Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

January 12, 2018

My teeth look splotchy after my bonding was removed


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Dr. Hall
I had extensive bonding on teeth to improve some wear and chips. I hated it as it felt bulky and I couldn’t speak properly. I had it removed but my teeth have been left patchy and discoloured. My dentist and the one she referred me to for another opinion both tell me it’s my natural teeth and I just hadn’t seen it before. I’m devastated as feel my teeth have been damaged.
– Marie from the UK

Marie,
I can’t fully tell what has happened to you without seeing your case personally, but I can make a good guess based on what you are telling me.

It sounds like you are in the hands of a basic general dentist who doesn’t know enough about cosmetic dentistry to give you a beautiful smile, and there are two things that were done wrong.

The first is that your bonding made your teeth bulky, so much so that it interfered with your speech. Dental bonding should never add significantly to the bulk of the teeth. That doesn’t produce an attractive appearance, plus it can interfere with speech, and it could create food traps that can lead to either tooth decay or gum disease. I don’t understand, if you’re just dealing with wear and chips, why you would need any bulk at all added to your teeth—the dentist should be able to just fill in the chips and replace tooth structure that has worn away. Look at the photographs of dental bonding work on this website. None of them look bulky at all.

The second mistake was in removing the bonding. While some dentists who lack confidence in their cosmetic dentistry skills will tell patients that dental bonding is a reversible procedure because it can simply be ground off if you decide you don’t like it, that may not be as easy as it sounds, especially in the hands of a basic general dentist. So the dentist starts grinding off the composite bonding and stops when he or she hits the enamel. But the composite looks just like the enamel, so how do they know when it stops? In this process, it is very easy to believe that your dentist may have removed a small amount of the enamel of your teeth. I don’t know—I’m just guessing. But you clearly know that they don’t look the same as they did. Of course she’s going to want to tell you that this is how your teeth were. And as far as the dentist she referred you to, there is no way for that dentist to tell you how your teeth used to look or whether any enamel was removed. Your complaint is very credible to me. If your teeth were always splotchy, that would have been your chief complaint and the reason you got the bonding, and you would certainly know it.

A good cosmetic dentist would have taken “before” photographs, and there would be no argument then about how your teeth looked before the work was started.

So what do you do now? I would go to an expert cosmetic dentist and either have this bonding done correctly or go with porcelain veneers, which will be the much more durable and cost-effective alternative. You should be able to get a beautiful smile out of this. We have an excellent cosmetic dentist listed in London, and I see by the city you mentioned that you are just outside of London. He should be able to take care of this for you.

I think your leverage for a claim against your current dentist is rather weak, because of the lack of documentation of what you are saying. Maybe you can get some kind of refund from her, but it seems to me that this would be entirely voluntary on her part.

– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

December 9, 2017

Dental bonding turning yellow after 5 days


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Dr. Hall,
I had bonding done on 3 front teeth 5 days ago. I used baking soda and wondered if I should’t have because now they look yellow. I was soooo happy to have fairly straight teeth, but now they look yellow. Is there a product available to whiten bonded teeth?

Thank you.
Brianna from Connecticut

Brianna,
Baking soda, unfortunately, used as a toothpaste, is very abrasive, and can damage the polish on the bonding. And no, there isn’t a product available to whiten bonded teeth.

Since this is so recent, I would return to the dentist that did the bonding and ask him or her if they would mind just freshening the polish for you. And then I would switch to Supersmile toothpaste. Supersmile was designed for the maintenance of dental bonding work.

There is a possibility that I should mention and that is that the dentist could have used inferior materials for the bonding. I hope that isn’t the case, but knowing that the vast majority of general dentists have a low level of expertise in cosmetic dentistry, I worry about that. It bothers me a little that it doesn’t seem that they gave you thorough post-operative care instructions for bonding. If you go through this process, use the Supersmile toothpaste, and the yellow comes back (or never goes away), then you may need to check out one of our recommended cosmetic dentists to fix this. The entire bonding probably wouldn’t need to be re-done, but it may need to be re-surfaced in a better material with a better polish.

– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

June 23, 2017

Bonding to teeth with fluorosis stains

Filed under: Tooth bonding — Tags: , , , — mesasmiles @ 5:01 pm

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Dr. Hall,
I am an orthodontist and recently had a 24-year-old Hispanic man come for treatment with severe fluoride staining. In your experience, would you expect braces to have acceptable bond strengths to be useful for two years of treatment? Is there a special protocol to help?
Thank you,
Dr. David Lehman

Dr. Lehman,
I’m going to generalize my answer so it is useful to as many people as possible.

My experience, of course, was with doing dental bonding procedures on patients with fluorosis. For the lay person reading this post, that is the clinical name of fluoride staining, and it comes from consuming excessive amounts of fluoride during childhood. We don’t see it too much in the United States, because the vast majority of our water supply is adjusted for optimal fluoride content. I’m guessing that this Hispanic man grew up in another country, which may explain the fluorosis.

I did not see extreme fluorosis in my practice, but did see mild to moderate fluorosis, and never had any problem bonding to those affected teeth with normal etching. If the staining is severe, my understanding is that the recommendation is to double the etch time. There was a study done on this some years ago, and I believe that was the conclusion, and I concluded from the data that doubling the etch time, when fluorosis is severe, should produce a bond that would be equal to that of normal enamel.

Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

July 7, 2016

I had bonding to close black triangles, and it looks awful


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Dr. Hall,
I had dental bonding done to close two tiny black triangles I had on the teeth next to my front teeth, and it looks awful. I went back today to see if he could fix it and it still looks bad.

I thought my dentist was a cosmetic dentist but come to find out he’s not certified which I had no idea and the job looks terrible. Looks like whitish material lodged between my teeth and I am sad and regretting even doing it. Just thought if he said he would do it, it was an easy fix that would look nice. He said give it a couple weeks to get used to but he will refund me since I am not happy. I can’t even floss between the teeth except above the bonding.

He wants me to come back tomorrow to try and fix it. I am afraid to have him do anything else. And researched more and found that certain dentists are actually certified for this. Is this something I can get fixed and done correctly? I just wish he would have said this isn’t something he specializes in. I just want my teeth back to where they were before this now and want my gums to settle down. What do I do???

– Angie from St. Louis

Dear Angie,
Closing black triangles is really tricky. Fortunately, you a couple of excellent cosmetic dentists in the St. Louis area, and either of them could do a fine job on this for you.

Black triangles are usually caused by receding gums. Here is a photograph of a case where that occurred.

Black triangles from receding gums

Black triangles from receding gums.

In your case yours showed up after straightening your teeth with Clear Correct invisible braces. Now you said that they are tiny. Not seeing a photograph of your teeth, I can’t tell you my opinion about whether or not you need these areas bonded—you can figure that out, if you want to just have the bonding sanded off and go back to the way your teeth looked, or if you want the black triangles filled in somewhat.

If you have them filled in, I’ll let you know several issues that make fixing these black triangles tricky.

The first is that their shape can adversely affect the health of the gums. Simply adding bonding material to fill in the hole left by the gum–that will just create a food trap which will cause plaque and calculus to accumulate beneath it. This will cause gum disease. So the added composite has to be shaped skillfully so that there is no such trap created and then polished carefully to make it plaque-resistant. The best test of whether or not the shape is healthy is to floss between the teeth. If you can push the floss into the sulcus under the gum and then when you pull it up it pulls smoothly, that is a strong sign that the shape and the polish are excellent. In your case, you’re saying that you can’t even get the floss past the bonding material. This is a serious problem and needs to be resolved to avoid gum disease on these teeth.

The second issue is that this is a difficult area to bond anything. To get the final result shaped properly, the dentist should be working some slightly under the gumline. Gum tissue oozes fluids. And if the gum tissue isn’t healthy, this oozing is very difficult to control. Those fluids contaminate the bond between the composite and the tooth, making it so the composite doesn’t stick. There are techniques for retracting the gum and controlling this oozing during the procedure, and those techniques have to be meticulously applied.

The third issue is the esthetics of the case, and there are a couple of dimensions to esthetics at play here. You mentioned color. Teeth are quite a bit darker at the gumline than they are at the incisal edge, and many dentists won’t use a dark enough shade of composite here. Family dentists may not even stock appropriate shades, because they only stock general purpose composites that are used for fillings. Composites for esthetic work are different. And then the shape is another dimension. Just putting a blob of composite on the teeth to plug the hole isn’t good enough. The end result has to look natural, and it can’t be done in such a way as to compromise the health of the gums, as I mentioned above.

I respect your dentist for his honesty in acknowledging his inadequacy here. I would recommend that you have him remove all the bonding material, refund your money as he has offered, and then, if you want this fixed, go to someone who knows what they are doing. There are sandpaper strips that can be used to polish off all of the bonding. After it is removed, you should be able to floss easily, get the floss under the gum, and the surface will feel smooth as you rub the floss up and down on the tooth surface.

– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

June 15, 2016

My composite bonding is turning yellow


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Hello Dr. Hall, 9 months ago I had dental bonding done on my four front teeth. There is quite a bit of composite on each tooth because I have been re-doing it every 3 or 4 years for 20 years. My question to you is, I see a bit of yellowing, is it possible to just polish them to try and whiten them again since they were done just 9 months ago? Thank you for your time!
– Linda from New Jersey

Linda,
One of the big differences between composite bonding and porcelain veneers is that the porcelain is very hard and stain-resistant (it resists stains better than tooth enamel), and composite is much softer and much more susceptible to stains, so it has a much shorter lifespan.

The good news is that with the composite bonding, usually those stains can be polished out, depending on the type of stains.

Composite is susceptible to two types of staining. The first type, the type that can be polished away, is a surface discoloration. The surface of the composite will get tiny scratches in it and become roughened which causes it to attract stains of all kinds. A good polishing will get rid of the scratches and the accompanying stain and restore gloss to the surface. Below is an example of this type of staining. You can see that the surface of the two front teeth has a matte finish from all the tiny scratches, as contrasted with the gloss of the adjacent natural teeth:

dental bonding with yellow staining

Photo courtesy of Dr. Robert Soto, San Francisco, CA

But composite will also absorb stains into the actual substance of the material. Composite is composed of inorganic filler particles such as quartz or glass bound together in a plastic matrix. Certain colored liquids, such as coffee, tea, cola drinks, or highly pigmented fruit juices, will actually penetrate the plastic part of the material and become a part of it.

dental bonding stained yellow

Photo courtesy of Dr. Mark W. Langberg, Southfield, MI

This type of stain will not come out with polishing. But this staining also occurs more slowly and can take a couple of years to become noticeable. At the right is an example of this type of staining. You can see that the composite has retained its gloss. The discoloration is coming from deep within, as stains have been absorbed by the material.

Preventing This Staining

There are several preventive measures you can take to get the bonding to keep its nice appearance for longer.
1. First, choose an expert cosmetic dentist who stocks a full inventory of esthetic bonding materials. General dentists will typically stock general purpose composites that are actually impossible to polish to the high gloss needed to resist stain and look like enamel. The surface of the bonding should be a microfill composite that is polished to a high shine.
2. Second, don’t use an abrasive toothpaste. While Supersmile toothpaste is quite a bit more expensive than your typical Crest, Colgate, or other drugstore brand, those general brands have abrasives in them that will scratch the surface of your bonding. Some of the abrasives are worse than others. I always provided my bonding patients with a first free tube of Supersmile, because it has no abrasives but rather lifts stains off by chemically dissolving the protein pellicle on the teeth.
3. Third, make sure your dental hygienist is polishing your teeth with a very fine abrasive. Pumice tooth polish is a big no-no. She or he should be using a fine aluminum oxide polish. Ask for this. (See my web page giving tips for maintenance of dental bonding.)
3. Fourth, beware of staining beverages. If you need to drink them, swallow them quickly rather than letting them sit in your mouth. And remember that hot beverages have more staining power than cold ones because they cause a slight expansion of the plastic, opening up microscopic pores that can be penetrated with the stain.

Finally, I would seriously consider switching to porcelain veneers. I don’t know how much your dentist is charging for this bonding, but dentists who do it well will charge quite a bit. Which costs more–doing composite bonding six times over 20 years, or doing porcelain veneers once for those same 20 years? Porcelain veneers done by an expert cosmetic dentist can easily look beautiful for 20 years. Porcelain is harder than tooth enamel and more stain-resistant. But go to an expert cosmetic dentist for porcelain veneers–don’t ask your family dentist to do this.

– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

April 5, 2016

Fixing a single discolored front tooth

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Dear Dr. Hall,

I had a left central incisor that underwent root canal treatment in 2004. It subsequently turned grey and I underwent internal bleaching last year.

The tooth still looks grey under certain lighting conditions and does not match my right central incisor. I am hesitant to get a porcelain veneer or crown as I would like to be as conservative with tooth structure as possible.

Also, I am aware of people who have problems with their porcelain veneers/crowns – poor colour matching, cracks, dislodgement, that result in repeated adjustments and more damage to the enamel each time.

Hence, I am considering composite veneers on either one or both central incisors to match them – if I need to change the composite veneers due to staining 5-7 years later, will I end up grinding off more enamel each time the composite veneer is changed? Is it possible to only drill off part of the old composite and bond a new composite veneer on the old composite itself(i.e. composite-composite bond)? If a composite-composite bond is feasible, then I could replace the veneers as required without harming any more natural tooth structure each time.

As composite veneers only last 5-7 years, I am worried that repeated replacements will eventually damage all my remaining enamel if more enamel has to be drilled each time (I am in my late 20s).

Please kindly advise if composite veneers would be a feasible long-term solution. I do not mind repeated costs, or having to visit the dentist every few months for touch up. My main concern is being conservative to the enamel, and finding a sustainable solution in the long run.

Also, will well-maintained and well done composite veneers look natural and blend well with the rest of my teeth?

Thank you Dr. Hall
– James, from an undisclosed location

James,
You’re not going to have to worry about possible damage from having this work re-done repeatedly if you get it done right. But if you don’t have it done right, yes, I have seen a minor correction to make two front teeth match escalate into two full crowns for the front teeth, where each tooth gets whittled down to a stub.

The key is going to be getting the right dentist. It is a small minority of dentists who will be able to get your tooth matched. And it is a slightly smaller minority who will do that in an ultra-conservative way, which sounds like what you want. But even if the dentist isn’t ultra-conservative, as long as it is done right you shouldn’t have to worry about repeated assaults on your tooth.

So your situation is one slightly discolored front tooth, and you’re apparently happy with the rest of your smile. The way I liked to treat cases like this was with direct dental bonding. I would shave off some of the front surface of the tooth to make room for the bonding material and so that the result would be no thicker than the companion front tooth. And then, with a combination of opaquers, tints, and composites of varying shades and translucencies, I would build up the discolored tooth to match its companion. I preferred using composite to doing a porcelain veneer because I could monkey with the color right there and get a perfect match without trips back and forth to the lab and having to communicate what I was seeing to the lab technician.

The same result could be accomplished with a single porcelain veneer. Some dentists will be very aggressive in their tooth preparation for a porcelain veneer and will grind away a lot of the tooth. But most expert cosmetic dentists will be pretty conservative, removing only a fraction of a millimeter of tooth structure. I would think that would meet your requirements of conservatism. And with a porcelain veneer, if the cosmetic dentist has done a lot of these, he or she will want to charge a premium fee, as I did, because there are going to be many trips this veneer will make back and forth to the lab with multiple try-ins to get the color perfect.

Lifespan of dental bonding

As far as the lifespan of the work, I will explain why I don’t think that should be a problem. With the bonding, it is the surface that deteriorates after maybe 3-5 years (longer if you use a gentle toothpaste like Supersmile), and the maintenance would simply be re-surfacing the composite. It wouldn’t have to be totally ground off and start over. With the porcelain veneer, if it is done right it could last many years. There isn’t a fixed lifespan there. If you take good care of it so that you don’t get decay on the edges or fracture it, it could possibly last twenty years. It’s not like a tire that wears out, but more like a piece of fine furniture that could fall prey to abuse, but if it is well cared-for could last indefinitely. And then a good cosmetic dentist would have tools to be able to remove the porcelain and bonding composite without significantly affecting the tooth.

If you get a dentist who wants to treat both your front teeth so as to guarantee a perfect match, take that as a red flag. The dentist doesn’t have confidence in his or her color skills to be able to match the adjacent tooth.

If you do want to share your location, I could help you further by possibly steering you to a cosmetic dentist who would be up to this task.
– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

August 31, 2015

Dentist got the tooth bonding color wrong, doesn’t want to fix it

Dr. Hall,

I would like to send photos of what we consider is a bonding error. My granddaughter (25 years old) had a gap fixed between her two front teeth, and then had her lateral incisors bonded to make them a little larger. She immediately remarked on the color difference between her front teeth and her lateral incisors. But the dentist then told her, “The color difference was to match your eye teeth.” But then later he told me on the phone that he used the same material on all her teeth. So these are two different stories. The central incisors look fine and the color looks fine, but he told my granddaughter that he used a darker color on her lateral incisors to match the eye teeth, but he told me he used the same color.
He now wants further payment for a correction. He says to try whitening toothpaste too. I already paid $350 for whitening by tray and gel, and $900 for the bonding work. Her lateral incisors are a definitive blue/grey.
Where can I send pictures?
Thanks
John from Ontario

(Note – John then sent these photos of his granddaughter’s teeth after I told him how to send them)

before dental bonding errorBefore dental bonding[/caption]

dental bonding error - color mismatchAfter dental bonding error showing color mismarch.[/caption]

You can see in the after photo that the lateral incisors look substantially darker than the centrals.

Dear John,

Actually, truth be told, the lateral incisors should be slightly LIGHTER than the central incisors—just slightly, and then the canine teeth are darker, in a natural smile. I think this dentist knows that, which makes it seem like he is trying to make excuses. So my answer is, yes, this is a dental bonding error, a cosmetic dentistry mistake. The teeth look fake and her smile doesn’t look natural. And you didn’t ask about the shaping of these two lateral incisors, but that looks off, too. The tooth color error is particularly noticeable and makes the case unacceptable, in my opinion. Like you said, they’re kind of a gray putty color and are actually darker than even the canine teeth.
But then the next question is what do you do about this. You say that you’re okay with the work that was done on the central incisors. It looks like there was a chip in one of the centrals that he must have fixed and a gap between the two central incisors that he also closed. That much looks okay to me, thought the photo is a little fuzzy.
There are two directions to take in trying to get some satisfaction from this dentist. You can ask that he fix it himself, or you can ask that he pay to have someone else do it right. Generally it is better, when you’re talking about cosmetic dentistry, to forget about trying to turn the first dentist into an artist. That just doesn’t happen. So I usually recommend getting someone else who can do it right and getting some compensation from the first dentist to cover those costs. But in this case it looks like he maybe did okay on fixing the central incisors (though the photo isn’t as sharp as I would like). And while the shaping of the laterals isn’t great, you seem satisfied with that and are only concerned about the color.
You’re welcome to take this dentist my email here. I would recommend not being confrontational. Like I said, it appears that he did a nice job on the central incisors. See if you can get him to agree to re-do the bonding on the laterals. Bleaching isn’t going to work. Toothpaste isn’t going to work. I kind of think he knows that, too. The color is embedded in the bonding, and it needs to be removed and replaced with a lighter color. It needs to closely match the central incisors, maybe just a teeny tad lighter.
And then, of course, this needs to be at his expense. You paid to have a nice smile, and you haven’t gotten it yet. He should make good on the work.

Dr. Hall

Read more about fixing a discolored tooth from a root canal treatment.

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

August 10, 2012

Do cosmetic dentists have to be artists if they outsource their porcelain work?

Dear Dr. Hall, How does one find a good cosmetic dentist that can do good bonding work? Most cosmetic dentist outsource their veneers and crowns to labs, but bonding is in the hand of a dentist. How do we filter the good and the bad? Does your list of referred dentist look at bonding work, in addition to veneers and crowns?
James from San Francisco

James,
Yes, the excellent cosmetic dentists that I recommend, for the most part, will also do beautiful direct dental bonding work. I say “for the most part,” because even some excellent cosmetic dentists don’t like doing direct bonding, but I would say that 90% of them do.

But I’d also like to address this question about “outsourcing” of their porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns to labs, because some people have the mistaken notion that if it’s a great esthetically inclined dental lab, it doesn’t really matter who the dentist is because it’s the lab that creates the porcelain work. I guess they think of it like buying artwork from a gallery – it doesn’t matter which gallery you bought it from, it only matters who the artist is.

But there are a couple of reasons that this isn’t true.

First of all, a great dental ceramist cannot really work around a poor dentist to produce a beautiful final result. The dentist starts by preparing the teeth and planning out the case. How the tooth is prepared and the quality of the tooth preparation as well as the quality of the impression that is sent to the laboratory is critical to the success of the case. Then the dentist is the one who writes the prescription, giving detailed instructions about the shade map of the final result, the surface texture, the degree of translucency, a mock-up of the final result desired, and a lot of other details. And then when the work comes back from the lab, it’s the dentist who approves the work and decides whether the case is ready to be bonded onto the patient or needs to be sent back to the technician. No, while a great laboratory technician is required for a great final result, there is too much that the dentist does for the case for an artistic laboratory technician to be able to produce a beautiful result in spite of the dentist.

Second, a dentist without a great artistic eye will not use the services of a great ceramist. Those services cost more, and it just doesn’t happen that you would get a “great ceramist – poor dentist” matchup. Oh, there are some dentists who are not very good cosmetic dentists who will use a name brand laboratory like DaVinci or Microdental in California to impress their patients, but those are large dental laboratories with large numbers of ceramists of varying levels of ability, and they will not assign their best ceramists to work with dentists whose work they perceive to be of lower quality. I’m sure it’s not something they talk about, but it doesn’t happen that way.

So pick the artistic cosmetic dentist, and that dentist will assume responsibility for the quality of the final result. That is the way for a patient to get beautiful cosmetic dentistry.

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

January 22, 2011

How long do resin veneers last?

Filed under: Tooth bonding,Toothpaste — Tags: , , , — mesasmiles @ 7:09 pm

Dear Dr Hall Hope you don’t mind a question from across the other side of the world! I came across your website and thought I should order some of the supersmile toothpast that you recommend. My question is, have you heard of resin veneers lasting a very long time, i.e. 10 years and counting? I’m worried that they might all start to deteriorate at the same time! Many thanks for your time – much appreciated.
– Ruth from Adelaide

Ruth,
Do not mind questions from you Aussies. This makes two from Australia this month.
It isn’t unusual to see porcelain veneers lasting ten, even twenty years. I had some patients I watched for about 15 years after doing their porcelain veneers and never saw them “wear out.”  

Resin veneers require much more care. Their surfaces can get dull very easily, and I have seen some start to get dingy within a year or two. But you do extend their life by taking care of them well, and gentle yet powerful Supersmile toothpaste gets stains off without abrasives. Whenever any of my patients had extensive composite resin work, I gave them a free starter tube of Supersmile, and I encouraged them to use that as their only toothpaste.

And I would watch that your dental hygienist doesn’t use anything abrasive in your cleanings. They typically use pumice to polish your teeth, but this will scratch the resin veneers. Aluminum oxide polishes can help restore their luster.

Thanks,
Dr. Hall

Links: read more about care of porcelain veneers. Read about post-operative instructions for care of dental bonding and resin veneers.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

November 8, 2010

Can I whiten my dental bonding?

Filed under: Tooth bonding,Tooth whitening — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 6:51 pm

Dr Hall,
I have bonding on my two front teeth. The bonding is about 14 years old and should be replaced but I dont have the money at the moment. I understand that bonding doesnt change color with bleaching. My questions is can I atleast bleach the bonding back to its orginal color? Will the white strips change the color at all?
– Robert from Philadelphia

Robert,

No teeth bleaching will get your dental bonding any whiter. It will only make it look worse because it will whiten your natural teeth and won’t affect the color of the bonding.

It’s possible that the bonding could be made to look better with a little polishing. If the discoloration of the bonding is from external stains and is not internal to the bonding material, it’s possible that the discoloration could be polished away by an expert cosmetic dentist.

Otherwise, it would have to be replaced.

If you’re short of money, it would be smart to wait. Don’t go looking for bargains in cosmetic dentistry, especially with dental bonding. It requires artistic talent to do that right, and most dentists don’t even have the materials on hand to do that right. We list several excellent cosmetic dentists in the Philadelphia area, and I would go to one of them if it matters to you how this looks.

Dr. Hall

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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