teeth darkening under porcelain veneers

I’m really worried something is seriously wrong with my teeth. I had porcelain veneers placed about six years ago. I moved shortly after that. Two of the veneers fell off. A dentist placed them back for a small fee, that after a receiving a letter on an attorney’s letterhead my original dentist finally reimbursed me for. Now it looks like the teeth under the veneers are darker. So much so that the porcelain veneers are no longer white. Even my friends with natural teeth have a whiter color now. What do I do?

Mark

Dear Mark,

A woman getting a porcelain veneer placed on her teeth

I’m afraid neither of your dentists have done you a great service. I’m sure it is obvious to you the first dentist wasn’t a skilled cosmetic dentist by the fact they would just fall off.

The problem you are facing is they weren’t bonded on correctly to begin with and things are getting underneath them, including bacteria. This can lead to serous decay.

It sounds like the second dentist didn’t have enough expertise to recognize the problem or to rebond them on. Truthfully, very few dentists know how to properly re-bond.

Re-Bonding Porcelain Veneers

One of the problems you will run into is very few dentists have the skill and equipment to do this properly. Using sand-blasting equipment, the old bonding material would first need to be completely cleaned off. After that, they’d have to etch the inside surface of the porcelain with hydrofluoric acid. The final step is to prime the porcelain veneer. Only then could it be bonded on again.

Now, if your porcelain veneers can be removed without them breaking, you can likely find an expert cosmetic dentist to do this properly.

Unfortunately, I’m worried the second dentist bonded them on strongly, without fixing the problem. This may mean they’ll break when the dentist tries to get them off.

If that happens, you will have to have them completely re-done. You may be able to get a refund as your porcelain veneers weren’t placed on properly and have put your teeth in danger.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

To find a cosmetic dentist skilled enough to do either of these correctly, I recommend you go to the mynewsmile.com website. They have a link to help readers find a cosmetic dentist.

The biggest benefit to this website’s list is they prescreen every cosmetic dentist who wishes to be listed. They have to prove both their technical knowledge as well as their artistry to ensure that anyone they recommend has the expertise and artistic eye to give patients a stunning smile.

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

Is My Dentist Too Old School?

I’ve been going to my dentist for over 15 years. I really like him, but I’m wondering if he’s losing his touch. I don’t think he always keeps up with his field anymore. I asked him to remove one of my dental fillings because of the amalgam content and he said it’s not safe to do that and I should just leave it in. Can you please explain to me if it is not safe to remove because I’ll ingest some mercury, why it is supposedly safe to have it in my mouth at all?

Carrie

Dear Carrie,

Image left of silver amalgam fillings loaded with mercury. Image right: mercury-free composite fillings
Mercury-Free Dentists Know How to Do Sanitary Amalgam Removals

You asked a great question. Why should a patient feel safe having mercury in their filling if it is considered unsafe to remove it? Your dentist should be asking the same question. The truth is, you can have this filling removed safely if that is what you want. However, you’ll have to go to a different dentist to have it done.

You’ll want a dentist who knows how to do a sanitary amalgam removal. You could do an internet search for a “mercury-free dentist” online. They’ll know the proper method for preventing you from inhaling any mercury vapors or swallowing any bits. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding one unless you live in a very isolated area.

That leads me to the other issue you brought up. Your dentist not keeping up with the advancements in his field. This is actually a big issue. While most states have a minimum amount of continuing education dentists must take every year, some dentists do just that—the bare minimum.

You want a dentist who is passionate about his work. Science changes all the time. That’s because we learn more as we go along. I once looked at an old magazine which had an advertisement promoting the superiority of lead paint. Now we know it is toxic. This is why you want a medical professional to keep up. It’s a lot of work doing that, which is why a passion for your field makes it easier to keep up. It’s likely time for you to find a dentist who still has that passion.

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

why didn’t zoom whitening help?

My daughter had braces. When they were removed, there was an uneven color on her teeth. Some of the teeth had white spots. We talked to our dentist about it and he suggested we use Zoom Whitening. We did. Although her teeth are whiter they are still quite uneven. What went wrong?

Natasha

Dear Natasha,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light
Whitening your teeth in one appointment is easy with Zoom

The biggest thing which went wrong is your dentist doesn’t know anything about cosmetic dentistry. while Zoom Whitening is an extraordinarily effective treatment for whitening stained teeth, it is not the correct treatment for uneven teeth.

When it comes to white spots, any type of teeth whitening procedure will actually make the situation worse.

Dealing with White Spots After Braces

When a patient has white spots after braces, it is usually caused by decalcification. Cleaning your teeth with braces on is very challenging. It takes a lot of effort to get in all the nooks and crannies. That’s one reason many dentists are recommending Invisalign for orthodontics whenever possible. It makes it much easier to clean your teeth.

Tooth Mousse is a product designed for this type of situation. It helps to remineralize the decalcified spots.

Another option is to have dental bonding placed in order to cover the uneven spots on your teeth. Don’t go to your family dentist for this. It requires a great cosmetic dentist to do this well.

How to Find a Great Cosmetic Dentist

I’m going to suggest you go to the mynewsmile.com website. They pre-screen cosmetic dentists for both technical skill and artistry. Anyone listed on their site will give your daughter a beautiful smile.

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

lumineers for white spots

I just finished my braces and my teeth have white spots on them. It’s pretty embarrassing and my friends have pointed it out to me, so I know it is noticeable. Getting braces was pretty expensive. I want to cover the white spots, but I don’t want to ask my mom about it if it is going to be way too expensive for her. She’s a single mom and works super hard but we don’t have a lot of money.

Becky

Dear Becky,

Advertisement with Lumineers including a woman smiling and a single veneer being held by a tool
Lumineers are just one brand of porcelain veneers

First, I just want to tell you how proud I am of how you are handling this. You aren’t running to your mom demanding anything. Instead, you are doing research to see if this is even a possibility.

You should know up front, that Lumineers are just one brand of porcelain veneers. Many of the best cosmetic dentists actually prefer to use a different brand, so don’t be surprised if you go to a dentist and they suggest another type.

As far as the cost, that often depends on the quality, skill, and philisopy of the dentist you’re going to, but I would expect it to cost between $800 to $1,600 per tooth.

This may be out of the budget of your mother if finances are a struggle. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful smile though.

White Spots After Braces

When your braces are removed and there are white spots, it is a sign that food and bacteria became caught around your braces while you were wearing them. The white spots are the pre-cursors to decay, so you’ll want to see your dentist fairly soon to shore up and weak spots before they become full blown cavities.

Repairing the white spots cosmetically can be done with dental bonding. A dentist could hand sculpt the composite bonding onto your teeth and it will cover the white spots perfectly.

In your place, instead of suggesting a procedure to your mother, I would just let her know what’s going on and ask if the two of you can talk to the dentist about affordable solutions.

Best of luck to you!

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