About the Expert
Dr. Reed has more than 25 years of dental experience. After graduating cum laude from Louisiana Tech University, she earned both a Doctor of Dental Surgery and an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at Louisiana State University. Dr. Reed stays on the leading edge of dentistry, regularly completing continuing education classes on state-of-the-art procedures as well as best practices for safety and sterilization.
What are prepless veneers?
Prepless veneers, such as Lumineers, are thin porcelain veneers bonded onto natural teeth without having to grind away enamel. Temporaries aren’t usually required, and anesthesia isn’t necessary when placing them. Some dentists call them a permanent whitening treatment because porcelain doesn’t stain like natural tooth enamel. They work well to conservatively and quickly treat spacing or even black triangles that can develop between the teeth as we age.
Is in-office whitening better than using over-the-counter products?
Consistency and time are the biggest issues with over-the-counter products. To get the whitening most people want, you have to use whitening strips or the boil-and-bite bleach trays twice daily for two to three weeks. To be most effective, you shouldn’t drink coffee, tea, or red wine — even through a straw — during this active whitening period.
Comparatively, in-office whitening delivers instant gratification. It’s safe and effective, and there’s minimal sensitivity. If needed, we can use our laser to desensitize before treatment. Plus, you can drink coffee, tea, and red wine the day after treatment. We send patients home with custom trays so they can do touch-ups to keep their teeth bright.
My teeth are getting shorter over time. What’s causing this and can it be fixed?
We usually see this in older patients, but it occurs in younger people, too. In the past, we attributed this primarily to clenching and grinding due to stress. However, there’s growing evidence that it’s related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition where the upper airway closes or constricts while you sleep.
It’s essential to treat the cause before restoring your teeth to help ensure your beautiful new smile will remain that way for years to come. I recommend a home sleep study for my patients or a consultation with a sleep medicine physician. Treatment depends on the OSA severity. In cases of mild to moderate OSA, a custom-made dental appliance may be prescribed as a CPAP alternative to help keep the upper airway open during sleep.
Should I use mail-order clear aligners to straighten my teeth instead of using a dentist or an orthodontist?
A series of clear, plastic aligners like Invisalign can be a great option to straighten your teeth. Although an online company may provide aligners by mail where you never visit a dental office, you may not be happy with your results without proper in-person evaluation. In fact, improperly fitted mail-order aligners can lead to more dental problems, and even tooth loss.
Why are more people than ever getting smile makeovers?
Zoom calls put a lot of focus on your smile. People are choosing to improve their smile to make a positive impression and feel more self-confident. Patients also mention they have more funds available to get the veneers they’ve always wanted since they’ve been traveling less. And because people are working remotely, it’s easier to find time for dental visits.
Smile makeovers are one of my specialties. If you’re interested in ways to enhance your smile, please schedule a complimentary smile consultation.