Tag Archives: orthodontics

The Best Way to Fix My Nephews Smile?

I am gifting my nephew some braces for his graduation. However, his dentist told him that would take three years and if he just got Lumineers he could have a a smile makeover in two appointments. However, for eighteen teeth, it will cost about $18,000. He told him it would last for 20 years. I’m worried my nephew is being used for his dentist’s profit. What should I tell him?


Dear Meghan,

I share your concern. Even if he did get Lumineers, and we’ll talk about why that makes me leery in a moment, his dentist is talking about doing both arches. Generally, that is overkill. The general procedure is teeth whitening and then to put Lumineers on the upper eight to ten teeth. The remainder of your teeth aren’t as visible, even when you smile so teeth whitening blends them to the designed teeth.

My other concern is the Lumineers. This is a brand of porcelain veneers that are typically marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. That does not mean they are easy to make attractive. I would want to see what type of results he gets on cases he’s actually done. There are many brands of porcelain veneers experienced cosmetic dentists prefer.

The twenty years longevity on them completely depends on how well they are cared for and whether adequate upkeep is done. If it isn’t, they can lose their attractiveness in as few as 5-7 years.

My suggestion, especially as you had only planned on doing orthodontics is for you to look at Invisalign. They can straighten his teeth in 6 to 12 months and he can whiten his teeth at the same time as Invisalign is being done.

If you decide to go with porcelain veneers, please check that the dentist knows how to do them beautifully.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Baby Teeth Didn’t Come Out

Can you help me? I am 16 years old and most of my adult teeth have come in behind my baby teeth. This makes me look hideous. Is there any way to fix this? I’m tired of everyone’s comments and want to be able to smile without feeling like a freak.


Dear Tara,

teenager smiling with braces

I am sorry this happened to you. I’m a little frustrated on your behalf that your pediatric dentist never took care of this. Maybe you haven’t gotten to go to a dentist? That’s the only legitimate reason I can think of for this type of neglect on the part of a dentist. The good news is that this can be fixed.

First, if you have all your permanent teeth, the baby teeth will need to be removed. Don’t try to do this yourself. It needs to be done by a dentist. Then, the adult teeth can be moved into their proper place with orthodontics.

Whenever an adult tooth is erupting and the baby tooth is still in place, it is always best to remove the baby tooth as quickly as possible. This way you can minimize any misalignment. It doesn’t guarantee the teeth will come in properly aligned but does greatly increase the chances.

Sometimes a baby tooth doesn’t come out because of congenitally missing teeth, which simply means the adult teeth didn’t form and all you have is the baby tooth. In that case, you try to keep the baby tooth as healthy as possible and then, when all your teeth have erupted, you can have the baby tooth removed, open up the space for a replacement tooth and you are ready for a prosthetic tooth.

I hope this helps. You can get the smile you want.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck, an affordable Scottsdale Dentist.

Does My Son Really Need a Pulpotomy?

My pediatric dentist wants to schedule my son, who is only 6 years old, for a pulpotomy procedure. Is this really necessary for a baby tooth that is going to fall out anyway?


Dear Susanna,

I am glad you wrote. I never want parents to allow their child to have a procedure they don’t understand. For those who may not know, a pulpotomy is a child’s version of a root canal treatment. It is only useful if the tooth is a molar.

While most baby teeth can come out early with no serious repercussions, back molars need to stay in place until your son is around 12 years old. Otherwise, the adjacent teeth will begin to shift or tip into the empty place. Then, when his adult molars erupt, you are looking at a lot of crowding and expensive orthodontics. Every parent wants to avoid braces if at all possible.

So, if it is a back tooth, you will either want to get the pulpotomy or extract the tooth and then have a space maintainer placed to keep the area open for the adult teeth.

If it is not a back tooth, then you will not need the pulpotomy. However, it is also important that you deal with the tooth. I am assuming that he suggested this treatment because the tooth has an infection. These are considered dental emergencies so you will not want to leave it.

Infections spread. If you think about how close your child’s jaw is to his heart, lungs, and brains, you can see how these things can turn life-threatening quickly.

If your pediatric dentist was not willing to explain why he or she thought you needed one, I feel strongly you would be better served with a different dentist for your precious son. Parents are the ones responsibile for their children and they deserve to have all the information in order to make the best possible decisions for their children.

If you can’t find a great pediatric dentist in your area, there are plenty of general dentists who love to treat entire families, including their children. Each of them has done a pediatric rotation and will be qualified to provide their dental care.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Will an Affordable Dentist Help a Minor?

I have a problem. I’m a teenager (13) and still suck my thumb. I’m really embarrassed about it. I don’t want my parents to know but it is making my teeth stick out. The kids at school make fun of me about my teeth. Is there a dentist that won’t charge me too much and would let me come without my parents knowing? I need to find out what to do about my thumb sucking and my teeth. I can pay some. I’ve got a little business I do knitting scarves for people.


Dear Olivia,

Child with Pediatric Dentist

I’m so sorry the kids at school are giving you a hard time. I’m even more sorry you feel like you have to deal with this on your own. I wish you felt like you could talk to your parents. I don’t know your situation. Hopefully, there is some trusted adult in your life you feel safe with.

If you don’t feel safe, please tell a teacher or police officer. I also want to commend you on having a business at your age. You sound like a gal who’s going to change the world and I’m very proud of you.

Finding a dentist who’ll work with you financially isn’t a problem. Most would be happy to work with you. The biggest issue is the fact that you’re a minor. Legally, dentists cannot treat you without your parents there. They could lose their license. But, don’t get discouraged yet. I may have a way to help.

Affordable Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking

About any general pharmacy will have a type of clear nail polish designed to help people stop sucking your thumb. It’s not very expensive. You essentially just paint it on your thumb and the taste is so foul that it prevents you from sucking y our thumb.

This will deal with your thumb sucking problem but not your teeth. I’m guessing your parents don’t take you to the dentist regularly. I’d tell them your teeth are bothering you. When your teeth are out of alignment it can lead to migraines and even TMJ problems.

You may do some up front research ahead of time to look for affordable dentists in your area. At your age, you could go to either a pediatric dentist or a general dentist. Many work with Care Credit which is a medical card that can allow you to may payment plans for low and even no-interest.

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