Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

October 1, 2018

Better to do nothing than cheap cosmetic dentistry


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Dear Dr. Hall,
I reside in Henderson, NV. I have four porcelain fused to metal crowns on my front teeth since I was 24 yrs old. In 2015, I wanted to update dental work, I ‘Kör whitened‘ my teeth, which made those crowns look bad. I visited a cosmetic dentist, Dr. Featherstone who you have listed on your website. At that time, my paltry insurance would not co-operate, so I didn’t stay with Featherstone. His billing assistant actually had a credit application there to apply for a loan. Plus, she said, we had to pay in advance, and if there were money left over at the end, they’d refund it. My husband & I slunk out of there, glad to be free of that.

Next, I visited Dr. Michael Wilson, the only other one on your Nevada list. He would not do four, only eight, saying about four, “You won’t like it.” At first I agreed to do it, right then and there, he measured for a laboratory wax-up version, $800. I backed out the next morning, and a week later went and picked up the model. He was decent about it, and we left the door open.

Well, from there, I went to my general dentist, Dr. F. Those original crowns from when I was young were big and long and gave me a big smile, in every picture all my life. Now, Dr. F’s version are short, greenish (I picked the wrong shade). His words were, “I’ll make sure you get the teeth that you want.” But, he couldn’t please me, and ended up giving it to his assistant. I mean, it was excruciating, going over it again and again. You finally just settle. These teeth are too short, when I wake up in the morning with mouth agape, you can’t even see any teeth (thus, it makes you look like an old person). She remarked, “Oh, you probably are looking on the internet, and expect these perfect teeth.” Yes, exactly. I had your examples and pictures in hand.

Anyway, here I am, three years later, still not sure where to turn. Thank you for letting me vent. I live with this. My husband raises his voice at just the very mention of it.

Thank you very much.
– LaRae from Nevada

LaRae,
Quite the story you have.

I’m confident that either Dr. Featherstone or Dr. Wilson would have done a beautiful job for you. I’ve seen work from both of them and have interviewed them both. It’s too bad that they were too expensive for you. Your case illustrates a point I often make—if you can’t afford quality cosmetic dentistry, it’s better to do nothing and save up to have it done right than to go cheap. If the first dentist who did the Kör bleaching knew what he was doing and was honest with you, he would have told you that the crowns wouldn’t bleach and the results would commit you to re-doing the crowns. It would have been good to have had a complete plan from an expert cosmetic dentist from the start.

About Dr. Wilson wanting to do 8 crowns instead of 4—we see this where good cosmetic dentists will disagree on how to proceed with a case and in some cases will turn down a case unless they can do it the way they think will turn out the best. When I was practicing, I was more like Dr. Featherstone where I might compromise on a case because a patient didn’t want to spend more to get the “perfect” result.

– Dr. Hall

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Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

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.

September 6, 2018

Matching the color on a crown for a front tooth


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Hi Dr. Hall,
I had a root canal done on my front tooth over 10 years ago. In the past few years I had noticed a blue discoloration at the top of the tooth. After trying internal bleaching, my dentist ended up doing a crown.

The first crown that came back from the lab looked very white. He redid it. The next tooth, which is in my mouth now, looks better but doesn’t match the other front tooth. The dentist permanently cemented it in, but when I got home and took some selfies I was unhappy with how unnaturally white it looks.

The dentist will give it another try but my question is — should I let him try again or go to someone else who specializes in cosmetic dentistry? I now live in Princeton, NJ and my dentist is in Brooklyn. Cost is a factor.
Thanks,
Ronnie

Ronnie,
Doing a crown on a single front tooth is a tricky procedure. The slightest variation in color between the two front teeth is usually very noticeable. And it isn’t just the overall color—any tooth has multiple colors in it. Even expert cosmetic dentists will often have multiple try-ins before they get the crown to match perfectly. When I was in practice, I charged about 40% more for crowning a single front tooth because we would typically send it back to the lab three or four times until we got it perfect and I would charge the extra fee because of all the extra appointments. Dentists with poor cosmetic dentistry skills sometimes ask patients to crown both front teeth in order to get the color right.

That your dentist would think that the crown would look right after one or two trips to the lab shows either inexperience or a low level of commitment to excellent cosmetic dentistry. I’m not meaning to imply condemnation with that comment because that is typical of the overwhelming majority of dentists—maybe 98% of them. So yes, if you want this done so that your two front teeth match perfectly, you need to raise your sights and go to an excellent cosmetic dentist such as we recommend. There are several excellent ones within reasonable driving distance of Princeton, say 15-30 miles.

However, depending on how big a factor cost is for you, and if your dentist is willing to work with you to get this right for no extra charge, you may want to stick with this dentist to save the money of having another dentist start over with you. And, I would add, if you are willing to make several more trips back to Brooklyn. To help the process, you or the dentist should get hold of a good digital camera that is capable of taking a clear photograph of the new crown in place next to your natural tooth under outside light, such as right next to a window. That will go a long way toward helping the ceramist pin down the right color. And be sure that the crown is only temporarily cemented until you have seen it under various lighting conditions.

If you want perfection—a crown so natural that you can’t distinguish it from the real tooth next to it—you need the expert cosmetic dentist. But if you are willing to accept some compromise of that ideal in order to save money—try letting your dentist have some more tries to get this closer.
– Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment or anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

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.

February 13, 2018

The hundred thousand dollar smile makeover


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Dear Dr. Hall,
I have had a terrible experience with my “smile-makeover.” It turned out horrible, so the dentist just refunded my money, and I am looking for a new dentist. I found your website while I was still his patient and was able to figure out that he had little to no knowledge of what you describe as a true cosmetic dentist.

So I made appointments with the first 3 cosmetic dentists on your list. I must say I was so disappointed with the 1st. While he rightly said my bite was off, I was there for a 2nd opinion of the 6 upper anterior crowns I had. He said I would first need to spend $300-400 with his hygienist, and then, to deal with my bite issues and everything the cost would range between $50,000 and $100,000. “About the price of a new car,” he said. I only wish I could replace my 6-yr-old car bought used, for 1/3 his idea of a new car. He never got to what type of smile I would end up with, as his idea was to build up my back teeth and have “an appliance” covering several teeth and add porcelain “where needed.”

My teeth and gums are pristine according to a general dentist I went to for opinion and a periodontist I also went to for opinion earlier. I don’t understand why I need all of this, and I can’t begin to afford this and want your opinion.
Thanks,
– Sally from Texas

Sally,
There’s a great variation in what some expert cosmetic dentists charge, and the fees you’ve been quoted are definitely on the high side, even if you actually need all the work that has been quoted. I would keep going down the list and get another opinion. Meanwhile, let me give you a little insight into what I think is going on in your case.

You said that you know your bite is off, and it appears that you’re being quoted a fee for a full-mouth reconstruction to rebuild your bite. Do you actually need that? I don’t know that, but I can tell you that some dentists are very fussy perfectionists and they insist that every patient accept what they call “ideal treatment.” Other dentists are more pragmatic and will consider other options for patients who can’t afford the ideal. Fortunately, you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where we have several recommended cosmetic dentists. Go ahead and shop around for second opinions.

I want to tell you a story about this cost issue and dentists’ fee levels. There is a city where we have two recommended cosmetic dentists—let’s call them Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones. Dr. Smith is famous and has patients flying in from far and wide to see him. He does absolutely exquisite work. Dr. Jones also does very beautiful work and has won awards for the beauty of his work. Dr. Smith’s fees are about triple of what Dr. Jones charges. Is Dr. Jones an inferior dentist? I don’t think so because, guess what, Dr. Smith goes to Dr. Jones for his dental work.

So get another opinion or two.

Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment or a question or anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

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 27, 2017

I’d like to see cost information on the dentist’s website


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Dr. Hall,
Thank you for providing all the dental cost information.

I wonder if Dentists would be willing to post their dental cost on their website so that we don’t waste their time by not being able to afford their fee. Western Dental post their fees online. I love it because I can compare prices before I make an appointment.

Gilroy from California

Dear Gilroy,
As you’ve noticed, some dentists do post cost information on their website. But most don’t.

The reason is that most dentists aren’t angling for the “cheap dental care” market. They know how to trim costs, use cheaper materials, do procedures faster—all of these would enable them to charge cheaper fees. They just don’t want to practice dentistry that way.

If that is what you’re looking for, I would look for that cost information online, because those will be the dentists who want to compete on price. But I wouldn’t recommend that, even if you’re looking to save money. Which is cheaper, a $150 filling that lasts 5 years, or a $220 filling that lasts 25 years? Now, I’m not implying that the higher fee dentist is necessarily better. But I’m pretty sure that the cheapest dentist isn’t going to use the best materials and the most careful technique.

I do think that it’s smart to avoid dentists with exorbitant fees. I will tell you what I did when I moved to a new city and was trying to size up my options in selecting a dentist. I called the office and asked for fees for a couple of common procedures, to see if they were excessive. I was prepared to pay more than the going rate, but I didn’t want a dentist who was going to charge, say, double. To me, dentists like that aren’t the most caring, and that’s what I wanted to avoid. I would suggest asking for the fees for:
• a routine cleaning
• a two-surface composite filling on a back tooth
• a crown on a back tooth

Comparing those fees should give you an idea of the going rate in your community and help you know where each particular dentist stands as far as affordability.

– Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment or a question or anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

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.

May 3, 2017

A victim of shoddy dental work in Croatia


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Dr. Hall,
I had $60,000 worth of dental work done in Croatia for $11,000. It was a great deal until the veneers are starting to fall off. That was in September 2015. I have a 10-yr warranty so I will be going back in September for hopefully permanent repairs.

I was eating a piece of chocolate cake in March when the veneer to the left of my front tooth popped off intact. A week later eating spaghetti the other one on the side of the front tooth fell off. Today after eating spaghetti one of the front teeth popped off. I had all on 6 done on the upper and an implant and replacement crowns on the bottom. I don’t think this should have happened.

I thought we got porcelain and I have not been eating with my front teeth, I cut everything up as instructed. My husband and I are baffled why it is not very strong. Will they have to re do my entire upper teeth or will they glue this back on? I can’t have anyone else touch it as it is under warranty so now I am gluing them on with Polident which lasts 3 hrs. I am so bummed out 4 months before I can get them fixed. Thanks for any insight.

– Cindy from US Virgin Islands

Cindy,
When they told you not to eat with your front teeth, that’s a big red flag. Properly bonded, you should be able to eat anything you want. Your dentist’s instructions remind me of what one patient told me – that her dentist told her that her porcelain veneers would come off every few months. A dentist who is placing these correctly wouldn’t put any of these restrictions on your activities.

I wouldn’t have any reason to believe that if they didn’t know the right way to bond on porcelain veneers in 2015, why they would know now and do it right. Why are you going back to these people?

Knowing that they didn’t know how to do porcelain veneers right, I would question all of the work they did for you–the dental implant and the crowns. I would recommend a second opinion on all of it.

What to do about your smile for now? If the veneers are truly porcelain and if they have fallen off intact, an expert cosmetic dentist should be able to clean them up and get them bonded correctly. But this is beyond the knowledge and abilities of probably 95% of family dentists. You need a dentist with strong expertise in cosmetic dentistry bonding techniques, who knows how to etch the porcelain and bond it correctly. The cost for re-bonding these veneers should be relatively small. I would recommend going to one of the cosmetic dentists we recommend and having them fix this for you.

– Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment or a question or anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

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 22, 2015

Follow-up on crowns vs veneers for tetracycline stained teeth

Earlier this week I fielded a question from Michele from Florida. She wondered if she should get crowns or veneers for her severely tetracycline-stained teeth. I asked her some questions about the fees and the dentist she was talking about. Here is her reply, and my response to that reply:

Dr. Hall
Thanks for your input. The cosmetic dentist is Dr. A (name withheld to help preserve Michele’s identity). He wants to charge me $42,000 for a full mouth of veneers (two teeth require crowns due to damage). The other dentist wants $26,000 for crowns. My budget cannot go over $30,000. Also, I forgot to mention that I grind my teeth at night and wear an appliance. I’ve read that veneers don’t stand up to grinding as well as crowns.

My response:

I know the cosmetic dentist you went to, and he is really good. He would give you a stunning smile. I’m not surprised that his fees are high—he is worth it.
About your grinding (also called bruxism). If you wear your nightguard, you should have no problem with your veneers. If you grind your teeth, you are actually at higher risk with crowns because then you don’t just chip off the edge—you break off the entire tooth. I had several patients who had to deal with that and you end up with implants later in life. Once you break off a front tooth at the gumline, if you’re a grinder, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with it. You see, with a crown you grind off a full millimeter of the tooth, all the way around. So if you have an upper lateral incisor that is 5 or 6 millimeters in diameter (let’s say 5.5 mm) at the gumline, then you grind down 1 mm all the way around, you now have 3.5 mm diameter. So you used to have a cross-sectional area of 95 square mm – now you have 38 square mm. So you now have 40 % of the strength left, when you’re talking about resistance to breaking off at the gumline. People who grind break these teeth off when they’ve been prepared for crowns. The lower teeth are even worse. You actually cut the strength of lower incisors down to about 1/4th of their original strength.
Here are a couple of options I would suggest:
1. Do just the upper with Dr. A and do Kör Whitening on the lower. That way you get a stunning smile and cut the cost about in half. Kör, if you use it for long enough, will have a significant effect on the tetracycline stains and lighten them enough to be acceptable as lower teeth. Then at some later point, if you feel you need to improve the result even further, you could do the lower. I had a couple of cases of tetracycline stain that I treated where we did just the uppers and didn’t do anything to the lower. With most people, the lowers don’t show as much, especially if you are younger. And even when they do show, they are kind of in the shadows.
or
2. Check out Dr. B. He is in your city. I know him also, and he also does beautiful work and his fees might be within your budget. His work isn’t at the level of Dr. A, but it’s good. Call and find out what he charges per tooth for porcelain veneers. If that doesn’t work, you could find someone else that you could drive to see. I’m confident you could find someone who could do beautiful porcelain veneers and stay within your budget. Even if you needed to fly somewhere, if the fees were $15,000 less, it would be worth it.
The interesting thing about the costs of cosmetic dentistry is that really the fees are pretty comparable for a good general dentist and a good cosmetic dentist (with the exception of exceptional artists like Dr. A).

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 30, 2012

I’m an adult with baby-sized teeth

Dr. Hall,
If you’re an adult with baby sized teeth. Can tooth bonding make them Adult size? If so, what is an estimate price for enlarging 4 teeth and closing a Gap?
Tiffany from California

Tiffany,
The best solution for making small teeth larger would be porcelain veneers. While dental bonding could be used, that’s not the best solution, and I’ll explain why.

The dental bonding material is relatively soft, compared to, say, tooth enamel, which is very hard. It will feel hard to the touch, but it is susceptible to scratching, and it can also absorb stains. So it won’t look that good for very long. Porcelain, however, is even harder than tooth enamel and less susceptible to staining. So what you would have with dental bonding would be a smile that would look really great for a year or two and then it would start to look dull and stained. But with porcelain veneers, with proper care they will stay shiny and bright for 10, 15, 20 years or more. Dental bonding can be less expensive – done well it may cost maybe 2/3 of what porcelain veneers would cost. But by the time you replace it or resurface it 4 or 5 times it ends up being considerably more expensive.

For a beautiful job, expect to pay $1000 to $2000 per tooth, maybe a little more on the higher end where you are in southern California.

And be very careful where you go for your porcelain veneers and absolutely do not try to look for bargains here. While many dentists claim to be able to place porcelain veneers, only about one in fifty is artistic enough to do a good job with them. If the procedure is too expensive for you, the best choice would be to do nothing. Your own natural, small teeth will look better than a poorly done set of porcelain veneers. But if you go ahead and get veneers and then don’t like how the final result looks, you will have no legal recourse. Look for our cosmetic dentistry horror stories section to read more, if you’re not convinced.

Dr. Hall

Links: Look for more blog posts about cosmetic dentistry horror stories.

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

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 25, 2012

What is your opinion of Premium Home Whitening products?

Dr. Hall,
I got an offer through Groupon for a product called Premium Home Whitening, for whitening your teeth. Is this a worthwhile product?
– Ann from Arkansas

Ann,
I looked at their website, and I have a couple of comments.

First, their teeth whitening agent is 35% carbamide peroxide. This is a valid whitening agent – it will whiten your teeth. And, with the exception of the “cold blue light” that they add to the process, which I don’t believe will accelerate anything, I don’t see any hocus-pocus in the technique or the products they offer. However, I can’t endorse what they are doing for a couple of reasons.

First, their price is kind of high. They are charging $158.00 for the whitening kit. While some dentists charge more than this (some charge a lot more), some charge less. If your dentist charges more than this and you just don’t want to pay that fee, I’d just shop around for another dentist. Sometime, just after you’ve had your teeth cleaned and checked, just call around. Tell the new office you’ve just had a cleaning and an exam and just need the whitening. How much would it be? Go to that dentist for your whitening, and back to your regular dentist for your other care. Or, another approach would be to level with your dentist. If it were me, I would just say, ‘Hey, I found this offer for a kit I can buy for $158, and I read comments by a dentist online who said this would really whiten my teeth. If you can come down on your fee to something close to that, I’ll get it from you.”

You see, there are two problems with buying this kit over-the-counter. The first is the tray that they make is not going to fit nearly as closely as the one a dentist will make for you. So you are going to have a lot of leakage, which causes three problems. First, there is a reduction in effectiveness when the tray leaks. Second, you waste a lot of gel, which drives up the cost even more. Third, there is a greater chance of irritating the gums.

And then there is the safety issue. I published a report a couple of years ago of a woman who needed a root canal on her front tooth because of the side effects of an over-the-counter whitening system. It’s always best to use this kind of thing under professional supervision. There are issues about existing dental work, exposed root surfaces, open margins on fillings, etc., that should be checked before starting whitening.

For those reasons, you are much better off getting this service from a dentist. You do not need an expert cosmetic dentist for most routine whitening cases – this is one area of cosmetic dentistry where almost any dentist will do.

– Dr. Hall

Links: Can I whiten my teeth while nursing or pregnant?
Three types of teeth stains.

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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 17, 2012

How long after cosmetic dental work should I feel pain?

One month ago, I went to Mexico for cosmetic dentistry. The dentist completed 12 lower crowns and 6 veneers on the front upper teeth. Since getting the work completed (2 1/2 weeks ago now), my lower jaw has been extremely painful. It’s not in the gums, but my jaw itself. One tooth hurts to chew anything (even something soft, like bread). I asked the dentist about it and she said to take ibuprofen for a few weeks because so much work was done in such a short amount of time; and that the crown on the tooth that’s sensitive to chewing may have high contact, or need a root canal. That tooth does not touch any of the top teeth when I clench. I’m concerned that I’m having to take so much ibuprofen, and that it’s not really helping the real issue. Should I still be experiencing pain at this point? I take 800mg of Ibuprofen every 4-6 hrs – that can’t be good!!
– Julie from Iowa

Julie,
This doesn’t sound good.

The dentist told you to take ibuprofen for a FEW WEEKS??? Are you serious? So much ibuprofen over that long a period of time can damage your liver or your kidneys. You are taking 3200 to 4000 milligrams a day. I think the maximum recommended dose is about 2400 mg per day over short periods.

No, this kind of pain after getting crowns or porcelain veneers is not normal. Something is wrong. Some tenderness or soreness for a couple of days maybe could be expected. And your teeth should all be touching evenly.

You need a second opinion from a reputable American dentist. You have two excellent cosmetic dentists near you. [Names not included in this post]. Have one of them look you over and see what is wrong before this gets out of control and so you can get off this ibuprofen immediately. It does sound like you may need a root canal treatment. Don’t have that done in Mexico, please.

Only about one out of every fifty dentists in the United States is capable of doing a beautiful smile makeover. However, most of our dentists are fairly competent in general dentistry. If you go to Mexico, your chances of getting in trouble with even basic general dentistry are high, and there are probably only a handful of good cosmetic dentists in the entire country. One for sure—there may be more.

Dr. Hall

Links: Read more about cosmetic dentistry costs.
Read more about the quality of dental care outside the US.

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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.

October 18, 2010

A Snap-On Smile for a Recovered Bulimic?

Filed under: Bulimia,Snap-On Smile — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 7:39 pm

I am a recovered bulimic and as a result I have no enamel on my top teeth and they are worn down greatly. My bottom teeth has very little enamel on them and my teeth are extremely sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks. would a snap on smile work for me because I do not have dental insurance and the expenses would come out of pocket. I really need some help with my teeth and was told i need veneers on all my teeth which came to be almost $20,000. it is very hard for me to chew and I cannot bite down on any foods. please let me know the best direction I am desperate.
– Kelly

Kelly,
You have several problems due to your bulimia. Your top teeth are very worn, so they don’t look attractive. They are very sensitive, and it’s hard to eat with them.

The most a Snap-On Smile would do for you is help with the appearance. It wouldn’t strengthen your teeth any or make them less sensitive. It may cost $1000 or more. If the improvement in your appearance is all you want, then look into that. But I suspect you want more than that.

You’re in kind of a tough spot, because not just any dentist will do for fixing this for you. They need to be very artistic because these are your front teeth. But you also need a dentist who will work with you financially.

It isn’t necessary to do all of this dental work at once. I would hunt around a little bit to see if you can find a dentist who will be sympathetic to your plight. If they present a $20,000 treatment plan to you, just say, “There is no way I can afford that. Is there any other way I can do this?” And then see if they’re willing to suggest some options, or if they’re hard-nosed with you. That will help you select the right dentist.

Check with the dentists we list for your area. I know that their cosmetic dentistry is first rate. I don’t know how sympathetic they would be to your situation. Generally the dentists we list are very good that way, but that’s not a sure thing.

And I’m wondering why your dentist suggested doing porcelain veneers for you. Bulimia affects the back side of your front teeth the most. Porcelain veneers cover the front only. So I’m confused at that treatment plan. What you need is bonded all-porcelain crowns. I’m hesitant to say that, because I’m afraid you’ll go to a dentist and say, “I want you to do bonded all-porcelain crowns.” That would be a mistake. If a dentist doesn’t recommend that general type of crown without any prompting from you, you have the wrong dentist.

And in bulimia, the upper front teeth are affected much more than any other teeth. I did two bulimia cases in my practice, and in both cases I only did upper teeth because the lower teeth were only slightly affected. It’s the insides of the upper front teeth that are the most damaged. Eight or ten crowns could do quite a bit toward resolving your problems.

I wish you well. You’re courageous to confront this head-on, and you deserve to be treated well.
– Dr. Hall

See our page: Bulimia and teeth.

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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