. Make sure they go above and beyond what is required. They shouldn’t be offended to answer a question on how many continuing hours they do.

Finding the Best Cosmetic Dentist

It’s a little easier to find the best cosmetic dentist. Because there isn’t a cosmetic dentistry specialty, there used to be no way for patients to know who would give them a gorgeous smile makeover with porcelain veneers and who would give them a cosmetic horror story.

Fortunately, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry stepped in and created an accreditation program. This tests dentist both with written and oral exams gauging their technical knowledge. Then, it requires them to provide visual evidence of a large number of cosmetic procedures they’ve done to ensure they not only have technical skill but artistry as well.

If a dentist is AACD accredited, that means you will get a stunning smile. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

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