Cosmetic Dentistry

Do affordable dental implants need veneers to look good?

By | Affordable Dental Implants, Porcelain Veneers

I’ve been saving for affordable dental implants because since 2002 I’ve been wearing a partial denture 2 missing top right teeth and it is very uncomfortable. My cousin is a dental hygienist and she suggested that I look into dental implants. That was 3 yrs ago. When I found out the cost of implants I knew I couldn’t do anything about the partial so I saved up for it. I found a dentist who supposedly offers affordable implants but now I’m beginning to wonder about him. I had consultations with 3 different dentists like my cousin advised me. I chose this dentist because he is personable and explained everything so clearly to me. Last week I went into the office to get digital x-rays. The dentist told me everything looks good and I am eligible to get implants. Then he started talking about my need to have porcelain veneers on the teeth on the left and right of the implants. He said that to get the teeth to match the implants I need veneers. I thought implants would be made to match my natural teeth. Now I’m getting nervous about the cost and I don’t want veneers anyway. Is it normal protocol to need veneers so the implants match my teeth? Thank you. Jovana


Unfortunately, we have to recommend that you see a different dentist for affordable dental implants. It is not normal for a dentist to recommend porcelain veneers to ensure your dental implants match the teeth on either side of them.

It sounds like your dentist might not have cosmetic dentistry training and is not confident that he can provide you with implants that match your natural teeth. Either he doesn’t have the skill to provide you with natural-looking results, or he is trying to increase his profit on your case.

Do any of the dentists with whom you had consultations also have training in cosmetic dentistry? If so, visit one of them again to get more information on their recommendations for your implants. If you were really dissatisfied with the other two dentists, we suggest that you find two more dentists who offer affordable dental implants.

Your priority should be quality implant placement and results that look good. It’s possible that to get affordable dental implants, financing or a payment plan might be your best option. It’s better to ensure you get quality dental care than for it to be the cheapest option available with a poor outcome.

This post is sponsored by Naperville implant dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

Should a prosthodontist or a cosmetic dentist replace my crowns?

By | Cosmetic Procedures, Dental Crowns, Prosthodontist

Can you help me determine whether I should see a prosthodontist or a cosmetic dentist? In 2005, I went to the DR and got 6 new crowns. I didn’t like the way my teeth looked and I had visited several dentists in IL and couldn’t part with the money they were asking for. Since I got the crowns not a year has passed that I didn’t have problems with them. I am certain my bite is off. My neck hurts all of the time and I get toothaches almost constantly. I can’t floss between the crowns and I am beginning to wonder if there is an infection. I have been dentist hopping in nearby towns because I am always told that I need to replace the crowns. I didn’t think crown replacement was the problem but now I know it must be done. I recently saw a dentist who did digital x-rays and displayed them on a monitor in front of me while I was in the dental chair. I could see the mess my teeth are in. Now the dentist I saw has good technology in his office but I don’t trust him with the crowns. He does CEREC and I don’t want CEREC. I almost feel like he is being a little pushy, maybe to pay off the high price of the technology he probably went into debt for. I’m going to see a dentist who knows a lot about crowns. I’m not sure if a prosthodontist or a cosmetic dentist is the right way to go. Or does it matter? Thanks. Klaude


It’s good that you’re seeking options to restore your teeth. The longer your faulty crowns are left in place, the more you put your oral health at risk. Your experience is a reminder of how risky it is to get dental care outside of the U.S. When there is a problem with the dental work, return trips can become expensive and frustrating.

Your issue is related to function and appearance of your crowns. A prosthodontist is a specialist in tooth restoration and proper bite. A cosmetic dentist is an artist who will produce a beautiful smile.

The issue with your bite requires a dentist who can address the esthetics and the function of your crowns, and a prosthodontist is efficient at both. Here’s what we suggest:

  • Look for a skilled prosthodontist with extensive training in cosmetic dentistry.
  • Ask to see before-and-after photos of patient cases similar to yours.
  • Check patient reviews and ask friends or family members if they are familiar with the prosthodontist you choose.
  • Schedule a consultation with two or three prosthodontists, and compare your options, as well as the fees, before you move forward.

This post is sponsored by Naperville American board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

My porcelain veneers keep getting stains on them

By | Porcelain Veneers

I got porcelain veneers in June of 2013. I really like the way they feel and they are so comfortable that I forget they are on my teeth. In March of this year I noticed a stain on a left incisor. My regular cleaning appointment at the dentist was in June so I brought the stain to the attention of my hygienist and she cleaned it off with n problem. By august another veneer had stained. I called the office and they asked me questions about what I was eating or drinking but nothing points to the reason for the stains. So I went back to the office and had the stained removed. Last week I noticed that the first veneer that I had the stain cleaned off is stained again but in a different location. I am keep my teeth cleaned and flossed but these stains keep popping up. I have asked my hygienist about it and she only questions me about what I am eating, but I am certain that is not the problem. Why are the stains recurring? Thanks. Mylan


Porcelain veneers generally don’t stain. Porcelain is durable and virtually stain resistant. But it is possible for the outer layer of the veneers to be get microscopic scratches on it and attract stains.

Extra care must be taken when you receive a dental cleaning and polishing at the dentist’s office. Certain polishing pastes and dental tools can scratch the surface of your veneers. When that happens, debris from food and drink can build up in the tiny scratches and cause stains. Ensure that your dentist and hygienist have been trained in how to properly clean veneers.

Certain types of toothpaste can also cause stains. If you use whitening toothpaste or other types of abrasive toothpaste, fine scratches can be left in the veneers. Whitening toothpaste won’t brighten your veneers, but it will scratch them. Your porcelain veneers need to be closely examined for microscopic scratches. If your veneers are scratched, they will need to be replaced.

Sometimes avid coffee or tea drinkers, or avid smokers, get stains on the surface of their veneers. If the stains on your veneers are only on the surface, a skilled cosmetic dentist will be able to polish your veneers to remove the stains. Ask your dentist to examine your veneers to determine if there are scratches on them or if the stains are only on the surface. You also have the option of visiting an experienced cosmetic dentist for the examination and a second opinion.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

My crown doesn’t match my teeth

By | Cosmetic Procedures, General Dentistry, Porcelain Crown, Prosthodontist

My crown broke about 3 weeks ago and I had to get it fixed quickly before I went on vacation. I knew it was loose, but I didn’t expect it to break. My choice was a dentist who did CEREC in his office but also who was an emergency dentist. It worked and off I went! I was so busy that I really haven’t time to really look closely at the crown until this week. It is an incisor on the right side of my mouth and it doesn’t match my other teeth. If it was a molar I would let this pass but I really want the crown color changed. This isn’t my regular dentist and he really did me a huge favor. Should I go back to that dentist to get the color corrected? Thank you. COlton

Colton – Your selection of an emergency dentist who could also make a one-visit crown is understandable.

In-office crowns require the dentist to receive training in crown creation and placement, but it doesn’t require the dentist to be an artist. An artistic prosthodontist has training cosmetic dentistry. He or she has a keenly interested in providing crowns that function well and look completely natural—blending with your natural teeth.

Crowns are colorfast. They cannot be made darker or lighter. Unfortunately, the only way to receive a lighter crown is for a new one to be made. Contact the office of the dentist you saw and explain your concern. Request an appointment for an examination. Express your appreciation for the dentist’s help during your emergency and explain your concerns.

Along with any insurance you may have, you paid for a dental crown. It is reasonable for you to request and receive a crown that matches your natural teeth. A well-made crown lasts ten to twenty years. If your crown was made well, consider whether or not you can adjust to it lasting for many years that doesn’t match your natural teeth.

You can decide if you want to give the emergency dentist another chance, or if you prefer to visit an artistic prosthodontist dentist to receive a new crown. Before you proceed, be certain to speak with your dental insurance company about the issue and ask if your plan will provide any benefits toward a replacement crown if you choose a new dentist to replace it.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.


What are my options until I can afford dental implants?

By | Affordable Dental Implants, Cosmetic Procedures

I had a 2nd root canals on 2 different teeth on the same day. I think my dentist didn’t know what she was doing so she messed up both teeth and make them weak. 3 weeks after the root canals my teeth, face and eyes started hurting horribly. I was sick to my stomach. I had to go back to the dentist’s office and as soon as she started working on the first tooth, she said it cracked. I asked her to stop working on my teeth and I left the office. My wife made some calls for me and I immediately went to an endodontist who had to extract both teeth and is recommending dental implants. I have 2 missing teeth and certainly was not planning on spending thousands of dollars on dental implants. I am wondering what my options are until I can afford dental implants, because I kind of felt like the endo was just pushing implants. Thanks Gerard.

Gerard – An endodontist specializes in tooth replacement with dental implants, and dental implants are the most effective means of replacing missing teeth. So naturally, the specialist would recommend the healthiest and most effective option for replacing your teeth.

A dental bridge can replace the white portion, or biting surface, of your missing teeth, but since it won’t replace the tooth roots, your jawbone will begin to shrink where teeth are missing.

It is possible that your dental implant placement can be done in two phases. One tooth can be replaced, and after you pay for that implant, work can start on the second implant. The phased treatment can make the implants more affordable.

Another alternative is to consider no-interest financing based on your budget. This allows you to receive both implants with scheduled payments.

Speak with the financial representative at the specialist’s office to learn more about your options. Also, as with any surgery, it’s good to seek a second opinion from another specialist—a prosthodontist or an endodontist—to discuss your options.

Of course, the final choice is yours, and if you definitely not interested in implants at this time, be sure to find an artistic cosmetic dentist or prosthodontist who can provide you with a natural-looking dental bridge.

This post is sponsored by Naperville board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

My gums are swollen with temporary veneers

By | Porcelain Veneers

I’ve been wearing temporary veneers for two weeks. I really like the look of the veneers but on Sunday I noticed that my gums were looking a little puffy. This morning when I looked in the mirror at my gums they are really swollen, and they feel irritated. Is it normal for gums to swell with veneers or could it be that I am having some sort of allergic reaction to the veneers or the bonding material?  Should I just go ahead and take the veneers off myself or is this something that a dentist has to do? Is this going to delay the process of me getting veneers? Or does this mean that I won’t be able to get porcelain veneers?Thanks Bella

Bella – When gums are swollen or irritated after porcelain veneer placement, the issue can be caused by the design of the veneers or the placement of the veneers. It is unlikely that the swelling is caused by an allergic reaction.

If the veneer is too thick or too deep under the gumline, it can cause irritation and swelling. If it is left untreated, chronic irritation can result.

Don’t remove the temporary veneers yourself. You can cause more irritation to your gum tissue, and possibly damage the tissue or your teeth while trying to remove the veneers. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to have the veneers removed.

If the veneers are removed and you continue to experience gum irritation, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a periodontist (gum specialist) for evaluation and treatment. After the inflammation clears, you may also want to get a second opinion for porcelain veneers from a skilled cosmetic dentist. An experienced cosmetic dentist will ensure that your veneers are properly designed, placed, and bonded to prevent the gum irritation issue from recurring.


This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca

My dentist and I can’t agree on porcelain veneer color

By | Porcelain Veneers

I always thought that the final details of my porcelain veneers are my decision. My dentist keeps telling me that she really doesn’t like the shade I picked. She thinks that the color should be 2 shades lighter than what I picked. This might become a deal breaker for me to get veneers from this dentist. How can I convince her to submit my case so that I can get veneers? – Stefanie

Stefanie – Schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your concerns. Explain how important it is to you to receive veneers in the color of your choice.

It is ultimately the patient’s decision, but listen closely to your dentist as to the reasons that she is recommending a lighter color. You likely can reach an agreeable decision. If you can’t, we suggest that you seek a second opinion. Veneers are big investment. You should be thrilled, not hesitant, with the results.


This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca

The tooth beneath my crown hurts

By | Cosmetic Procedures, Dental Crowns

I got a root canal and crown in June. I thought everything seemed to be okay even though every once in a while I would feel a little pain in the tooth. It felt much better than before the root canal and it only hear once or twice a month so I didn’t think it was a big deal. Now it is a big deal because the pain is getting worse. Am I going to need a new crown? Lily

Lily – Your tooth needs to be examined to determine the correct treatment for it. There are several possible causes of your pain.

  • A main nerve still exists in the tooth. An irritated nerve that remains after root canal treatment can cause pain. A second root canal will be needed to clean the tooth and re-seal it.
  • The crown doesn’t fit correctly. A poorly fitting crown can put pressure on your natural tooth and cause pain. The crown will need to be removed, further preparation of the natural tooth may be required, and the crown will need to be bonded back on.
  • The tooth is damaged. At times, a tooth beneath the crown becomes damaged or cracked—often due to a poor-fitting crown. If the damage is not to extensive, the tooth will need to be cleaned out and sealed with a dental filler material. A tooth that is cracked below the gumline will need to be extracted. Have your tooth and crown examined to find out the cause of your pain and your treatment options.


This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca




My crown is loose

By | Dental Crowns, Prosthodontist

My crown has been loose since the day I got it in early May. My dentist has checked it twice and says nothing is wrong with it. It just needs to settle in. How long is the adjustment period? I asked him that question but didn’t get a straight answer. Thanks Jonathan.

Jonathan – If your crown is loose, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to check your bite, the crown, and the tooth to which the crown is bonded.

At no point should a sound dental crown be loose. There is no adjustment period for a loose crown. If you leave the issue untreated, it can put stress on the crown, the tooth beneath it, and the teeth that come in contact with the crowned tooth when you chew.

You can consider getting a second opinion from an experienced prosthodontist. An examination will be needed to identify the problem and the most effective way to treat it.

This post is sponsored by Naperville board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

Internal Tooth Bleaching

By | Teeth Whitening

When there is traumatic injury to a tooth, the pulp in the tooth can be damaged, and internal stains result.

A porcelain veneer may be used to conceal the darkened tooth and blend it with your natural teeth. But if the tooth is not causing discomfort or pain, it may be possible to bleach it internally. A barrier is placed in the tooth to prevent the bleaching gel from leaking out or creating sensitivity.

At times, internal bleaching is done before receiving a porcelain crown or porcelain veneer. The bleaching prevents the discoloration in the natural tooth from showing through in the restoration.

Have your tooth examined by an experienced prosthodontist to determine the best option for reviving the color in your tooth.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.