Before Getting Lumineers, Read This

The Lumineers brand is heavily marketed to both patients and dentists. You see those pictures of the models with their gorgeous smiles and dream about that being you. And it can… but you may need something other than Lumineers to make that dream come true. Here are some things that can make your smile makeover a dream come true instead of a nightmare.

Advertisement with Lumineers including a woman smiling and a single veneer being held by a tool

Lumineers is Just a Brand

Let’s say you keep seeing advertisements for the wonders of plastic plates. You see commercials of families entertaining and everyone having a great time with them. They’re great. If you want to entertain maybe you should get them. But, what if instead, you could get gorgeous, sturdy designer marble plates for around the same price. Suddenly those plastic plates aren’t looking so great.

A brand is just that. A brand. There are many brands of porcelain veneers. Each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Lumineers is Marketed to Inexperienced Cosmetic Dentists

The dentists who offer Lumineers the most often are inexperienced cosmetic dentists. They tell the dentists they’re easy to place because they’re ultra-thin and don’t require tooth preparation. The biggest problem with that is many smiles require at least a minimal tooth prep even with ultra-thin brands. Without that, the results end up looking bulky.

Many patients have come to our practice to fix the cosmetic disaster they received from another dentist, describing the results as “horse teeth”. That’s probably not the smile you’re dreaming of.

Lumineers Biggest Weakness is their Lab

The Lumineers brand is owned by the DenMat Company. They require all dentists who choose to use their brand to also use their lab. This lab doesn’t have a great reputation for producing beautiful work. Many cases end up looking bulky, chalky, and opaque.

The best cosmetic dentists prefer working with the lab of their choice. Having a ceramist you work well with is extraordinarily important in producing beautiful results.

The Most Important Decision for Your Smile Makeover is the Dentist You Choose

You not only need an experienced cosmetic dentist, but you also need an artistic one as well. So, how is a patient to know who can produce gorgeous smiles and who can’t? My recommendation is that you look on the website.

They screen cosmetic dentists who wish to be listed. Each dentist has to prove their knowledge, technical skill, and artistry through extensive scrutiny and examination. Anyone on their list will give you a stunning smile. Just don’t be surprised if they recommend a different brand for you.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Will Mercury-free Fillings Stop My Migraines?

I keep having these unexplained migraines. Sometimes they’re debilitating. My doctor can’t find a cause and just wants to give me pills to take every day. They’re anti-seizure drugs, but they make me move slower. I feel less in-touch. Recently, I read that amalgam fillings cause underlying health problems and doctors have a hard time diagnosing them. Could this be the cause of my migraines? Would replacing them with mercury-free fillings help?


Dear Laura,

Image left of silver amalgam fillings loaded with mercury. Image right: mercury-free composite fillings

Before we go into replacing them it’s important I tell you that the official position of the American Dental Association is that amalgam fillings are completely safe and their studies have shown the amount of mercury released in the fillings is within acceptable limits.

That being said, many have disputed those tests pointing out that they only tested the fillings under static instead of real-world conditions. Other tests, done in more realistic conditions, have shown the opposite.

There are theories that the mercury content is leading to underlying health problems, including high blood pressure and migraines. If you’ve already eliminated other neurological causes with an MRI, then it wouldn’t hurt to replace your amalgam fillings for mercury-free fillings, but it’s not a guaranteed solution.

You should also be aware that not every dentist can do the replacement safely.

To Safely Replace Your Fillings You Need a Mercury-free Dentist

During the removal processes, without taking the right procedure for a sanitary amalgam removal, you have a great chance of swallowing mercury or inhaling mercury vapors. However, using the right precautions protects you from that.

Mercury melts at room temperature. It needs to be kept cool during the process. A wise dentist will keep cold water on it while working. They also need to use a stopper dam and keep you from inhaling the vapors. If your dentist is a mercury-free dentist, they’ll know and be prepared for this.

You’ll find there are many other advantages as well. Also, if you have any visible fillings (which have probably been an embarrassment to you) you’ll not only have a natural looking smile with fillings that match your natural tooth color, you can finally get a bright white smile as well.

Before, if you’d have whitened your teeth, it would have just made the difference more obvious. Now, if you whiten your teeth ahead of time, you’ll be able to get the filling material made to match the color exactly. You’d have to whiten first. Once the fillings are made, the color can’t be adjusted.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Cavities and Metal Allergies

I’d been having some health issues. In exasperation, my medical doctor (who is a saint by the way) decided to do some wide-ranging allergy testing. It turns out I have developed rather challenging metal allergies. I can avoid quite a bit of metal, but I have metal fillings. Do you have a recommendation of what to do? My dentist seems to be blowing it off, but I’m ready to feel normal and hopefully healthy again.


Dear Samantha,

Image left of silver amalgam fillings loaded with mercury. Image right: mercury-free composite fillings

It sounds like you have a great medical doctor and an apathetic dentist. If you have a metal allergy, it is in your best interest to have your fillings removed and replaced with metal-free fillings. Your dentist isn’t going to be the best one to do this. It has to be done very carefully because the main ingredient in your silver fillings is mercury.

You don’t want to just remove them. If you do, there’s a very good chance you’ll swallow some mercury or inhale mercury vapors. I’m pretty sure you do not want a known neurotoxin in your body.

In order to prevent that, you’ll need a dentist who knows how to do what is known as a sanitary amalgam removal. The right dentist will use a stopper dam to prevent you from swallowing, they’ll also give you an apron to protect you from dust (because of your allergies). They’ll also need to run cold water on the fillings so the mercury doesn’t melt and use a fan to protect you from vapors.

It’s very involved and does require some specialized training and equipment. So, who should you get to remove your metal fillings and replace them with metal-free fillings?

Finding the Right Dentist to Remove Your Amalgam Fillings

Your best bet is to get a mercury-free dentist. They only place white, composite fillings which are both mercury and metal-free. They’ll also know the correct procedures in removing your old fillings in order to replace them.

You’ll find the metal-free fillings far superior to their old amalgam predecessors. While they have the obvious benefit of matching your natural tooth color, they have clinical advantages too. They can strengthen your teeth and they prevent your dentist from having to remove healthy tooth structure. Their bonding procedure is more advanced and allows you to keep more of your tooth.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duan Delaune.

My Husband Says My Migraines are From TMJ

I take medicine for migraines every day. My husband, who is not a big believer in medications, thinks I’m probably getting the migraines from TMJ disorder and the medicine is not necessary. How do I know if he’s right?


Dear Adeline,

close up of temporomadibular joint

Migraines can be the result of TMJ disorder, but there are normally other signs which accompany it. Here are some of the more common symptoms.

  • Painful jaw muscles
  • Popping or clicking of jaw joints
  • Worn teeth
  • Ear pain

There are others as well, but these are some generalized indicators. Though a self-diagnosis will do you little good. Your best bet is to see a dentist who treats TMJ. They can give you a thorough exam and narrow down the cause of your particular TMJ.

For instance, worn teeth are usually a sign you grind or clench your teeth. Not only can this lead to TMJ, but it also wears your teeth down to nubs, requiring them to need dental crowns in order to function properly. Yet, a simple night guard worn at night can completely protect your teeth and ease up the pressure to your jaw.

In other cases, it’s a matter of your bite being thrown off by poor alignment. There can be several solutions for this depending on the severity of the problem.

Who Should Treat Your TMJ?

There isn’t a recognized specialty in TMJ, therefore any dentist can technically claim to treat it. However, the way the muscles, joints, and teeth line up is a complicated matter and requires some post-doctoral training in order to be effective. It’s imperative you see a dentist who’s invested time in learning how to properly treat it at a reputable institution.

Here are some well-qualified places a dentist may go to get trained in TMJ Disorder:

  • The Kois Center
  • The Pankey Institute
  • Dawson Academy
  • Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies

Any of these places offers extensive instruction on the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ Disorder. You should be in safe hands with a dentist who’s studied at one of them.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.