Re-doing All Crowns to Match ONE?

I have 17-year-old crowns on my front arch. There are six of them One of them developed decay which caused it to come loose. I knew that meant a filling and a new crown, but didn’t know that meant I’d have to replace EVERY crown. Why can’t he just match the one crown instead of re-doing all of them? Do I need a cosmetic dentist or is this standard procedure?


Dear Brooke,

porcelain crown being placed on a tooth

It sounds like your dentist doesn’t have a lot of experience with cosmetic dentistry. If he was a skilled cosmetic dentist, he’d be able to match a single crown to the rest of them. He’s not able to and I wouldn’t push him. The results would not be what you’re hoping for.

Instead, you’ll need to see a dentist who’s invested time in training as a cosmetic dentist. It’s hard to know who is skilled and who isn’t. Plus, who has the time to search through dozens of dentists credentials and artistic results? Not most people.

Finding a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist

In your case, I’d look on the website. They screen cosmetic dentists who ask to be listed. They can’t just purchase their way onto the site.

In order for a cosmetic dentist to get a listing, they have to show their technical knowledge and skill, as well as provide photographic evidence of cases they’ve done showing they also have artistry in their work and can create beautiful smiles.

Replace One or All?

All that being said, your crowns are seventeen years old. They’re going to start failing you. At least you know the dentist who placed them did a good job because they’ve had a great lifespan. In this situation you have two choices:

  • Replace all the crowns at once to save multiple trips to the dentist.
  • Replace them one at a time, as needed, to save paying a large amount of money at once.

Whichever decision you choose, I’d still make sure you did it with an artistic cosmetic dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Newton, MA Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.

Invisalign and the Flu

I have the flu. I know I have to throw away my toothbrush. Do I also have to throw away my aligners? I would really hate to do that. They’re way pricier than my toothbrush. Is there a way to disinfect them? If I have to throw them away do I just go to the next set?


Dear Lucy,

Invisalign Aligner

I’m very sorry you have the flu. You probably feel miserable right now. At least I have some good news for you. You do NOT have to throw away your Invisalign aligners. Your body is already developing antibodies to the strain of the flu you’ve developed. Simply cleaning your aligners as you normally would is sufficient.

If you’re worried about it anyway and want to disinfect them or if you’ve been vomiting, then you can let them soak in vinegar for about ten minutes and then rinse them out thoroughly afterward. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant.

Hydration and Invisalign

It’s always important to stay hydrated. That becomes even more essential when you are sick. Often, when people have a virus they purchase electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade. It makes sense. You need to replenish those nutrients, especially if you’re vomiting.

A word of warning, though. These type of drinks often have sugar in them. You’ll need to immediately rinse out your aligners after drinking them. Otherwise, the drink will pool in your aligners and eat away at your tooth enamel. That will quickly lead to decay.

While it’s okay to drink Gatorade, make sure you are mostly drinking water while your aligners are in. This way you won’t have to worry about it getting in your aligner and causing damage.

When an Aligner Goes AWOL

You brought up a good question when you asked what aligner you’d go to if you had to get rid of one. Sometimes an aligner will get damaged or lost. Once a patient accidentally put hers in the dryer and it became completely warped.

If you lose an aligner, you can go ahead to the next pair. Just be certain you don’t do that too often. The reason for the two-week duration is to give the bone time to reform around the teeth roots in their new position. Without that, the teeth will eventually become loose. You want to straighten your teeth, not lose them.

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