Tag Archives: porcelain veneers

whitening teeth with white spots

I have one tooth which has had two white spots on it my entire life, or at least for as long as I can remember. I like the white parts and want to get all my teeth to look that way. My dentist is suggesting I get Zoom Whitening but my sister says that won’t work that the spots will still be whiter than the rest. Who’s right?

Brianne

Dear Brianne,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light
Zoom Whitening Light

Your sister is correct. It worries me that you’re getting better advice from your sister than you are your dentist. He is supposed to be the professional.

Teeth whitening whitens teeth uniformly. This means that all the natural tooth structure will whiten, including the white spots. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution.

You can go ahead with the Zoom Whitening. This will get your teeth as white as possible in just one appointment. You’ll still have those two spots, but they can be fixed with either dental bonding or a porcelain veneer. Dental bonding costs less, but will have to be replaced a little more often.

Either procedure will require an expert cosmetic dentist. In your place, I’d look on the mynewsmile.com website. They pre-screen cosmetic dentists who want to be listed on their site for both their technical skill and artistry. Anyone on the list will do a beautiful job for you.

White Spots on Teeth

Sometimes there are white spots on teeth which are just the pigment. This seems to be your case because you’ve had it for as long as you can remember.

Other times, however, white spots are more serious. Usually, these are signs of decalcification and an early sign of decay. We see them most often with teenagers who’ve recently had their braces removed. These metal wires and brackets are hard to clean around. This is one of the reasons some parents prefer Invisalign for their teenagers.

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

another dental tourism disaster story

Woman covering her mouth
If you want a beautiful smile, don’t leave the country.

It is sad to hear heartbreaking stories from patients who traveled out of the country in order to get what they thought was an affordable smile makeover only to have their teeth and even their bite destroyed with absolutely zero recourse.

One such story was on the My New Smile Blog. A woman had traveled to Costa Rica thinking she’d be saving a large amount of money. Instead, she was left with a disastrous smile makeover and severe damage to her bite which has her in so much pain she can barely eat.

The price tag to fix this will be over $30,000. Money she doesn’t have. When she hired an attorney in Costa Rica and had other Costa Rican dentists to tesitify that her bite was destroyed by this dentist, the only place where she could get legal recourse there told her she was the felon because it is illegal there to complain publicly about a dentist until he’s been convicted.

She ended up having to flee the country without any recourse. While the dentist in questions website looked professional, there were red flags. Unfortunately, only a dentist would have recognized those.

Avoiding Cosmetic Dental Horror Stories

Truthfully, it is safer, as well as more affordable, in the long run to save up your money and go to a reputable cosmetic dentist here in the United States.

That doesn’t mean any U.S. cosmetic dentist will do. You’ll want one with both expertise and artistry who has invested time and training AFTER dental school in doing smile makeovers. Make sure you check out the porcelain veneers they’ve done on their patients as well.

It’s hard for patients to know who is qualified and who isn’t, especially since there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry.

If you want a great smile makeover. Go to the mynewsmile.com website and click on their link for finding a cosmetic dentist. They have prescreened dentists who wish to be listed for both their technical skill and artistry. Any of the recommended dentists on their site can give you a stunning smile makeover.

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

Can I bleach my non-veneered teeth?

I had four porcelain veneers done several years ago. They look fine, but the teeth next to them have stained a bit and it looks weird having white teeth and not white teeth when I smile. I was thinking of getting Crest Whitestrips but don’t want to hurt the veneers. Would it be safe?

Mia

Dear Mia,

custom-fitted teeth whitening trays

Crest Whitestrips are safe for your teeth and they will whiten them some, but very slowly. They only cover a few teeth so to get the teeth you need whitened, you’ll need to cut them and try to fit them on those teeth.

I wouldn’t use other over-the-counter products. They’re not as safe. Some have citric acid and some have things which will etch the teeth to make the look whiter. Unfortunately, they also cause micro scratches on your teeth which will cause them to pick up stains.

Consider Professional Teeth Whitening

If you want to whiten them faster, you may want to consider professional teeth whitening with a dentist. They can get all the teeth you want without any damage to your porcelain veneers.

Another option would be to add porcelain veneers to the teeth which are exposed when you smile. This way you wouldn’t have to constantly worry about the discrepancy in color.

In fact, originally, your cosmetic dentist should have suggested to cover all your teeth visible when you smile. For most smiles, that would mean 6-8 veneers. Some wide smiles require up to ten.

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

dentist said no to porcelain veneers

I had dental bonding done on my front four teeth. The bonding has since worn out. I decided I wanted to upgrade a bit and get porcelain veneers. My dentist said I’m not a candidate for that because of the bonding. Instead, he wants to do crowns. I’m not crazy about that option. Do you have a recommendation?

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

A woman getting a porcelain veneer placed on her teeth

My first recommendation is you see another dentist. Under no circumstances should you let your dentist put dental crowns on your front teeth. This will grind them down to nubs. If this were necessary that would be one thing, but it is completely unnecessary.

You can have porcelain veneers placed after dental bonding. The only reason your dentist is saying you can’t is likely because he doesn’t know how to place them.

In dental school, we’re taught to always be confident with patients. Without that confidence, patients will grow anxious. So, instead of saying, “i’m not comfortable doing porcelain veneers” or “I haven’t done many porcelain veneers”, which could make you (understandably) uncomfortable, he says you’re not a candidate and avoids the issue altogether by suggesting a procedure he does know.

Find a Great Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t taught in dental school. A dentist has to make an effort to invest in cosmetic training after they graduate.

Even if you needed crowns, I would suggest a different dentist. To get a beautiful smile, you need an expert cosmetic dentist. Otherwise, the results would be disappointing.

In your case, I’d go to the mynewsmile.com website. They have a “Find a Cosmetic Dentist” link. You’ll input your zipcode and how far you are willing to travel to see a cosmetic dentist.

The key to this site is they have pre-screened each dentist who wants to be listed. They can’t just pay to get on the site. Instead, they have to show their technical knowledge and skill, as well as demonstrate their artistry in their work.

Anyone they recommend can give you a beautiful smile.

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

Are Lumineers the best?

I am planning on a smile makeover. I want to get the best one possible. I keep hearing good things about Lumineers. Are they as good as their advertisements say?

Georgiana

Dear Georgiana,

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

You are right that Lumineers are heavily advertised. They happen to be one of only brands known by name because of that. While they are okay, you can do better. Plus, there is a much more important consideration than the brand.

More Important than the Brand

While some brands are better than others, you can use the absolute best brand and the results would totally depend on the skill of the cosmetic dentist using that brand.

The skill of the dentist is the number one determining factor in whether or not your smile makeover ends up stunning or sad.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

You want a dentist who has invested a lot of post-doctoral time in cosmetic training. Smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. Instead, a dentist has to intentionally take the time to study its theory and practice.

Just like not all painters have the same skill level, neither do cosmetic dentists. One dentist will have a more artistic eye than another. So, how do you know if you’re getting a Michelangelo or a Mickey Mouse?

One way is to look at their smile galleries. This should be a brag book of sorts showcasing their best work. You’ll want to make sure it is their actual work and not just stock photos they are posting.

However, you’ll likely be safer looking on the mynewsmile.com website. This site examines both the technical skill and artistry of dentists who wish to be listed. They can’t pay to get on. They have to have the requisite skill.

Don’t Be Surprised if they Don’t Suggest Lumineers

An expert cosmetic dentist will know the strengths and weaknesses of each brand of porcelain veneers. Unfortunately, Lumineers has more weaknesses than strengths. Their biggest weakness is the company which owns the brand insists dentists have to use their lab. It’s not known for beautiful work.

Find the right dentist and trust them to pick the right brand of porcelain veneers for your smile makeover goals.

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

Lumineers versus DURAthin

I’m planning on a smile makeover. I’ve been looking at images of both Lumineers and DURAthin. I like the DURAthin a lot better based on what I’ve seen, but wondered about cost. Are the DURAthin much more expensive?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

A woman getting a porcelain veneer placed on her teeth

I’m concerned you are going about this the wrong way. It really isn’t the brand of porcelain veneers you get. It is the dentist. Let’s say two sculptors purchase the exact same type of marble to sculpt the same subject. It’s very likely one of them will have much more lifelike and beautiful work than the other. The skill of the artist truly matters.

The same is true for cosmetic dentistry. Whether you get Lumineers, DURAthin, or another brand won’t matter as much. I will say that most expert cosmetic dentists do not like the Lumineers brand. This is because they force dentists to use their lab which isn’t known for beautiful results.

What I’d like you to do instead of shopping brands is to shop dentists, but not by price. Instead, shop them by skill and artistry. Then, let them pick the best brand of porcelain veneers for the smile you want. They know the characteristics of each brand.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school If a general dentist is interested in doing cosmetic dentistry, they have to take the initiative to learn it. That means going to post-doctoral institutions to learn about things such as color theory, bonding techniques, the aesthetics of porcelain veneers, etc.

So how is a patient to know if a dentist has done that? One way is to just ask them where they received their cosmetic training. You’d also want to look at their smile gallery to see what type of results they’ve gotten on the cases they completed. Be certain to ask whether or not the smile gallery represents their work and isn’t just stock photos. You want to see what they produce. You’ll also want to be certain they’re willing to stand behind their work with a beautiful smile guarantee.

However, you should be aware there is a website which has already done this research on cosmetic dentists. You could just go to mynewsmile.com and click on their “Find a cosmetic dentist” link. They’ve screened every dentist on there for both their technical training as well as their artistry. You’ll be in good hands with any dentist they recommend. All you have to do is input your zip code along with how far you’re willing to travel and they pull up a list of highly qualified dentists who can give you the smile of your dreams.

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

Regular Versus Zoom Whitening

I want to get my teeth whitened. I was going to my dentist to get those trays but everyone is saying Zoom is better. Should I do that instead? I’m so confused. I tend to be a people pleaser so I feel bad when someone tells me to do something and I pick something else.

Patsy

Dear Patsy,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light

Don’t feel bad about going a different direction if that is what’s better for you. I wouldn’t say that Zoom Whitening is better; just that it is faster. With Zoom, your teeth are whitened quickly in just one appointment.

It uses a special light (pictured above) which activates the whitening gel allowing the process to move faster. Your teeth will get as white as possible in that one appointment.

With at-home whitening, your dentist will use the trays to custom fit them to your teeth, then provide you with professional strength whitening gel. It will get your teeth just as white, it just takes longer and works more gradually.

This is ideal for people who want to control the level of whitening. Or people who don’t want to suddenly show up with super white teeth. Instead, it will happen gradually and won’t be a sudden change which makes it obvious you’ve had your teeth whitened.

So, one is not better than the other, just different ways of accomplishing the same goal— getting your teeth as white as you want them.

When You Want to Change More than Their Color

Some people are thrilled with just getting their teeth whitened. They already have fantastic teeth which just picked up stains as they got older.

Others, however, have several things they wish they could change about their teeth. If that happens to be you, porcelain veneers may be a better option for you. They give you a total smile makeover. The veneers can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth all in one go.

They are more pricey than teeth whitening, so only do it if you want to completely remake your smile.

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

Do I Need to Replace Every Crown for them to Match?

I’m kind of hoping you give me the answer I want, but am willing to follow your advice regardless. I had crowns on eight teeth on my top arch for a smile makeover. One of them became loose. I went back to my dentist. He said there is decay on the edge and the crown needs to be replaced. However, he wants me to replace all of them so they’ll match. I want my teeth to match but don’t have a ton of money. Is that really necessary?

Candace

Dear Candace,

A porcelain crown being placed over the prepared tooth

I think the biggest problem here is your dentist isn’t a cosmetic dentist. Was there a particular reason he gave you a makeover with dental crowns instead of with porcelain veneers? Veneers are the standard treatment for a smile makeover because it doesn’t require your teeth to be ground down the way crowns do.

While there’s nothing you can do about that now, and those teeth will always require crowns now that the tooth structure is gone, you don’t have to replace all of them in order to get them to match. Though, to get a good result you will have to use a different dentist for this procedure.

Your Crown Replacement Options

You basically have two choices here: replace them all at once or replace them one at a time. The benefit to doing them all at once isn’t for them to match. A great cosmetic dentist can match a single tooth. It’s more to save you time. You’d replace them all and be done.

If you do them one at a time, it means a new trip to the dentist every time one goes bad. That could get annoying. The benefit to that is you’re only having to fork out money a little at a time instead of all at once.

Either decision will still require you to find a skilled cosmetic dentist if you want an attractive result.

Finding a Cosmetic Dentist

I’m going to suggest you go to mynewsmile.com. They have a “find a cosmetic dentist” link. You simply input your zip code and the distance you’re willing to travel. They’ll provide a list of qualified cosmetic dentists for you. The best part about this is they’ve carefully screened every single one of them for both technical knowledge as well as artistic ability in their work. No matter which dentist on their list you choose, they can give you a gorgeous smile.

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

Dentist Stained My Lumineers

I am so angry, but don’t know if I can do anything about it. Before getting my “smile makeover” my dentist and I discussed what I wanted it to look like. One thing I specifically said was how white I wanted them. Despite my instructions, he put a stain on my Lumineers. When I asked him about it he said, “I want smiles I do to look natural.” When I let him know I wasn’t thrilled, he said, “Well it’s certainly prettier than your natural smile.” I’m furious. Can anything be done?

Stephanie

Dear Stephanie,

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

I understand your anger and have heard these type of stories so often it makes me sad. It’s so hard to get patients the information they truly need before getting their smile makeovers done. Here’s the thing, the only thing which guarantees a great result in your smile makeover is the dentist you choose. Too many patients think their family dentist is qualified.

I don’t blame the patients. They’re supposed to trust their medical and dental providers. However, doing proper smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. In order to be a great cosmetic dentist, your dentist would have had to invest in post-doctoral training at a reputable institute which trains in cosmetic dentistry.

It’s not a recognized specialty so it’s completely up to the dentist how much time and money they invest in this type of training. At the same time, there are companies (like the Lumineers company) which heavily markets their products to dentists as being “easy” to place because they’re not required to do tooth prep. While they may be easy to place, that doesn’t make them any easier to get a beautiful result.

Evidence Your Dentist Isn’t a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist

In dental school, dentists are taught that they know better than the patient and should tell them what to do. However, cosmetic dentistry is different. Notice your dentist said, “I want smiles I do to look natural.” What he’s not realizing is cosmetic dentistry is about what you want, not what he wants.

Additionally, he thinks a stain is what makes a smile look natural. But, patients who come for cosmetic work aren’t looking for a “natural” smile. They’re looking for a gorgeous smile.

Finally, he didn’t do a try in. Based on what you described, he didn’t let you see them before he permanently bonded on your porcelain veneers. Any cosmetic dentist worth his salt will use a temporary try-in paste to make sure the patient is satisfied before bonding them.

What to Do About Your Lumineers

You have a reason to get a refund. You gave your dentist specific instructions about the color. He ignored them. That means he didn’t have your permission to place those porcelain veneers. Tell him, either you get a refund or you’ll go to the dental board about him not following your instructions and then bonding them on without giving you an option.

Then, once you get your money back, go see an expert cosmetic dentist to have them redone. My suggestion to find the right dentist is to go to the mynewsmile.com website and use their “Find a Cosmetic Dentist” link. They only recommend expert cosmetic dentists who can create gorgeous smiles and know how to follow a patient’s instructions. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

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

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 mynewsmile.com 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.