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Can I Get Porcelain Veneers If I Have an Overbite?

Something my dentist said doesn’t seem right. I want to get porcelain veneers. He said because my overbite almost completely covers my bottom teeth I can’t and need crowns instead. Is that right? I would think crowns would be harder than veneers in that situation. I know I’m not a dentist, but I still wanted to double check. Something else to consider is my teeth are very stained from some medicine I took when I was a kid, so I’ll want to somehow make my bottom teeth match even though my top teeth cover most of them.

Karyn G.

Dear Karyn,

Porcelain veneers being placed on a tooth

Wow! I wish I had a buzzer of some sort…and possibly a time machine. At your appointment when your dentist made that seriously lame excuse, I’d have buzzed it and shouted, “Points for trying!” then dragged you out of his office fast.

Your dentist is obviously not a cosmetic dentist. He’s more comfortable doing porcelain crowns then porcelain veneers, so he makes up an excuse that you astutely picked up didn’t make any sense. Crowns make so much less sense because it affects the back of your teeth. Plus, with crowns, you’d have to grind healthy tooth structure down to nubs.

Getting the Best Porcelain Veneers Results

For you to get a good result, you’ll need to go to a different dentist. You want a highly skilled cosmetic dentist, especially considering the staining you mentioned on your teeth. When you said staining from childhood medicine, I’m thinking you may have tetracycline stains. This also means you need an expert cosmetic dentist even more. Tetracycline stains are especially difficult. You have to get the veneers opaque enough to cover the stains, but still get a natural, translucent look.

So, now that you know you need an expert, how do you find one?

My recommendation is you look on the mynewsmile.com website. They only recommend the best cosmetic dentists in each area. They have to demonstrate both technical skill and artistry. They cannot simply pay a fee to get on the site. You’ll be safe with anyone on their site.

As for whitening, yes, you’ll whiten the bottom teeth. With tetracycline stains it can be difficult, but Kor Whitening has had more success than most. A good cosmetic dentist will know that though, so you should be fine.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steven Bader.

Would a Holistic Dentist Remove My Metal Fillings?

I have several metal fillings which I recently learned contain mercury. I was astonished. I went to my dentist and asked him to remove them and put in the white fillings instead, which I’m told don’t have mercury. He said that wasn’t a good idea. While he can give me white fillings in the future, taking out the metal fillings would expose me to mercury vapors. Aren’t I exposed to that already? Would a holistic dentist help? I hear they don’t believe in metal fillings.

Charissa E.

Dear Charissa,

You aren’t the only patient who’s been surprised to learn what is in their old-fashioned, silver-colored fillings. They’re called amalgam fillings because they’re made up of various metals. But, the largest metal content is mercury.

While you are inhaling some mercury vapors from your filling, removing them releases substantially more. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them though. They can be replaced with white (composite) fillings, which as you’ve heard are mercury-free. You just have to go to the right dentist to do it.

Can Holistic Dentists Safely Remove Amalgam fillings?

There are two types of dentists who generally understand the importance of getting rid of amalgam fillings. The first is to go to a holistic dentist. They’ll know how to do what is called a sanitary amalgam removal. This protects you from both mercury vapors and from swallowing bits of filling that contain the mercury during the removal process. I recommend Holistic dentists first because they always take more precautions with what they introduce to your body, thinking more about your whole health instead of just your teeth.

However, some patients don’t live near a holistic dentist. In that case, I’d recommend a mercury-free dentist. Many of them also perform sanitary amalgam removals as well. Just be sure to ask that they know the procedure and practice it regularly first.

Once the white fillings are finished, their color can’t be changed. Your dentist will match them to the color of your teeth. If you’ve got very stained teeth, as many adults do, you might want to consider having teeth whitening done prior to having your fillings removed. This will give you a nice healthy white color to match your composite fillings to.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

What Do You Think of Lumineers for a Tooth Gap?

I have a giant tooth gap. I think the dentist said 8 mm. Originally my dentist recommended snap on smile, but I ended up not liking those. It looked completely fake. Even if it had looked better, I wouldn’t have been happy with it long because I couldn’t wear it all the time. I wasn’t sure what to do and I definitely don’t want a mouth full of metal braces. So, my dentist recommended Lumineers. This time I want to get a second opinion before I spend money on another useless procedure. Especially, because this one is so much more expensive.

Maddy K.

Dear Maddy,

Newton Invisalign

I can’t tell you how glad I am you wrote. You’re going to be glad to because I am about to save you from a very expensive disaster. You mentioned your snap-on smile looked completely fake. My guess is that’s because your dentist isn’t a skilled cosmetic dentist. Snap-on smile isn’t as stunning as porcelain veneers no matter how well they’re done, but they certainly shouldn’t look fake.

Lumineers are a brand of porcelain veneers which are often marketed to inexperienced dentists as being easy to place. While they may be easy to place, they’re definitely not easy to make beautiful. In fact, most expert cosmetic dentists won’t place them because their lab isn’t one of the best.

Your case is more complicated. The gap between your teeth is large enough to fit another tooth. It would take a highly skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist.

Two Solutions: Invisalign or Porcelain Veneers

There are two good options for you. The first is Invisalign. You mentioned you were opposed to braces. By any chance did your dentist mention Invisalign as an alternative to you? It uses clear aligners to straighten your teeth, and in less time than traditional braces.

Because it uses aligners instead of metal, no one can tell you’re even wearing anything. They also have a very high patient satisfaction rate because of how comfortable they are. And, to top it off, it’s significantly less expensive than the Lumineers options.

Your second option is porcelain veneers. Lumineers are just a brand of porcelain veneers. You won’t want that brand. Find an expert cosmetic dentist by using mynewsmile.com. They recommend the best cosmetic dentists in each area. Get a consultation. Because of its cost, this option really only makes sense if there are other things you want to change about your smile. It can give you a gorgeous complete smile makeover. But, you will only like the results if you get the right dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

My Heart Doctor Wants Me to Get Checked for Sleep Apnea

I was sent to a heart doctor because my heart rate has jumped significantly. I’ve had tachycardia on a regular basis. After a consultation, he said the first thing he want’s me to do is get a sleep study. He feels certain I have sleep apnea. What does that have to do with heart problems?

Mila Y

Dear Mila,

Boston Sleep Apnea

Believe it or not, a great many heart problems are caused by untreated sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, the tissue in the back of your throat relaxes while you sleep. In the process, it blocks your breathing passage, depriving you of oxygen. Your body realizes you’re no longer breathing and wakes you up. You wake up with a start (just enough to get a breath) and generally fall back asleep without even realizing you’d stopped breathing and woken up. This cycle can repeat many times throughout the night, sometimes hundreds of times.

You can imagine the type of stress this puts on your heart. It has to pump significantly more in order to make up for the lost oxygenation to your body. If you deal with the sleep apnea, you give your heart the needed rest, which should bring your heart rate back to normal.

A sleep study can tell you a lot. If sleep apnea isn’t the problem, there are other reasons for tachycardia, so there are other things for your cardiologist to look out. But, you always want to eliminate the least invasive solutions first, if they seem like a possibility. One symptom of sleep apnea is snoring.

Why do a heart ablation if a simple orthotic device, while you’re sleeping, will solve the problem?

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Does it Damage Veneers to Use Whitening Strips?

I have four porcelain veneers. I really love them. They’re as beautiful today as they were when I first got them. The problem I currently have is the adjacent teeth. My visible smile is wider than those four teeth. While the veneers have held their white color, my natural teeth haven’t. I really need to whiten them but I’m afraid of damaging my porcelain veneers. Would it be safe to whiten the nearby teeth?

Amanda S.

Dear Amanda,

Newton Porcelain Veneers

I’m glad you’re so happy with your smile makeover. Don’t feel too bad about your natural teeth not keeping up. Porcelain veneers are more stain resistant than your natural tooth structure. Because of that and the fact that most smiles are wider than four teeth, most expert cosmetic dentists place six veneers at a minimum, but usually eight or ten. That way you don’t have to battle your adjacent teeth having a color difference from your veneered teeth.

Teeth whitening won’t harm your porcelain veneers. Whitening only affects natural tooth structure. You’re going to bump up against two problems, though.

1. It’s very hard to match teeth whitening to other dental work. Usually, you’d do the whitening procedure first until you achieved the level of whiteness you wanted. Then, you would add the porcelain crowns or veneers, depending on your procedure. Whitening after your veneers are placed means you’ll just have to get it as close as you can. It’s kind of a guessing game.

2. The second problem you’re going to face is your teeth will become discolored again. Then, you’ll be faced doing this whole procedure again with another guessing game.

It might be simpler to have veneers placed on the exposed teeth that match your current veneers. That way your color will stay consistent within your smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Is It True Holistic Dentists Don’t Believe in Root Canal Treatments?

I was considering going to a holistic dentist because I like the idea of considering the whole body in treatment and not having to worry about getting a filling loaded with mercury. But, my sister told me they don’t believe in root canal treatments. I’m worried they’ll just extract a problem tooth that could have been saved with a root canal treatment.

Marissa L.

Dear Marissa,

Boston Holistic Dentist

That’s a great question. You’re right to be wary of unnecessarily extracting a tooth, when it can be saved. There is a fringe group of holistic dentists who feel that doing a root canal treatment leaves some bacteria in your teeth, leaving you at risk.

But, if you look at it logically, we always have both good and bad bacteria in our teeth. In fact, that’s one of the ways we build up our immune system. If we never had any bacteria in our system, our bodies would not know how to fight anything and could become overwhelmed.

Most holistic dentists, however, realize this and will confidently give a patient a root canal treatment when needed.  I’d simply ask them up front what their policy is on root canals. If for some reason, you can’t find a holistic dentist in your area, you can still get treatment without having to worry about a mouth full of mercury.

There are mercury-free dentists who will only place the white, composite fillings which contain no toxic substances. In fact, Mercury-free dentists are becoming more and more common as composite fillings are becoming the standard treatment, rather than their amalgam cousins. While amalgam fillings were useful in their time, we’ve made many advancements which no longer makes them necessary.

I hope this brings you some peace of mind.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Can Invisalign Substitute for My Retainer?

I just finished my Invisalign treatment. I really loved it. I thought I would be embarrassed, but my friends thought it was cool, especially because they couldn’t see it until I took it out to eat. It was kind of fun having everybody like it so much. Now I’m supposed to wear a metal retainer and I’m not too keen. Is it possible for me to just wear my last pair of aligners as a substitute for a retainer? If so, will you tell my mom so she’ll cancel the appointment?

Arabella M.

Dear Arabella,

I’m glad you enjoyed your Invisalign treatment so well. It has a very high patient satisfaction rate. People love the fact that they’re invisible as well as how comfortable they are.  They’re marvelous at doing the job they were intended to do, but being a retainer won’t work.

Each pair of aligners is designed to last about two weeks. They will start wearing down. Even if they didn’t, you would eventually want to change them just for hygiene’s sake. Though you can’t use the aligners the way you’d hoped, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a mouth full of metal. There are many retainer options these days.

  • Retainers with clear plastic. There are some which just go around your teeth and others which cover the top of your mouth as well. Some of these can even be customized with colors or your favorite sports team logo. Though, you’re going for invisibility so that may not be a positive factor for you.
  • Lingual retainers. These are made of metal, but they are attached to the backs of your teeth where no one can see them. Your friends might also think that is cool.

I wouldn’t cancel your appointment. Instead, I’d talk to your orthodontist about what you just told me. He or she will be able to find something you’ll be happy with.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Why Is My Heart Doctor Sending Me to My Dentist?

I’ve had an elevated heart beat and my doctor sent me to a heart specialist. I saw her and she said the problem is sleep apnea and I need to see a dentist. How could any of that affect my heart?

Emily P.

Dear Emily,

Sleep apnea does contribute to heart problems. What happens is you stop breathing over and over again throughout the night. Your body recognizes you’re no longer getting oxygen and wakes you up. It doesn’t wake you up all the way though. It just startles you awake enough to cause you to start breathing again.

Unfortunately, this can happen literally hundreds of time a night. The amount of time you lack oxygen then wake up puts stress on your heart.

I’m assuming your heart doc did some type of sleep study on you to confirm you actually have sleep apnea. If not, she’s making assumptions which aren’t safe for you.

Talk to your dentist. He or she can arrange for you to get a sleep study done. Often, it’s covered by medical insurance. Your dentist can work with your doctor to get you a prescription for one.

If the results show you have sleep apnea, then your dentist can fit you with an orthotic to help you breathe freely throughout the night.  You’ll likely find you’re a lot less tired and you feel much better throughout the day once this is dealt with.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Why Are My Porcelain Veneers Staining?

I thought porcelain veneers were supposed to last for years. I’m really discouraged. I saved up for years to get them.  When they were first put on I felt like I could smile without embarrassment for the first time in years. But, they only lasted until my first dental cleaning (six months later).  Just a few weeks after that, they’ve started picking up stains– stains I can’t get off with brushing. What’s going on?

Elisabeth T.

Elisabeth,

Because they started picking up stains right after your first cleaning, I suspect you had a run in with a power cleaning tool at the dentist. Is it possible you had a hygienist who is new and inexperienced with cosmetic dentistry? If she used anything like a prophy jet, then the glaze has likely been removed from your porcelain veneers. That would definitely lead to them picking up stains.

If that’s the case, they should replace them. You’re right that porcelain veneers should last for years, especially if you’re taking care of them.

Be careful not to use anything like a whitening toothpaste on them. Those contain micro-abrasive materials which can scratch the surface of your veneers causing gunk to build up in the scratches.

There is a special toothpaste you can use that’s designed specifically for cosmetic work. Supersmile is one of the best.  However, that won’t help you until your glaze is restored. Very few dentists know the diamond polishing technique that can restore it. In all likelihood, your dentist will need to replace them. He’ll also need to educate his staff on how to handle porcelain veneers during cleaning visits. The same thing can happen to other dental work, such as porcelain crowns.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Help Me Understand Why the US is Ignoring the Mercury Treaty

I can’t figure out what’s going on. I’ve been trying to talk to dentists about the treaty that the U.S. signed agreeing to phase out mercury fillings. It seems we’re ignoring it and no one is paying attention. If they signed it does that mean they’ve finally admitted those fillings are dangerous? There aren’t holistic dentists in my area, so I’m trying to get the regular ones to understand my strong feelings about this. Why are we ignoring the treaty?

Monica L.

Dear Monica,

I believe you’re referring to the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It wasn’t referring to mercury fillings, except in the case of how they’re disposed of. It focuses on mercury poisoning in the water, named in honor of the Japanese city which was devastated by mercury poisoning.

As  far as the FDA is concerned, mercury fillings are perfectly safe; though, understandably, many patients are uncomfortable packing their teeth with mercury. However, I don’t want you to feel trapped into getting amalgam fillings. They’re the ones which have the mercury content.

Even if you don’t have holistic dentists in your area, you can still get composite (white fillings). I’d call around and look for a mercury free dentist. They work exclusively with composite fillings.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.