Tag Archives: Smile Makeover

Lumineers for Discolored Fillings?

I had a couple of dental fillings on my upper teeth that just do not match my teeth. I’ve tried bleach, which had no affect of them, Additionally, brushing makes no difference, though I will do it anyway for hygienic reasons. I really like my smile, except for that one issue. My dentist is suggesting Lumineers. While they are expensive, if that is what will make my smile the same color I am willing to pay it.

Cassie


Dear Cassie,

Image of a Lumineers advertisement

I would not allow your dentist to place Lumineers. These should be reserved for a complete smile makeover. Additionally, they are just one brand of porcelain veneers.

While Lumineers can be done well, most cosmetic dentists prefer a different brand of porcelain veneers. This is because the Lumineers lab is not always known for their artistic results.

Also, you mentioned you loved your smile with the exception of the difference in color. Therefore, porcelain veneers, no matter which brand, would be a massive overtreatment.

Plus, your dentist struggled to match the fillings. This tells me he does not have much expertise in cosmetic work. You would likely be disappointed in his results.

The solution for discolored dental fillings is to replace the fillings. The truth is the composite bonding used for fillings can be made to match any color if the dentist knows what they are doing and has the materials.

You will save yourself a lot of money and grief just going to a dentist who can match your dental fillings to your natural teeth.

If you want your teeth any whiter than they currently are, just make sure you whiten your teeth before having the dental fillings replaced. As you learned in your efforts to match the current ones to your teeth, teeth whitening does not have any impact on dental work. It will only whiten natural tooth structure.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.
See why Dr. Peck is considered an affordable dentist.

I Hate My Smile but Have No Money to Fix It

I never got to go to the dentist growing up. My teeth are mostly healthy, though there is one cavity I haven’t taken care of yet. My bigger problem is how my smile looks. These days, everyone is expected to have a celebrity smile and I feel like some kind of imp that needs to hide in a cave.

I priced porcelain veneers, which is what everyone says is the procedure for smile makeovers. The cost is astronomical. If I owned a house, I’d have to sell it. Is there any affordable way to get a pretty smile?

Amanda

Dear Amanda,

Teeth whitening trays
Teeth Whitening Trays

While porcelain veneers are a fantastic way to improve the appearance of your smile. One of the best and most affordable things you can do to improve your smile is with teeth whitening. It can make you look decades younger (though I do not know your age). It generally only costs a few hundred dollars as opposed to the thousands of dollars needed for porcelain veneers.

It is also one of those procedures that does not require any special post-doctoral training. Pretty much any dentist can do it. That also means you can shop around and find the most affordable dentist in your area to do it. Just be sure to do it right after having a check up and cleaning. Otherwise the results will be splotchy. Most dentists require a cleaning for that reason.

I want to also address the cavity you mentioned. If you are trying to save money, taking care of this cavity right away with a dental filling is the best way to do that. Filling a cavity costs significantly less than letting it grow and need a dental crown. If it gets beyond the need for a crown, then you have to extract the tooth and pay for a tooth replacement. The most affordable dentistry is preventive dentistry.

The last thing you want is for this to turn into a dental emergency.

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

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?

Meghan

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.

Don’t Be Fooled By 360 Veneers

I asked my dentist to provide me with Lumineers for my smile makeover. I’d been saving up for it for quite some time. At the appointment, he told me I would be a better candidate for 360 wrap veneers and not only would I really like the results, but they’d be more secure because they wrap around the whole tooth. My one concern (other than that they look good) is the amount of tooth structure that would have to be removed. It’s one of the reasons I wanted Lumineers. I asked about how much structure they’d need to remove and they said, “Hardly any.” Fast forward and while the smile looks okay, the veneers keep falling off. I was shocked to see my teeth were little nubs underneath them the first time it happened. My problem is it is happening too frequently. I wasn’t aware this would be an issue. While my dentist always puts them back on free of charge, I always get a lecture about what I’m eating. I assure you that I have tried to be very careful with them. Sometimes they just fall off while I’m doing nothing. I’m too nervous to go anywhere. Is there anything that can be done to keep these in? Is there a special extra hardy cement out there?

Evelyn

Dear Evelyn,

I’m going to tell you right up front that your dentist has misled you on two fronts. Not only that, he appears to be incompetent in his job. Before getting into why these are falling off, I want to begin with the lies you were told. To say that he or she is ethically challenged would be a bit generous.

Let’s start with the obvious one. You asked how much tooth structure would need to be removed and they said hardly any. You discovered their lie the first time one fell off. If your teeth are now little nubs, that is not “hardly any.”

This feeds us right into another deception. He told you that you were a better candidate for 360 wrap veneers. I hate telling you this, but that does not exist. ANY brand of porcelain veneers, including the Lumineers you originally asked for, will just cover the front and hug the sides just a bit.

I believe what he gave you are dental crowns. These do wrap completely around the tooth. Above, I have an image of the type of teeth preparation needed for dental crowns versus porcelain veneers. I bet yours look a lot like the crown tooth preparation.

Unfortunately, now that he has removed the tooth structure, there is no getting it back and you will have to have dental crowns for the remainder of your life.

Can This Be Fixed?

The short answer is yes. However, you are not going to be able to do this through your dentist. Besides, how could you trust him? One of the first things dentists learn to do in dental school is a dental crown.

It sounds like your dentist struggles with even basic dentistry. Most dentists will go their entire careers without having a dental crown fall out. Yours cannot seem to keep them in.

My recommendation is you ask him for a complete refund on the procedure. If he complains or argues about that, tell him that you will be suing him for malpractice and taking the issue to the dental board as well, if he prefers. That should sober him up.

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

Are Lumineers Bad For Your Teeth?

I’ve been looking into my smile makeover options and was excited about the prospect of Lumineers because my dentist told me they don’t require any grinding down of your teeth. However, as I’ve looked online, I see a lot of mixed information about them. Some love them and some say that they destroyed their smile. Should I be concerned?

Alexis

Dear Alexis,

An advertisement for Lumineers

Lumineers won’t destroy your smile on their own. That is why there are mixed reviews. If you have a dentist who is skilled in cosmetic dentistry, then you have a better chance at a successful outcome than if you have a dentist who hasn’t invested a lot of time and training in learning cosmetic work.

That being said, there are two big problems with Lumineers. The first is that they are heavily marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place because they are ultra thin, which Lumineers says makes them no-prep.

While an occasional smile can get away with a no-prep makeover, most need at least some tooth preparation or else the smile ends up looking bulky. Some have even described it as having horse teeth.

Your dentist was mistaken in saying that your teeth will need to be ground down with another brand. That is simply not the case. The only procedure that would require your teeth to be ground down is with dental crowns. For porcelain veneers, you only need about the depth of a fingernail gently shaved to make room for the porcelain veneers.

Your dentist’s claim gives me pause to think he is not experienced enough in cosmetic dentistry to give you a beautiful result.

The second issue with Lumineers is their lab. The company that owns them forces dentists to use their lab, which is not known for producing beautiful results.

In your place, I would not worry about the brand as much as the dentist. Ask to see some before and after pictures of porcelain veneer procedures they’ve done. If you like their results, you should be fine. Then, let them pick the brand that will give you the look you want.

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

Lumineers Disaster. What Should She Do?

I have a situation. I spent a ton of money getting Lumineers on my top six teeth. When I first went in, I told this dentist that I have had two dental bonding procedures done on my teeth that has made them look a bit bulky and I’d like that to be corrected with my Lumineers. The dentist assured me the Lumineers people knew exactly what they were doing. They did provide an image of what my smile would look like when they were completed and I was really excited about that. However, the result turned out nothing like expected. The closest I can explain it is saying I now have horse teeth. They are bulky and I have a huge overbite. My top teeth actually come out to the middle of my lower lip. They told me my muscles would adjust. I’ve been in tears since they bonded it. Is there any way to get my money back?

Catherine

Dear Catherine,

Lumineers Advertisement

I cringed when I read your dentist’s comment that the Lumineers people will know exactly what to do. There are two things wrong with that statement. First, it is the dentist who is supposed to know exactly what to do and give the laboratory specific instructions. Think about it like a doctor writing a prescription and the pharmacy filling that prescription. If the doctor writes the wrong prescription, there is no way for the pharmacist to know that. They can only do what they’ve been told. Second, the laboratory that does Lumineers’ work is not known for its beautiful results.

Getting a refund, however, could be tricky. Because cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty, which means it is judged by the standards of general dentistry. That means to get a refund, it doesn’t matter what the results look like, but rather whether or not the smile is functional. If it is, all you can do is appeal to your dentist’s sense of pride in his or her work. If that doesn’t matter to them, I would tell them you’ll be posting a review about how they don’t care whether their “smile makeovers” are attractive or even feel comfortable in or mouth.

I’m sorry for what you went through.
This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

How Can I Make My Lumineers Last Longer?

Hi there,

I want a new smile, and am interested in getting porcelain veneers. My cosmetic dentist works with Lumineers, so I was thinking of getting them. However, I want my smile makeover to last a long time. What can I do to make sure my Lumineers last 15-20 years?

Sidney, from Amarillo, TX

 

Hi Sidney,

It is good that your dentist is comfortable working with Lumineers. The first step to making sure your cosmetic dental work lasts a long time is choosing an expert cosmetic dentist. Lumineers are a type of ultra-thin porcelain, but they are placed directly over your natural teeth with no preparation. For this reason, Lumineers can look bulky or unnatural if not placed with skill and care.

You can keep your oral hygiene routine the same at home, as neither tooth brushes, tooth paste, nor mouth wash can harm porcelain. Keep up with your regular dental appointments to prevent gum disease. Also, be sure to let your oral hygienist know you have veneers, to avoid any harsh tools that can leave scratches.

Porcelain may be durable but it can be stained. Coffee and red wine are major culprits, as can be tobacco use. Try to use a straw when drinking coffee or red wine in order to minimize contact with your teeth.

Lumineers can also be ground down like your natural teeth, so make your dentist aware if you grind your teeth. A night guard will take the pressure off your veneers at night, and can prevent any fracturing.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix  Dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.

 

Lumineers Disaster

I went into my dentist for a smile makeover. He gave me four Lumineers. When I went there, I was very specific with him that I wanted a white smile. Yet, when my Lumineers came in and were placed, I noticed they weren’t white like we’d discussed. I tried to like them, but after a few days, I called him. I expressed that I didn’t like the color. That’s when he told me he placed a stain on them so they’d look “normal”. I was quite disappointed to hear that as it went against my expressed desires. He offered to take the stain off. That idea thrilled me. I went there with high hopes. Those hopes were dashed when I saw the results. Essentially, all he did was drill off the top layer. This made the teeth look dull and uneven, which is even worse. Do I have any way of affordably getting this fixed?

Brandon.

Dear Brandon,

A porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

The smile makeover procedure you had reminds me a little to much of the middle-grade books, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I can tell from the way you described things that your dentist is either fairly new at cosmetic dentistry and is dipping his toes in the smile makeover waters, or he’s just completely incompetent. Because Lumineers is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easier to place than other brands of porcelain veneers, I suspect (or maybe hope) it is the former.

Let’s start with the fact that he did four Lumineers. Most people’s smiles are around eight to ten teeth wide. If you don’t want a bi-color smile, you have two choices. First, you can get that many porcelain veneers. A great option if you can afford it. However, not everyone can. In that case, your second option is to have your teeth whitened before you have your veneers made. This way the teeth will be close enough in color to make sense and blend.

The next disastrous decision is he stained them. Yes, you said you wanted a white smile, but your dentist thought, “I’m the professional and know better.” So, he put a stain on them to make them look like regular teeth. This is an attitude taught in general dental school. However, people paying for a new smile don’t want “regular” teeth. They want gorgeous teeth. This is why dentists who invest in post-doctoral training in smile makeovers learn the opposite. You aren’t creating normal smiles. Instead, you are creating your patient’s dream smile.

Amateur move number three is him bonding them on without you getting a look at them. True cosmetic dentists will use a temporary try-in paste, give you plenty of time to look at the veneers in various lightings, and decide if you are thrilled with them. If you’re not, they don’t get bonded on. The dentist will make the changes necessary to achieve the results you want. You’re paying for a stunning smile. You should get one.

His Disastrous Lumineers “Fix”

Finally, let’s get into your dentist’s “fix” for his misjudgment. What he should have done when you told him this wasn’t the color you agreed to was to start over and provide you with new Lumineers. That, however, would cost him time and money. So, he takes a short cut and drills off the stain. While this ruined your Lumineers, this is actually good news for you.

Because he damaged them, he is now obligated to fix them. I would not just get a refund or have him re-do them. He’s shown a disregard for your wishes, as well as a lack of commitment to the quality of his work. What you need to do is tell him you would like him to cover the cost of another dentist replacing them.

Before deciding on a second dentist, look at their smile gallery. Make sure there are before and after pictures of cases they’ve done personally, not just stock photos. Even then, only go forward if you absolutely love the after results they acheived.

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

Are Lumineers Cheaper than Porcelain Veneers?

Hi,

I’m interested in a smile makeover with veneers. Where I live, porcelain veneers are over $1,500 per tooth. However, I’ve heard Lumineers cost a bit less. Is this true? Should I look for a cosmetic dentist to place Lumineers, or just get regular porcelain veneers? Can I get a beautiful smile with Lumineers for less than $1,500?

Miki, from Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

Hi Miki,

One of the most important things to look for in a cosmetic dentist is artistry, not cost. That may sound counter-intuitive, but the cheaper the dentist, the less quality work you receive. When you pay for cosmetic dentistry, you’re paying for the training, education, and mastery of the dentist. When getting Lumineers, expertise is key because when placed by an inexperienced dentist, they can look bulky.

A general dentist may agree to place your Lumineers or veneers, but a general dentist is trained to fix problems, not create an aesthetic smile. A cosmetic dentist will go the extra mile to create a smile you’re proud of. Saving money by opting for Lumineers isn’t going to be worth it if the colors don’t match and you’re too shy to show them off.

It’s always best to approach cosmetic dentistry with an open mind. Check a dentist’s smile gallery, and see if their work is the kind that you’d like for yourself. If you find you still want Lumineers, look for a dentist experienced with them, as the no-prep placement requires skill. Call a few cosmetic dental offices in your area to compare prices, and you’ll have a better idea of the total cost of your procedure.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix Lumineers provider Dr. Hillary Peck. Dr. Peck is a licensed general dentist with years of experience in placing Lumineers.

 

 

Poor Man’s Smile Makeover

I wanted to get a smile makeover because my teeth are so stained. Plus, I have a tiny gap between the two front teeth. I looked at porcelain veneers, but they were way out of my budget. Is there a way to get my smile more attractive without losing my home?

Lexie

Dear Lexie,

Dollar sign hatched from an egg
There are always affordable alternatives.

I’m a firm believer in the fact that there’s always an affordable dental alternative. You’re right that porcelain veneers are a tad on the expensive side. However, that doesn’t mean you are trapped with a smile you’re not proud of. Based on what you described, you’re a good candidate for two procedures which can repair both of those problems. These can make your smile look beautiful.

I’d start by getting your teeth whitened. This is probably the most affordable procedure you can do for your smile with amazing results. It will take years off your appearance in one fell swoop.

In addition to that, there’s an easy solution for your tooth gap. Dental bonding uses a composite resin to fill in the gap. A cosmetic dentist will hand sculpt the new inner edges of your teeth in a way that they meet perfectly.

It’s important you whiten your teeth first. Once the resin is molded and dried, the color cannot be changed. That’s why you’ll want your teeth the color you’ll want permanently so your dentist can match the resin to it.

What You Want in an Affordable Dentist

I don’t want you to confuse a cheap dentist with an affordable dentist. A cheap dentist will cut corners, which rarely works out well for the patient. An affordable dentist will still do quality work but find other ways to save you money.

Generally, they’ll try to keep their fees reasonable, but often they also offer payment plans. They can do that with either an in-house payment plan or through Care Credit.

You also want a dentist who tells you all of your alternative treatment plans. Just like there was a more affordable option for your smile makeover, your dentist should give you all your options. It’s the only ethical way to handle things.

One other suggestion. You should always check reviews of every medical practitioner before you see them. It’s always wise to learn from the experiences of others.

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