Tired of my Lumineers falling off!

I was so excited to have Lumineers placed on several of my teeth a few months back, but now they keep falling off. I’ve had to go back to my dentist to have same tooth re-bonded three times and this time I accidentally swallowed the veneer. When I asked my dentist what I should do, he suggested traditional porcelain veneers – to the tune of $1200 per tooth! It took me a long time just to save up for the Lumineers, and now he wants me to hand over even more money? What can I do? — Bradee in Tennessee

Bradee,
It sounds like your Lumineers aren’t giving you much to smile about these days… and it probably doesn’t make you feel any better to know that there are many people who have had similar experiences. Today, Lumineers are one of the most marketed brands of ultra-thin porcelain veneers. Because they are promoted it as being “no-prep” and easy to place, many dentists believe they can deliver an aesthetically pleasing product with a good outcome. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case because much like traditional porcelain veneers, Lumineers require a true cosmetic dentist who not only has an artistic eye, but uses high quality materials. Seeking an opinion of another true cosmetic dentist would be a good idea in your case. If, after that, you decide to stick with your current dentist and do the porcelain veneers, see if he will credit what you paid for the Lumineers toward the new procedure. If he wants you to truly be happy, he will do all he can to help make your situation right.

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

Do I Need Full-Mouth Reconstruction to Fix My TMJ Disorder?

I was visiting my hygienist and we were chatting as usual. I happened to mention that I had been suffering from a lot of headaches over the past few months. I wasn’t looking for help with them, just talking.

Well, she goes and tells the dentist what I said and, next thing I know, he’s messing with my jaw. He said he feels certain that I have a TMJ disorder and that I need full-mouth reconstruction to fix it. I was beside myself. I’ve never even heard of something like that. Then, to make matters worse, the assistant brings me in an estimate and says my insurance probably won’t cover this so-called necessary treatment and that to cure my headaches, I’ll have to pony up more than I make in a year. It sounds like snake-oil to me. Is there any truth at all to this or is he just trying to make a quick buck? —  Monica in Alabama

Monica,
In all fairness, your hygienist has a responsibility to let the doctor know any medially-relevant information that you tell her, even if it’s only in conversation. In this respect, she was no-doubt looking out for your best interests. Moreover, headaches are indeed a symptom of TMJ disorders, so they were spot-on with that as well.

It doesn’t sound like they took the time to explain why you received the diagnosis, though. A TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joint isn’t working properly. That’s your jawbone. Most commonly, people begin to experience pain in the jawbone as a result of grinding or clenching. Sometimes they do it while they sleep, so they’re not even aware of their habit. Other times, people clench while agitated and don’t realize it. Malalignment can also cause issues, too. Any of these things can affect the wear on your teeth and cause pain throughout your mouth, jaw, head and neck. If left untreated, a lot of damage can be caused, and it becomes more difficult to manage.

Typically, a full-mouth reconstruction is needed when the problem has been on-going. Doctors usually try to treat TMJ disorders conservatively at first, perhaps with a bite splint to wear overnight. However, we also don’t know the root cause of your issue, nor do we know the extent of the damage, so it’s impossible to say whether full-mouth reconstruction is warranted.

Technically, there are no TMJ specialists. Nevertheless, you can find a dentist in your area who has spent extra time studying conditions related to it. If your treatment plan and estimate sound excessive, there’s a very good chance you’re right. Find another doctor who has the additional training and experience needed to provide you with a solid second opinion.

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

 

I’m ready to say goodbye to my gap… what are my options?

I’ve had a gap between my front teeth for as long as I can remember. I’ll be turning 40 soon and I’d like to start this next phase of my life by getting it fixed. My dentist recommended braces, but I’d like to explore other options that might not take as long to see a result. His other option was porcelain veneers, which seemed ok at first, but now that I have learned more about the procedure, I am not sure about having my teeth shaved down. So now I am back to braces unless there is another alternative. Can you help?  — Felicia in Arkansas

Felicia,
Kudos to you for reaching such a milestone and wanting to look and feel fabulous. The good news is that you have a couple other choices in addition to the two your dentist mentioned that will get you the result you desire:

  • Bonding – If you’re simply looking to fill in a small gap (and your dentist is skilled in bonding) he can add a tooth-colored material to either side to fill it in. Bonding is less invasive and requires less tooth preparation than veneers.
  • Six Month Smiles – This procedure utilizes clear braces to correct aesthetic issues, often producing results in as little as four months. It’s a great choice if you only need to correct the appearance of your teeth and don’t need any adjustments to your bite. While they are a great alternative to traditional braces, many dentists are not experienced with Six Month Smiles. You may have to search for an experienced dentist and they will have to evaluate whether or not you are even a candidate.

Definitely do your research and don’t be afraid to seek out a second opinion when considering all your options. Regardless of what method you choose, you’ll get beautiful results. However, Six Month Smiles will be the least-invasive – and quickest way to help you achieve that “fabulous at 40” smile!

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

Will free teeth whitening offer give me something to smile about?

A local dentist is advertising free whitening if I become a patient at his office. Is this a common incentive dentists offer new patients? I wonder about how legitimate this offer is and if I’ll get there and it will be some cheap whitening toothpaste or another product that won’t give me the results I want. Is it worth checking out? — Marsha in Oakland

Marsha,
You’ll see lots of dentist these days who offer incentives for new patients – and teeth whitening is a common one. If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of the offer, the best thing you can do is call the office and ask a few questions before scheduling an appointment. Ask how much you would typically pay for the treatment they are offering and what products you will receive. While there are various treatments that can whiten your smile, the free treatment they are offering is likely an out-patient product rather than a whitening system done in the office that achieves results in a very short period of time. The dentist will make custom trays for your teeth and send you home with whitening gel that will gradually lighten your teeth over a period of days. It will be your responsibility to determine when you’ve reached your desired shade.

Keep in mind that there may be some rules or stipulations that apply, and you’ll want to ask about those ahead of time. It’s possible that you could find out you’re not a candidate for teeth whitening – particularly if you had dental work on your front teeth or you have periodontal disease that needs to be addressed first. There might also be a limit to how much gel they give you or how often you can get refills.

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.