My Dentist Is Trying to Force Lumineers on Me

I am feeling really pressured by my dentist. I told him I wanted to deal with my tooth gap, but don’t want braces. I’m too old for a mouth full of metal. He keeps insisting I get Lumineers. Six of them! That’s incredibly expensive. The tooth gap is only between my two front teeth. Is that really my only solution?

Lisa W. – Indiana


Wow! Dr. Peck does Lumineers, but just for smile makeovers. There are much less invasive and less costly solutions for something as simple as a tooth gap. First, though, let’s address braces. I certainly understand you not wanting a mouth full of metal, especially as an adult. I don’t know if you’re aware, but dental technology has improved significantly. We now have much better options available for orthodontics. Invisalign, for instance, can straighten your teeth with aligners people can’t see, even at a conversational distance. They can also do it in half the time of traditional braces.

But, if you’ve got your heart set against any form of orthodontics you still have another option. In fact, the typical solution for a tooth gap is to use dental bonding. Bonding uses the composite resin, like what you’d get in a white filling. This will not close the gap, like orthodontics, but it will fill it in so it looks closed. You’ll need to be certain to go to a cosmetic dentist, so you’re sure they know how to match the material to your tooth. You want it to be seamless.

While Lumineers are a massive overtreatment for what you’re trying to do, there is an exception. If there are other things about your smile you want to change, Lumineers can do anything you want. They can make your teeth longer or wider. They can change the color of your teeth. They can even change the shape. It truly can re-make the entire character of your smile.

If you get either of the last two options, their color is permanent, so if you’re not happy with the current brightness and color of your smile, now is the time to change that. Get your teeth whitened, then your dentist can match your bonding or Lumineers to the new spectacular color of your teeth.

Never let a dentist pressure you into a procedure, especially a cosmetic procedure. Lumineers are pricey. They can be worth it for what they’re designed to do, but using them for a simple tooth gap is an overtreatment. It sounds to me like your dentist is just try to make a quick buck at your expense.

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Am I Being Ripped Off By My Affordable Dentist?

I intentionally chose an affordable dentist out of a directory because I do not have dental insurance. I’m a little behind on my regular checkups, so I expected to run into some snags, but I was totally unprepared for the total bill. First off, they charged me for a more expensive “deep” cleaning and for some kind or rinse or medication that was applied during it. On top of this, they hit me for two different kinds of x-rays, and then they recommended I get a fluoride treatment and come back in a few weeks for a follow-up visit with the hygienist, which also has a charge. I’m already out a few hundred bucks, and this doesn’t even include the fillings I need to have done. Does this sound right coming from an “affordable dentist?”


Dear Celia,

Affordable dentist can mean a different thing from one dentist to another. There isn’t an objective, standard fee for anything where someone who’s below that is considered more affordable. He could just mean he finds the most affordable solutions to your case. Or maybe he’s slightly lower than other dentists in the area.

However, you’re more concerned with the specific procedures. Most of these are fairly common if it’s been a while since you’ve gone to the dentist. The two types of x-rays are standard care. One is a panoramic, only done every few years. The other, the bitewings, are annual. These help the dentist detect decay between your teeth.

If it’s been a while since your last cleaning, a deep cleaning may have been necessary. If your gums were inflamed and you had a lot of build-up, the hygienist probably did what’s known as a full mouth debridement. IF a patient has gum disease, they also often do scaling and root planing. In either case, a follow-up appointment is fairly typical. The reason for that is to be certain your situation is improving. They’re trying to forestall anything serious happening and keep you out of an emergency dentistry situation.

The cleaning solution and the fluoride aren’t always necessary. But, with gum disease, killing all the bacteria with a medicated rinse is helpful. Some offices charge for this service and some do not. The fluoride was likely recommended to help prevent decay, though it’s sometimes offered to adults with sensitive teeth, too.

Many offices that advertise as affordable will almost always have some form of payment plan available. I’d talk to the office and see what they had to offer. Ask them also to give some details on your prognosis and what to expect for future care.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

My Face is Swelling Near My Dental Implant

My dental implant has been feeling odd lately. It started hurting and now the surrounding gum feels bouncy. Now my jaw is hurting and it’s painful to eat. The dentist who did my implant is out of town. Do you have a recommendation on how I can take care of this?

Lucy D. – Montana


I’m a bit concerned about the situation you’re in. You’ve got an infection at your dental implant site. If this isn’t dealt with immediately two very bad things can happen.

1. You could die. I know it sounds ridiculous in the twenty-first century, but it still happens that people die from tooth infections. In fact, just this past February a 40-year-old man in California died when his tooth infection spread to his lungs. An equally great risk is your heart or brain, because of their proximity to your teeth.

Don’t think this can be treated just by taking antibiotics. Many people make that mistake and end up in quite the dental emergency pickle. Antibiotics will forestall the infection, but the only way to truly get rid of it is for the dentist to get in there and remove the infected portion.

2. Your implant can fail. If the infection really gets hold, you could lose the implant. If that happens, you can’t just get a new implant. You’ll need to have bone grafting done, then start all over with surgery and healing time, then finally get your implant crown again.

This needs to be dealt with right away. I do realize your dentist is out of town, but I”m sure he has some procedures in place for dental emergencies. If not, then you can just do a Google search for an emergency dentist.

If you get the care you need soon, you’ll have a much better chance of saving your implant.

Now that I”ve likely completely depressed you (sorry about that), let me cheer you up. Once your implant site is healthy, you’re going to love having it as a tooth replacement. Nothing comes closer to having a healthy, natural tooth back. I’m sure your dentist has told you this as well, but you’ll be able to eat, brush, and floss normally. No restrictions.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.