All posts by Annmarie Worthington

My crown didn’t whiten

I don’t understand what happend. I spent a few hundred dollars to whiten my teeth, but the crown, right in the front of my smile, didn’t whiten at all. Now my smile looks ridiculous. How do I fix this?

Kathryn C. – New Jersey

Kathryn,

I’m a little frustratrated with your dentist. Even those with the most elementary skill in cosmetic dentistry know that dental work, such as dental crowns, will not whiten with teeth whitening.

The only way to fix this now is to have your crown re-done.  When you do that, make sure you use a different dentist. You’ll also want to make sure he gives you all porcelain crowns.

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Did my hygienist ruin my porcelain veneers?

I went to my general dentist after getting porcelain veneers. They were gorgeous, but a week or two after the appointment they started picking up stains. I haven’t done anything different and I’m wondering if something could have happened at my dental appointment to damage them?

Manny L. – Portland, OR

Manny,

It is possible that your hygienist damged your porcelain veneers during the cleaning process. If they used power polishing, such as a prophy jet. The hygienist won’t even know that the they were damaged, because it your teeth will look fine at the end of the appointment. Unfortunately, the glaze will be completely removed. That is why you started picking up stains.

There are other things that can damage veneers in an appointment as well. Ultrasonic scalers and heavy manual scalers can chip the veneers. Pumice can scratch the veneers.

It sounds like you may have gone to a dental hygienist who is unfamilar with cosmetic work.

It’s possible to restore the shine to your veneers using diamond grit polishers. However, this is a very advanced technique. Your average dentist won’t be familiar with it. I would go back to your cosmetic dentist and ask him what he thinks.

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My dental hygienist is HOT

I’ve been going to the same dentist for years. This year he got a new hygienist. I am really attracted to her. Like distractingly attractive. Is it appropriate to ask her out?

Bran E. – Michigan

Bran,

There isn’t anything inappropriate about asking her out. It’s likely  your hygienist will be flattered . Just bear in mind that she is a professional. Don’t make her job uncomfortable for her if she declines.

Whether she says yes or no, you know that you will at least enjoy your dental appoitments. There doesn’t seem to be a downside here unless she turns you down and you don’t handle that well. Years ago, we had a dental hygienist in our office, and one of her patients asked her out. They hit it off together and she ended up marrying him. So you never know.

Don’t become the creepy stalker dental patient.

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Smoking after dental implants

I want to get dental implants, but my dentist made me quit smoking first. It has been hard. I’m wondering if I can start smoking again after I get the implants?

Dan. – no lectures please.

Dan,

Ideally, you’d want to stay smoke free. I no it is hard, but it honestly the best chance for a successful dental implant procedure. Even when all circumstances are perfect and your dentist is highly skilled there is a chance of dental implant failure.

When you smoke, it reduces the blood flow in your gums. That significantly increases the chances of a problem with your implants.

It’s your body and your call, of course. But, if you’re going to spend that amount of money to get the highest quality tooth replacement, you’ll want to give it the best chance possible.

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A gap wider than a river

I don’t know what to do. I have a tooth gap wider than a river. I’ve had it my whole life and it doesn’t bother me, but I have a sneaking suspicion it is keeping me from getting a job.  Options?

Rochelle D. – Missouri

Rochelle,

It’s unfortunate that people judge us by our appearance. I love your plucky attitude about things. As far as your options go, you’re more limited because of the size of your gap.

If it were a small one, porcelain veneers or dental bonding would take care of it just fine. However, with a large gap, your best bet is to close it. Braces take forever. Plus, you’re worried about your appearance in order to get a job.

My suggestion would be invisalign. It fixes your teeth in half the time as braces without anyone even knowing.

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Can I get Invisalign when I’ve got braces?

I have braces, but I hate them. They hurt. They cut my mouth. My food gets caught in them. I wanted invisalign, but my mom was afraid I’d lose them, so she made me get braces.  I don’t think I can live with these and am wondering if it’s too late to switch to invisalign?

Mae Anne M. – Michigan

Mae Anne,

If your dentist said you’re a good candidate for Invisalign, then it is possible to switch. That being said, you’ll need to examine whether you’ll be able to keep the aligners in for the duration. If you’re not able to, the treatment won’t be effective.

If you’re able to do that, then you shouldn’t have any problem with the transition.

You’ll probably be happier with Invisalign, so it will be worth it to keep them in. Not only will you not have to worry about your mouth being cut by uncomfortable wires and brackets, but you won’t have food getting trapped in anything. You take the aligners out to eat. Brush and floss, then place the aligners back in.

This blog is brought to you by America’s Dental Bookstore.

Worst smile makeover ever

I got some Lumineers. Let me say I spent a small fortune. I was so excited about this. Unfortunately, I’ve come out of this looking like Mr. Ed.  The teeth are huge and bulky. What do I do?

Elaine – Maryland

Elaine,

I’m sorry for your experience.  Many inexperienced cometic dentists think they can place lumineers, because they’re advertised as simple. Plus, to become a lumineers dentist you just have to take an exam.

What you want to look for when you’re getting a smile makeover, is a great cosmetic dentist. You want someone with extensive post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry. It’s likely, that you’ll need to have this smile re-done. You could try to get a refund from your current dentist.

Any decent cosmetic dentist will have a smile gallery, where you could see what kind of results they get. You should also look on mynewmile.com. They recommend the best cosmetic dentists in each state.

This blog is brought to you by America’s Dental Bookstore.

Stop your restoration!

My dentist had given me several dental crowns. I wasn’t happy with them, because they were ugly and always left a black line at my gumline. I’ve moved and my new dentist said that my crowns are not only ugly, but have damaged my bite. He is doing a complete bite restoration with 28 crowns. I’ve got the temporary ones. I’m having a little trouble eating with them, but that’s probably because they are temporary. I would like to have the eye teeth extended a little. Is that being too picky?

Renee N. – Rhode Island

Renee,

I’m going to strongly suggest you stop this restoration right away. Your temporary crowns should not be uncomfortable at all, especially not while eating. I would tell him not to continue until they’ve worked out the issue with your temp. crowns.

To answer your question, no, it is not too picky to want your eye teeth extended. It is your smile. You’re paying a significant amount of money. You’re certainly within your rights to want it to look a certain way.

I’m a little concerned that your new dentist doesn’t know what they’re doing either.  A full mouth restoration is a very advanced, complicated procedure. If it’s not done well, you will have serious TMJ problems, which can ruin your quality of life for years to come. I would ask your dentist where he got his restoration training. If he says the Pankey Institue or Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies, then I’d be a little more comfortable with you moving forward. If not, I’d get out and get a second opinion.

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Dentists are evil

I have a question for you. Why can’t dentists do an appointment without torturing their patients? I have gotten to the point where I don’t want to go anymore.

Elizabeth B. – Nevada

Elizabeth,

You’re not the first person to wonder if dentists weren’t just a little bit sadistic. However, most dentists go into the field because the like to help people and want to fix things.  I will admit some are more skilled at being gentle than others.

Because of that, a lot of people have dental anxiety.  That can actually exacerbate the situation. However, it is a little unrealistic to think a patient can just stop being fearful.

One thing that can really help is sedation dentistry. This can give you a totally pain free appointment.  In fact, depending on which type of sedation you choose, it’s possible you could not even remember the appointment at all.

I hope this helps.

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Invisalign or Wine…Having a hard time choosing

I’ve been wanting to get my teeth straightened for quite some time. I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with a small gap in my teeth. However, my dentist said I wouldn’t be able to drink wine while I was doing Invisalign. I think I’d rather impale myself then go several months without wine. Is there no wiggle room on this?

Sammie M. – Lawrence, MA

Sammie,

I think you may have misunderstood your doctor…or maybe your doctor is a prohibitionist and he was trying to keep you from drinking. Unlike traditional orthodontics, Invisalign can be removed by the patient. In fact, you’ll remove them every time you eat.  That means there will be no problem with you having a glass of wine with your meal.

He probably meant that you shouldn’t drink wine while your aligners are in. There is a good reason for this. Alcohol is corrosive and if you drink it while your aligner is in, it is likely to pool in the aligners and damage your teeth.

If the only problem with your teeth is a small gap, you have other options. Hopefully, your dentist also mentioned cosmetic dentistry, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding.  Either of these would fix the gap without the need for orthodontics.

This blog is brought to you by America’s Dental Bookstore.