Tag Archives: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

Mismatched Front Teeth

I had a root canal and the tooth needed a dental crown. My dentist has had a very hard time getting it to look natural. The first one looked way too white. Then he redid it. The next one was a more realistic shade, but still doesn’t match my adjacent teeth. He bonded that one on. At first, I thought I could live with it but I’m really uncomfortable having mismatched front teeth. He’s willing to try again. Do you think I’m being too picky? I can tell he’s getting frustrated, even though he hasn’t said anything.

Louisa

Dear Louisa,

Image of a crown being placed on a tooth

You’re not being too picky. You have every right to have matching front teeth, especially when they’re being crafted for you. However, you might be asking too much of your particular dentist. Matching a single front tooth requires cosmetic skills that are likely above his artistic and technical ability at this point.

Even many expert cosmetic dentists, will charge extra for matching a single crown to a front tooth because they know it could take three or four try-ins. A dentist should never permanently bond on the crown until they are 100% sure it matches the adjacent tooth absolutely. There are many subtleties in colors. It’s rare to get it spot on first time out of the box.

You have two choices. The first one is for you to continue to allow your dentist to try and get it right. He may and it won’t cost you any extra. However, there’s no guarantee he will.

Your other option is to find an expert cosmetic dentist and let them do your crown. They’ll be more likely to get the result you’re both hoping for and deserve. But, it will cost you some extra. It’s possible your dentist would be willing to give you a partial refund because you’re having to go elsewhere for the crown.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

How is a patient supposed to know which cosmetic dentists have the skills and artistry to create a gorgeous restoration? The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) realized the quandary many patients found themselves in. Because of that, they began an accreditation program. This requires the dentist to pass stringent oral and written examinations demonstrating their technical knowledge of their craft. In addition to that, they have to provide examples of a large number of specific cosmetic cases they’ve done within a recent time period.

Anyone who reaches accreditation level with the AACD can not only match your crown to your front teeth, but if you ever decided to go all out and get a total smile makeover with porcelain veneers, they’d give you an absolutely stunning smile.

If you were to pick a new dentist to do your cosmetic work, they should be on the top of your choice list. To find one in your area, you simply go to the aacd.com website and choose “find a dentist”. Make sure you click that you’re looking for an accredited dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.

Porcelain Veneers on Top of Porcelain Veneers

I was disappointed in my porcelain veneers. I asked for a really white smile. They came back a bit dingy in my opinion. He said that’s because the tech said that’s the whitest available. I would have rather waited until they had the whiter available than get these. Is there a way to put whiter ones on top of these or am I stuck with the dingy ones?

Marilyn

Dear Marilyn,

A single porcelain veneer being held by a dental tool

First, I’m going to suggest you get a different cosmetic dentist. They could have made your porcelain veneers as white as you wished. Either he lied to you for a reason I can hardly fathom or he is totally incompetent about cosmetic dentistry and just listens to whatever his lab tells him.

While you could have new veneers on top of the ones you don’t like, I’m going to recommend you don’t for the following reasons:

  • It will cost you just as much money as if you had the case completely re-done.
  • They won’t last as long. Bonding porcelain to porcelain isn’t as secure as bonding porcelain to enamel.
  • You double your chances of the veneers having a problem and falling off. For instance, if by some miracle your new veneers stay bonded to the old ones, what if the original bond breaks?
  • The porcelain to porcelain margin is more prone to staining than the porcelain to enamel margin.

Finding the Cosmetic Dentist to Re-do Your Smile

If you really want a stunning smile makeover the most important decision you’ll make is which dentist you go to to have it done. Two cosmetic dentists can attempt the exact same smile makeover on the same patient, given the same instructions and they will turn out completely different. So how is a patient to know which dentists are artistic and which will do disappointing smiles?

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) set up an accreditation program for that very reason. Dentists have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate their artistry with a large number of cases they’ve personally done. Dentists who reach accreditation level are among the top dentists in the country.

They will create a stunning smile for you. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha. Check out his smile gallery.

Cosmetic Dental Disaster! Can it be Fixed?

I’ve had a cosmetic dentistry disaster. I asked my dentist about finding a cosmetic dentist so I could get a makeover. He said there isn’t a cosmetic dentistry specialty and they’re just general dentists who do cosmetic work. I didn’t realize that, so when he offered to do my smile makeover I figured I was safe. I think that was a huge mistake. My smile seems bulky and opaque. It’s very obvious they’re fake. They don’t look at all beautiful. Can this be fixed? If so, how?

Ingrid

Dear Ingrid,

Beautiful brunette woman with gorgeous smile
Getting a Gorgeous Smile Requires Finding the Best Cosmetic Dentist in Your Area

I’m very sorry this happened to you. While your dentist is technically right about there not being a cosmetic dentistry specialty, that doesn’t mean any general dentist can give you a gorgeous smile. Think about it in terms are art. Yes, many people graduate from art school, but aren’t some artists better than others? That’s what you’re facing.

You said the smile makeover you received is opaque and bulky. Is there any chance your dentist gave you Lumineers? That would explain both of those issues. There are many different brands of porcelain veneers, but Lumineers are often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. All that’s required for being certified in them is to watch a simple seminar. That’s it. Nothing which determines if they can do a good job or not.

Also, the Lumineers brand insists dentists use their lab, which isn’t thought to be that great among the cosmetic dentists who really know what they’re doing.

Finding the Best Dentist for a Smile Makeover

When you want a gorgeous smile, you need to find the best cosmetic dentist you can. But, as you’ve learned, it can be tricky. How can a patient know who is an artist and who isn’t? Fortunately, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) realized this was going to be a problem for patients. Because of that they began an accreditation program so patients would have a way of gauging the artistic and technical skill of dentists.

If a cosmetic dentist wants to be accredited they have to pass both an oral and written exam that clearly demonstrates they have advanced technical knowledge about the procedures, color theory, etc. In addition to that, there is a long list of cases where they have to submit photos of work they’ve actually done to demonstrate they’re not just knowledgeable but artistic.

An AACD accredited dentist can give you a gorgeous smile. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

Can Your Smile Be Fixed?

The short answer is yes. But…. You were waiting for that “but” weren’t you? In order to get it fixed you’ll have to completely start over. I’d start by getting a refund from your current dentist. If he knows how unhappy you are with his results, he shouldn’t mind refunding the money. Though, he may not refund the lab fees, because he had to eat those.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Solution for Tetracycline Stains

I have tetracycline stains. I’m finally in a financial position where I can do something about them. I’ve seen two dentists thus far. Both gave me vastly different suggestions. I’m hoping you’ll break the tie. First, I went to my family dentist. He recommended I get porcelain crowns to cover the stains. He’s done a crown for me in the past and I liked it. Though, this one was made to match the stains. Next, I saw a cosmetic dentist. He suggested I get porcelain veneers. They’re much more expensive, but I assume are more likely to give a pretty smile. Do you know which procedure would be a better solution?

Corrine

Dear Corrine,

A single porcelain veneer being held by a dental tool

I’m glad you wrote. Tetracycline stains are some of the more difficult things to treat. I’m going to have you switch gears just a smidge. While I think porcelain veneers will be a better idea than porcelain crowns for reasons I’ll explain in a moment, more important than what procedure is what dentist.

Porcelain Crowns Versus Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain crowns require a much more aggressive treatment than veneers. They require the dentist to grind down a great deal of healthy tooth structure. Plus, let’s say a few years from now you meet a top-of-the-line cosmetic dentist. It will be too late to get porcelain veneers. Once your teeth are ground down, you can’t undo that and switch to porcelain veneers. You will always have to have crowns.

A good thing to consider is why your dentist is suggesting a much more aggressive treatment than is necessary. Most dentists will suggest the least invasive treatment so as to preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible. The one obvious reason he’d do that is he is more comfortable with crowns, which translates to not a lot of cosmetic dentistry training. I think even if you went with the porcelain crowns you wouldn’t be happy with the results.

Now, let’s discuss the cosmetic dentist who suggested porcelain veneers. While he’s suggested a good procedure, how do you know if he’s a skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist? Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty so every general dentist can just call themselves a cosmetic dentist regardless of their skill level.

Choosing a Cosmetic Dentist

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recognized the problem which patients face in finding legitimately skilled practitioners. To help, they started an accreditation program. This tests both the technical skill and artistry. They have to pass stringent exams, both oral and written. In addition to that, they have to show a series of cosmetic procedures they’ve completed in order to demonstrate their artistry.

Those who pass reach what is known as accreditation level. Only about 1% of dentists in the world reach this level. This is the type of dentist you want to take care of your tetracycline stains. Not only are they incredibly skilled, but almost all of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

30 Years of Dentures – Can My Smile Be Pretty?

I’ve had dentures for over thirty years. I’ve spent my life embarrassed by my smile. The other day I read something that reminded me I’ve never tried to do anything about it. Instead, I accepted it as a fate I couldn’t change. Now I’m wondering. After all this time, is it too late for me to have a pretty smile?

Miranda

Dear Miranda,

You’ve got a few issues going on here. But, first let me tell you before we go into what to do that yes, you can absolutely have a beautiful smile again.

Sadly, your dentures could have been gorgeous from the beginning. Many patients feel like what their dentist gives them is as good as it gets, especially when dentures are concerned. Maybe it’s because they remembered their grandmother’s dentures looked similar. It no longer has to be that way.

It would have taken a better cosmetic dentist than you obviously had. But, gorgeous dentures are done every day by expert cosmetic dentists. Looking at Dr. Cha’s smile gallery, there are a few patients there who had partial dentures placed. You can see they are stunningly gorgeous. When it comes to beauty, it’s not the procedure nearly as much as it is the dentist.

But how do you find such a dentist? When it comes to finding the most artistic and skilled cosmetic dentists, I recommend getting a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

Problems with Dentures

However, your bigger issue is not just how it looks. The downside of dentures is far greater over the long term. When your teeth were removed, your body wanted to preserve the minerals which are no longer necessary to retain your teeth. Unfortunately, that means you’ll start losing jawbone. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone to retain your dentures, leaving you a dental cripple.

Solution to the Problems with Dentures

Illustration of dental implants in three partsFirst, you’ll need to build up your jawbone again. This can be done with a procedure called bone grafting. This will provide you with bone again. From there, you have two choices. You can get your dentures re-done. You will have similar problems with losing jawbone all over again, along with the other types of problems which go along with dentures.

You have another option, though. My suggestion would be for you to instead of replacing your dentures to get dental implants instead. You’ll find that your quality of life goes up significantly, especially your chewing capacity.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

What Do I Look For in the Best Cosmetic Dentist?

I want to get drop dead gorgeous porcelain veneers. My aunt, who’s filthy rich, asked me what I dream about. I told her having a smile which doesn’t embarrass me. Then she handed me a blank check and said. “Go go it.” She was serious, too. I burst into tears. Now that I have this dream as a possibility, I want to do it right. How do I go about finding the best cosmetic dentist?

Thank you,
LeeAnne

Dear LeeAnne,

A single porcelain veneer being held by a dental tool

How exciting! You have a very generous aunt. You’re also wise to be doing research before investing in a permanent smile. I’m sorry you’ve spent your life feeling embarrassed about your smile. If it’s any consolation about half of all Americans feel the same way.

When it comes to finding the best cosmetic dentist, there are three skills that are of equal importance.

  • Technical Skill
  • An Artistic Eye
  • Empathy

The first one always makes sense to patients. Of course you want a dentist with the skill to do the procedure, but what do artistry and empathy have to do with it?

Creating a beautiful smile is like creating a work of art. Two artists can have the same subject and their painting will turn out completely different depending on their level of artistry. The same is true with porcelain veneers. The dentist has to understand how facial shape, smile width, subtleties of color, and shape of the teeth all work together to create a portrait of sorts.

Empathy is equally important. You sort of explained why during your question. You have lived with a smile that you’ve been ashamed of your whole life. You want one to be proud of. You need a cosmetic dentist who understands this is about how YOU feel about the results. Not how he feels. You don’t want a dentist who lets pride in his “creation” get in the way of giving you your dream smile.

How Do You Find the Best Cosmetic Dentist?

The easiest way to locate a skilled, artistic cosmetic dentist is through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.com). They have an accreditation program to separate the sheep from the goats. With no offense intended to goats. They have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate artistry in a list of recent cases they’ve completed. Bear in mind that being a member and being an accredited member are different.

Not everyone has an accredited dentist near them and there are some fantastic dentists on their way toward accreditation that just haven’t finished yet. It’s a long process. In that case, check out the mynewsmile.com website. They recommend skilled artistic dentists by zip code and the distance you’re willing to travel.

But what about empathy? How do you measure that ahead of time? I’d suggest two things. First, check their reviews. What type of experience have other patients had with them. Second, make sure they have some sort of beautiful smile guarantee. By that I don’t mean a smile they think is beautiful, but one YOU love. Check out Dr. Cha’s guarantee to see what I mean.

I hope this helps!

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

My Dentist Says I’m Being Unreasonable

I saved up for years to get a smile makeover. My dentist and I decided on Lumineers so that we wouldn’t have to grind my teeth. I did read that you should ask a dentist to try the Lumineers on first to make sure you like them before he bonds them on completely. I told him that’s what I wanted. He said okay. But, when the time came he didn’t try them on. He just bonded them onto my teeth without me even looking at them. I didn’t realize that’s what he was doing. I thought it was the try-in. When I first saw them I burst into tears. They’re so bulky they look like horse teeth and the color looks chalky, not natural. It’s so obvious these aren’t my teeth. I told him I didn’t want them and he said they’re already bonded. What?? Now I can’t fix this and I want my money back, but he’s refusing and saying I’m being unreasonable. Am I?

Miranda D.

Dear Miranda,

A Woman Giving a Thumbs up in the dental chair

Not only are you not being unreasonable, but your dentist has behaved unethically. He completed a procedure without your permission. If you turned him into the dental board, he’d get in a lot of trouble. You have a fantastic case for a full refund.

The biggest problem you’re facing at this point is your dentist is likely a decent general dentist but is in over his head with cosmetic procedures. There are a few things that lead me to believe this. He made several mistakes that the best cosmetic dentists would never make.

How Do You Know if You Have the Best Cosmetic Dentist?

First, his dependence on Lumineers is an error. Lumineers are highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place because they don’t require tooth preparation. Unfortunately, the result will often end up like you’ve experienced with bulky teeth.

It’s a common misconception that your teeth have to be ground down for porcelain veneers. That’s not true. Dental crowns require grinding. Veneers usually require mild tooth shaving.

Second, he didn’t use a try-in paste. Even without you requesting him to let you approve the veneers before they’re permanently bonded he should have done that. Good cosmetic dentists ALWAYS do that. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

Third, he didn’t care that you weren’t satisfied. A true cosmetic dentist would be horrified if a patient was so dissatisfied with their work it caused them to cry. They would instantly offer to do them over.

You need to get a little forceful about your refund. Remind him he bonded them on without your approval and you’ll be taking it to the dental board. That should be enough to light a fire under him. Then, go to a dentist who’s accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. If they’ve reached accreditation level, you’ll get a stunning smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

How Custom Designed Can Porcelain Veneers Be Made?

After the last election I grew discouraged and decided to do something about it. So, I’m running for office. My wife insists I need to improve my smile. She suggests porcelain veneers. I do have an unattractive smile. My teeth are cigarette stained and chipped. One of them is even missing. But, I don’t want my smile made too perfect or I think I won’t be viewed as trustworthy. How custom made can these things be done?

Matt M.

Dear Matt,

Tulsa Porcelain Veneers

It’s noble that you’re wanting to make a difference and are actually doing something about it instead of merely complaining but taking no action. If your smile is unattractive, then your wife is correct. One of the first things people notice about us is our smile. And unfortunately, they’ll make preconceived judgments about us based on its appearance.

Based on your description of your teeth, porcelain veneers will be a perfect solution for you. They can be custom designed to the minutest details. However, how successful and attractive the smile will be, depends a lot on the dentist you choose.

You can have two different dentists work on the exact same smile, attempting the same design, and you’ll get two different results. Ideally, you want a skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist. So, how do you go about finding one of those? The top cosmetic dentists in the world have achieved accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD.com). They can tell you where the closest accredited cosmetic dentists are to your area.

The great news is most of them will have some form of a beautiful smile guarantee, so you can be sure you’re getting exactly the smile you want.

As for your missing tooth, the best solution will be to get a single dental implant. This is the closest thing to having a natural healthy tooth as you can get.

Best of success with your political endeavors. Our country needs statesmen more than politicians.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Help! I Have George Washington’s Teeth

I read once that George Washington had fake teeth and hated them. He felt they were a constant embarrassment. You’d think in the 200 plus years since George Washington had to get dentures, things would have changed. They haven’t. I just got dentures. I’m looking in the mirror and feel like I have wooden teeth myself. I’m in tears. Please, please tell me this can be fixed. I’m willing to pay for the whole thing over again. I’m just not willing to look like this!

Christie Y.

Dear Christie,

So, here’s the thing. Things have improved. Your dentist may be a fine general dentist. He may be very skilled at fixing things. But, when you’re talking about something aesthetic, like your smile, you really want someone who is a skilled cosmetic dentist. Dentures can be gorgeous. They can not only look like your natural teeth, they can look like a stunning celebrity smile.

You can try asking your dentist for a refund, explaining how unhappy you are with your appearance. He may just return the fee, though he may keep lab fees so he doesn’t lose money. If you’re willing to get the dentures re-done, you should look for a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

These are the top cosmetic dentists in the world. You will not feel like George Washington. You’ll feel like a supermodel.

I want to be sure your dentist spoke with you about the complications of dentures versus dental implants. When you get dentures, you lose jaw bone. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone to support your dentures.

Dental implants prevent bone loss. It is a more expensive, but it’s by far a better treatment than dentures if you’re a good candidate. It’s like having healthy teeth in your mouth. I’m worried he hasn’t talked to you about it because his skill isn’t there to perform the procedure. Talk to a qualified dentist to see if you’re a candidate and have them explain the pros and cons of ALL your options.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Can the Shape of My Bite Really Keep Me from Porcelain Veneers?

I’ve wanted a smile makeover ever since I was old enough to realize my smile was ugly. I have an overbite, which makes my front teeth practically cover my bottom teeth. They’re misshapen, some of them have small chips, and they’ve all got tetracycline stains. I saved for years to get the top of the line smile makeover. Now, when I finally tell my dentist, he tells me I can’t because of my overbite. Instead, he wants to do four to six crowns on my upper front teeth. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I just wanted to double check he had the right idea before I give up my dream.

Hazel L.

Dear Hazel,

Don’t give up your dream. Give up your dentist. I hope I’m not coming across harsh, but I want you to get the best smile possible. It sounds to me like your dentist is in over his head when it comes to cosmetic work so he’s made up some lame excuse to not have to admit he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

If you were to get porcelain crowns, he’d have to grind down your front teeth to nubs! Why get rid of all that healthy tooth structure? Plus, he’s talking about 4-6 crowns. Most smiles are much wider than that. Can you imagine how weird that would look beside tetracycline stained teeth? No. Don’t do this.

Your bite actually makes you a fine candidate for porcelain veneers. Your teeth are covering your bottom teeth. Crowns would have to surround your entire tooth, causing the dentist to have to beware of what he does on the back side, so it doesn’t negatively impact your bottom teeth. Porcelain veneers don’t go on the back of your teeth, just the front.

In your place, I’d look for a top of the line cosmetic dentist. Tetracycline stains are more challenging than most. The dentist will want to get the veneers to look bright, translucent, and natural, but still cover the stains. It will take someone with an advanced skill set and artistic eye to do that. Find a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). They’ll be your best bet and can certainly give you the gorgeous smile you’ve always dreamed of having. In fact, quite a few of them have a “beautiful smile guarantee“.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.