One of my Lumineers Keeps Changing Colors

I don’t understand what’s going on with one of my Lumineers. All the rest of them are fine. This one keeps turning bluish. My dentist says it’s fine and I’m imagining it, but I know I’m not. Even my husband agrees. What do I do?

Elaine E. – Denver, CO

Elaine,

Bear in mind that I haven’t examined your Lumineers, but based on what you’ve described, I think it’s possible the Lumineer you’re having trouble with didn’t get completely bonded. They’re very thin, so if the bond is broken, things will get between the Lumineers and the teeth. That will give it the bluish tint you’re describing.

If your dentist isn’t being cooperative, get a second opinion from another dentist. Some dentists give free second opinions. Having another dentist verify your claim will give you grounds to have your dentist re-do that Lumineer.

Give your dentist a chance to make it right. If he doesn’t, then maybe the other dentist will put some pressure on him. Dentists, like most professionals, care about what their peers think.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Duane Delaune.

Is It Possible to Replace My Metal Crowns with Porcelain Veneers?

I see these gorgeous pictures of porcelain veneers, then look in the mirror at my horrible ugly crowns and get discouraged. Is there a way I could replace my crowns with veneers? They’re cloudy looking to me. Now they’ve developed some kind of weird line at the gumline. I don’t want to be ashamed every time I smile.

Sandy M. – Little Rock, AR

Sandy,

I have bad news and good news. I always start with the bad news so we end on a hopeful note. It is impossible to replace crowns with porcelain veneers. When you had your crowns placed, your dentist had to grind down a good deal of your tooth structure to make room for the crowns. Porcelain veneers need to be bonded to intact teeth. With that tooth structure gone, there’s nothing for the veneers to bond to.

However, that doesn’t mean you are stuck with an unattractive smile. A good cosmetic dentist can give you a stunning smile using all-porcelain crowns. Based on what you described, you have metal-based crowns. They’re the ones that develop a gray line at the gumline. It also explains the cloudy look you mentioned. The crown is made more opaque to cover the metal.

All-porcelain crowns solve all of those problems. They can be as translucent as natural teeth. Combine that with the artistry of a great cosmetic dentist and you have a recipe for a smile you’ll be proud to show.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Duane Delaune.

What is Mercury-free Dentistry?

I keep seeing dentists call themselves “mercury free dentists”. What does that mean?

Bethany L. – Ohio

Bethany,

Traditional silver fillings, clinically called amalgam fillings, actually consist mostly of mercury. These were first developed in the 1800s. Though the main ingredient is mercury, they called them silver fillings—which makes for better marketing.

Mercury is a toxic substance.  You have likely heard the warnings about mercury in fish and the recommendation to limit your intake. Many patients are concerned about the mercury in dental fillings and are asking their dentists to provide mercury free fillings.

When a dentist calls himself (or herself) a mercury-free dentist, they mean they offer composite fillings. These are white fillings that have no mercury in them at all.

Not only do many dentists consider this a healthier option, they’re also better for your teeth than their amalgam counterparts–not to mention they look much more natural.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Duane Delaune.

Can I Go to an Office Once for Free Zoom Whitening?

I love my dentist. I’m not wanting to switch offices. However, I’ve wanted Zoom Whitening for a while. It’s out of my price range. While driving back from the grocery store, I noticed an advertisement for a dentist offering free Zoom Whitening to new patients. Is it okay to just go for the one appointment and then switch back to my dentist?

Chloe S. – Atlanta

Chloe,

My first thought is the dentist is probably not offering Zoom Whitening, but professional take-home whitening.  However, I’m not certain. With Zoom, you do one appointment, with a few quick sessions under a light and you’re done. With the take-home trays, you’ll wear the trays a little while each day for a few weeks.

With either procedure, the dentist will require and exam and x-rays.  If you have insurance that covers that, it likely only covers that so many times a year, so call the office and find out exactly what they will require for you to get the whitening special. Then check with your insurance to see what will be covered and what won’t. Otherwise, the free teeth whitening could cost you several hundred dollars.

As for the ethics of going to the dentist for one appointment only, that’s something you’ll have to decide in your conscience. It’s obviously not why the dentist is offering the special. He may be a new dentist just starting up his practice and trying to draw in patients.

Your best bet may be to speak with your current dentist and see if he’ll let you do a Zoom procedure with payment plans. I’m sure he’d be willing to work with you.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Duane Delaune.