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Dentist Wants to Use Crowns to Whiten My Teeth

Red-haired woman portraying concern of a dentist using crowns to whiten her teethFrom the first premolar to the first premolar on both sides of my mouth, I have 3 crowns and 4 veneers. The crowns and veneers are more than 15 years old and are discoloring. Since the summer of 2020, I’ve been having issues with dry mouth. I want my dentist to replace the crowns and veneers, but he suggests crowns on all my upper and lower teeth for dry mouth and whither teeth. My dentist surprised me with the recommendation, so I asked for time to think about it. It really sounds like over-treatment to me. What is your opinion? – Thank you. Felicia from Philadelphia

Felicia

Thank you for your question.

Your dentist’s recommendation to replace veneers with crowns and crown all your teeth to make them white is super-aggressive. Please do not agree to overtreatment.

Whitening Your Teeth

If you want your teeth whiter, bleaching them is the best option. But grinding down your teeth for crowns destroys healthy tooth structure. Unless bleaching gel does not whiten your teeth due to issues like fluorosis stains or severe tetracycline stains, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers.

Also, placing crowns on all your teeth is full-mouth reconstruction, a procedure that requires advanced skill to prevent issues with your bite, TMJ, and speech issues.

Replacing Porcelain Veneers with Crowns

An ethical dentist’s goal is to preserve your healthy tooth structure—not replace your crowns with veneers. Usually, a dentist who wants to replace porcelain veneers with crowns is uncomfortable with veneers. If you already have a dry mouth, full-mouth reconstruction can open your bit too far and make it worse.

We recommend looking for an advanced cosmetic dentist to examine and x-ray your teeth. The dentist will identify the cause of your dry mouth, whiten your teeth, and match your new crowns and veneers to your whiter teeth.

 

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.

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My Top Teeth Don’t Show When I Smile

Man portraying jaw pain from teeth issuesWhen I smile, you can barely see my upper teeth. Sometimes when the weather is cold, my jaw feels tight, and I cannot pronounce certain words. I am self-conscious about it. I want to do something about it. I wear a night guard for teeth grinding and jaw and neck pain. I saw a dentist who recommended crowns, but I would like to know if that is the only option. – Andre from CT

Andre,

Thank you for choosing our office for your question.

Although Dr. Lim would need to examine and x-ray your teeth, your description sounds like your bite collapsed and you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. A dentist may be able to open your bit with crowns, but you need an experienced dentist for an accurate diagnosis.

Opening Your Bite and Restoring Your Smile

Skilled dentists open your bit with a temporary restoration. If successful, they will duplicate the temporary crowns with the final crowns. What determines is your temporary restorations’ success?

  • You no longer have teeth or jaw pain.
  • You love your smile and how it affects your facial appearance.
  • Your upper teeth show when you smile.
  • The restoration resolves issues with your speech.

Choosing a Dentist for TMJ and Bite Issues

A general or family dentist without advanced training in full-mouth reconstruction cannot resolve all the issues with your teeth, bite, and jaw.

In the United States, several high-quality institutes offer advanced training to dentists on occlusion and bite, so your jaw, teeth, and bite are in harmony. Look for dentists with advanced training from one or more of these training facilities:

  • Dawson Academy, Florida
  • D. Pankey Institute, Florida
  • Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, Nevada

We recommend scheduling consultations with at least two dentists with advanced training and experience in full-mouth reconstruction. List your questions and prepare to take notes to compare your options from each dentist.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.

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Will No-Prep Veneers Work for Any Patient?

I want porcelain veneers, but I am hesitant about getting my teeth prepared. If a dentist recommends preparation, how do I know if I really need it? Can no-prep veneers work for any patient? – Thank you. Madison

Madison,

Thank you for your question. Several factors affect whether a patient can receive no-prep veneers.

Will No-Prep Veneers Work for Any Patient?

No-prep veneers will not work for every patient because veneers add to the thickness of your teeth and can make them look bulky. But in specific situations, they may work for you. What factors can affect whether you get no-prep veneers?

  • Small teeth – You may be a candidate for no-prep veneers if you have small teeth and want them to look larger.
  • Straight teeth – Straight teeth require less preparation. If any teeth are crooked or protrude, a dentist will recommend trimming them to make your smile look even. Otherwise, teeth that stick out will protrude even farther with veneers on them.
  • A master ceramist – Rather than using a no-prep brand of veneers, advanced cosmetic dentists work with a master ceramist to create a natural-looking smile with customized no-prep veneers.

What If a Dentist Recommends Preparing Your Teeth for Veneers?

If a dentist recommends preparing your teeth for veneers, they should explain why. Skilled cosmetic dentists conservatively prepare teeth a fraction of a millimeter. Studies show that minimal preparation is a best practice for several reasons:

  • It is healthier for your teeth – Confining preparation to the tooth enamel keeps tooth structure intact. Exposing the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) increases the risk of bacteria leaking behind your veneers and causing infection.
  • It helps with the bonding process – When a dentist conservatively prepares your teeth, the veneers adhere to them better. Attaching veneers to dentin instead of tooth enamel makes the bonding weak.
  • It supports the lifespan of your veneers – When porcelain veneers do not fit well, it reduces their lifespan. Porcelain gets its strength from a secure bond to tooth enamel.

If you are interested in porcelain veneers, schedule a consultation with an advanced cosmetic dentist to get healthy, long-lasting results. They examine your teeth and explain why you might need conservative teeth preparation.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.

Before-and-after porcelain veneers photos from Dr. Lim of Owasso
Porcelain veneers patient photos of Dr. Lim’s work
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