Unhappy with my porcelain veneers… shouldn’t my dentist be required to fix them?

I am wondering what I should about the porcelain veneers I recently had placed… I am so unhappy with them. I can see two problems with them: 1) my canine teeth look crooked and 2) I noticed a little line above my left front tooth and wonder if it is my natural tooth surface showing through. When I went back to my dentist with my concerns, he refused to do anything about the line because he said it was barely noticeable. I spent so much money and now I am afraid that area might decay. I chose porcelain veneers because I had old bonding that needed to be replaced, but now I am just as insecure with my smile as I was before. Is it really not a big deal and I am just being difficult? What should I do? — Lizzi in Atlanta

Lizzi,
It sounds like you have a couple of things going on here. To address the issue of your dissatisfaction with how your smile looks, it is quite disappointing that your dentist didn’t do a better job of letting you see what your smile was going to look like before permanently bonding it. Good cosmetic dentists want to always make sure you see exactly how your porcelain veneers will look, and will even let another family member or a friend look at them with you. They may even offer a beautiful smile guarantee because their first priority is making sure you absolutely love your new smile.

As a patient, you have a right to ask him to re-do what you don’t like… particularly the crooked canine teeth. As far as the line at your gumline, unless there is a groove or ledge that could “catch” decay, you tooth is not going to be vulnerable, so he does have a point there.

The other issue at hand is the difference between a true cosmetic dentist and a general dentist who “likes” to do cosmetic dentistry. A good cosmetic dentist understands: 1) that he or she is not just treating a patient, they are treating the self image of the patient, and 2) if the patient is unhappy, he or she has failed. Good cosmetic dentists will want you to leave the office absolutely loving your smile, and if you don’t they will make any and all adjustment needed to achieve that end.

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

Can I whiten my teeth inexpensively at home?

A few years ago, I was able to save up so I could afford an in-office bleaching procedure. I was very happy with the results, but I really can’t afford to do it again. I’d love to find a cheaper alternative that I could do at home, but will I be able to achieve the same results?
–Sam

Sam,
Just imagine living in during 17th or 18th century where teeth whitening meant saving down your teeth and bathing them in acid. Thankfully, for us, teeth whitening has come a long way since then and you now have all sorts of options to choose from depending on your budget, how quickly you want to get the job done or how white you want to go.

Today, most dental offices offer custom-made whitening trays. While you’ll get similar results as the in-office treatments, it takes longer. The trays are yours to keep for later use, so that means only a one-time expense as long as you take good care of them and there are no changes to your mouth. The only thing you need to do is purchase the whitening gel from your dentist as needed.

If you’re lucky enough, some dentists offer free bleaching trays and gel on a regular basis at your first visit as in incentive to continue with routine cleanings and check-ups.

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

Why do my gums look gray around my implants?

I recently had a couple of implants placed, but I think there is a problem and it is very noticeable – the gums around the implants look gray! My dentist didn’t mention anything about this, and now I am worried that I paid a bunch of money and something is wrong with my implants or the materials that were used. Should my gums be turning gray? — Sheila in New Orleans

Sheila,
The grayish or dark color is likely the collar of the implant showing through your gum tissue. This is not uncommon and it can be a result of your gum tissue being too thin, as well as the implant not being placed at the right depth. It is the titanium from the implant visible at the gum line, which can eventually lead to gum recession.

You could have a soft tissue graft done to thicken the surrounding gum tissue or if you haven’t had your permanent crown placed yet, your surgeon could switch out the titanium for Zirconia (a tooth colored material that would eliminate the gray color). Regardless of what you decide, you definitely need to have your dentist take a look at it and make sure there is no bone loss.

There’s no doubt that implants are a major investment. All too often, people look for ways to cut costs or make implants more affordable. Many times that means compromising on quality and unfortunately there are dentists who cut corners or costs in the materials. Find an implant dentist who is properly trained and has the credentials and experience needed to give you the best results possible.

A great deal may be good for some things in life, but not when it comes to dental implants. The “deal of a lifetime” is likely too good to be true and could end up costing you even more money and heartache in the end.

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

I’ve had it with dentures that don’t fit!

I’ve had my dentures now for about two years and I am just sick of them! Even when I have them adjusted by my dentist (which is quite frequently) my mouth is still sore and what’s even worse, I can hardly speak or eat. I’m ready to throw them in the garbage and just forget about them because I am pretty sure my dentist is tired of me complaining all the time. He told me that it won’t get any better and I should just get used to it. Do I really have to live with ill-fitting dentures for the rest of my life?  — Randy in Illinois

Randy,
It certainly is no fun to have dentures that interfere with your daily activities and affect your quality of life. There is a procedure that can help and it’s called “all-on-fours.” Your dentist may not have mentioned it to you because it’s a procedure he may not do.

All-on-fours are dental implants that help support your denture. If this is something that interests you, find a dentist who is knowledgeable in implant-supported dentures who can place four individual implants that will evenly distribute the pressure from the denture. All-on-fours are a long-term solution that will provide better security, restore your ability to talk and eat without the fear of your dentures falling out, and even better, they can stop or at least slow the jaw bone shrinkage that happens when you lose all your teeth.

Ask your dentist about all-on-fours. If he is unable to do them, he can refer you to a specialist who can help determine if they are right for you.

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