How can I avoid my sister’s porcelain veneer nightmare?

My sister and I are grown adults with families, careers and homes of our own and yet, it always seems like we are competing against one another in everything – even our smiles. I have some spaces between my teeth and a few chips here and there that have made me self-conscious over the years so I decided to start saving for veneers. My sister found out and of course, she had to get veneers before me.

She has had nothing but problems with hers. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I don’t think they look natural at all. They seem to be the right color, but they look fake. I am not sure if this is a result of something she has done, but a couple of them have fallen off.  It has taken me quite a while to save up for this so I don’t want to have these same problems. How can I be sure I get a beautiful smile that lasts?


Dear Lisa,
It sounds like that crazy competitive spirit has followed you and your sister into adulthood and oftentimes these competitions can become quite ugly. But look at it this way… thanks to your sister you can save yourself from making the same costly mistakes.

The color and your perception that your sister’s porcelain veneers look fake likely has to do with the translucency. Our natural teeth absorb and reflect light, and when veneers are made to look too solid, they tend to look fake. If a dentist isn’t skilled in cosmetic dentistry and have additional training, they often can’t achieve a natural look because they don’t know how to match the opacity of a real tooth – which is just as important as matching color.

Also, veneers should not fall off. You need not be concerned that your sister did something to make that happen. Poor lab work when the veneers were created could be the problem, or an unskilled dentist doing the work.  If done correctly, porcelain veneers are extremely durable and should last for ten years or longer.

There’s a saying that goes, “I smile because you’re my sister.  I laugh because there’s nothing you can do about it.”  Do your homework and find an expert cosmetic dentist so you’re guaranteed to be smiling for years to come.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Can I Whiten My Teeth Too Much?

I need some advice on retouching my bleached teeth — I used Opalescence 20% PF. How many weeks should I touch up and how many hours each day? I don’t want a “glow-in-the-dark” white smile, but I do want to maintain my desired whiteness. I will also be having some crowns placed in the near future and wonder if I should stop whitening a certain length of time before my appointment to ensure a correct color match?

Sara in Georgia

As with Opalescence 20% PF and most other brands of bleaching gel, there are no specific answers on how long you should touch up. When talking about crown matching, your dentist should be able to answer these questions for you, and if not, you should have some concerns. Many dentists today are not true cosmetic dental artists, so your desire to achieve a beautiful smile could be in jeopardy if your dentist lacks the skills needed for true cosmetic dentistry.

Can you whiten your teeth too much? There is no clear answer on that because the pace of whitening slows the more you do it, but the teeth will keep getting whiter. Your dentist should ask you several questions in determining what is best option for you:

  • How satisfied you are with the current color?
  • How much did you bleach them?
  • Have your teeth darkened much since the initial whitening?
  • What would you consider to be their ideal whiteness?

Teeth sensitivity will more often than not determine when and how long you whiten your teeth. If you are not experiencing sensitivity, bleach as long as you can. Bleaching overnight is ideal because the gel will typically last all night since your mouth produces less saliva. If you have to bleach during the day, you’ll have to add gel several times because saliva can get into the trays and wash it out. Just be sure you can get at least 20-30 minutes of bleaching time in because that is now long it takes for the gel to soak into the tooth.

Before any color-matching is done on your new crowns, you’ll want to be sure to have stopped whitening approximately two weeks prior. The secret to teeth whitening is in the peroxide gel releasing tiny bubbles of pure oxygen within your tooth, oxidizing the stains and darker colors. These little oxygen bubbles need time to disperse in order to get a true color. If you are doing eight front teeth, the color of the back teeth and the lower teeth just need to be a close match, so a week would be sufficient. If you need an exact color match of a front tooth with a crown matched to another front tooth with natural enamel, you need to wait the full two weeks. If your dentist cannot easily articulate this information to you, you should rethink whether or not f this is the best dentist to give you a new smile.

Remember, your teeth will pick up stains from food or drinks like coffee, tea, berries, etc. Typically, whitening for 2-3 days for an hour/day once every year or two should help you maintain that bright white bleached color.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.


Can I get Lumineers off if I don’t like them?

I want Lumineers for 2 of my teeth that are really shaped so bad that they don’t look like teeth. If I get Lumineers and don’t like them can I get them taken off? – Jill

Jill – Before you make a final decision about Lumineers, find a skilled cosmetic dentist to examine your teeth. Lumineers may or may not be the recommended treatment.

Depending on the size and shape of the two teeth, it may be possible to reshape them. And depending on the location of your teeth, porcelain crowns may be preferably—to withstand the biting force of side and back teeth.

If you receive Lumineers or any other brand of porcelain veneers, they can be removed, but they will still require some time of cosmetic treatment. Your natural tooth is lightly shaved to accommodate a porcelain veneer, so if a veneer is removed, another veneer must be put in its place, or the tooth will need to be concealed with a porcelain crown.

Find an experienced cosmetic dentist to receive an exam and to discuss your options.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.