Your Source for Six Month Braces and Porcelain Veneers

Thursday, April 17, 2008

6 (Six) Month Braces Offered at Palm Beach Smiles!

I am pleased and excited to announce that we now offer 6 Month Braces for adults.

Are your teeth crooked? Are they crowded? Or do you have spaces? Did you think that the only way to straighten them would be the traditional 2 years of braces? Are you an adult who had braces but didn't wear your retainer?

Now, imagine having your teeth straightened in the time it takes between your cleaning visits! 6 Month Braces may be the answer!

Six Month Braces are exactly as they sound. Braces - done in 6 months. This approach to Cosmetic Braces is designed to improve the alignment of the teeth that show in your smile. This can usually be accomplished in about 6 months.

Here's an example of one of our cases:

6 Month Braces are just like regular braces in that brackets and wires are used. However, it's important to mention that the brackets and wires are white, or tooth-colored. So, they are nearly invisible. Once the braces are put on, you have nothing to do but return for a monthly appointment. SixMonth braces move your teeth quickly and safely. There is typically little to no discomfort. Most patients describe a "tightness" in the beginning.

After your braces are removed, a permanent bonded retainer (on the back of your teeth - totally unseen) will keep them in place. You may want to whiten your teeth at this point to finish off a perfect smile!

And, at Palm Beach Smiles, you won't have to sit next to a bunch of teenagers playing video games while you get your 6 Month Braces. At Palm Beach Smiles, we treat one patient at a time in a spa-like atmosphere. Dr. Michael Barr, founder of Palm Beach Smiles, will make sure your experience is a pleasure. If you have any questions, check out our Six Month Braces FAQ, or give us a call at 561-736-2377.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fillings: Silver or Plastic – Black or White?

Most of us have had at least one filling in our life. The majority of readers probably have some silver fillings. Most of them are out of sight and out of mind. But, if we look carefully, we’ll notice that the term, “silver filling” is not descriptive of reality. Those fillings may have looked silver or gray the day they were placed, but they certainly aren’t silver any more. They are usually black!

Silver fillings, also known as “amalgam,” have been a staple of restorative dentistry for over 150 years and have served the public well. Certainly, many teeth would have been lost if we had not had an easy to place, long lasting restorative material like amalgam. But, times have changed and so has dentistry. While there are some groups that believe amalgam, which typically consists of 50% mercury, is a health hazard, there have been no scientific studies supporting those assertions.

Over the years, a number of alternative materials to restore teeth have been developed. Among them are: gold, porcelain, and composite (a high-tech plastic). The most modern material is composite, which is bonded to the tooth. Also known as “adhesive dentistry,” bonding has revolutionized dentistry. Materials like amalgam simply fill a hole in a tooth. After removing decay, dentists have to remove additional healthy tooth structure in order to create mechanical interlocks so the amalgam will stay in the tooth once it has hardened. White composite fillings have a big advantage over silver. It bonds, or sticks, to the tooth very firmly. Accordingly, dentists can be very conservative and limit the “drilling” to only the decay. No additional removal of tooth structure is needed to lock the filling in the cavity. The more of your own natural healthy tooth structure we preserve, the stronger and longer lasting your tooth will be.

Because amalgams are typically larger and don’t bond to the tooth, they can act as a wedge, possibly cracking teeth. Composite, being more conservative and bonded to the tooth, may be kinder, in the long run, to your teeth. A unique advantage of composite is that it seals the cavity better than amalgam. A good seal is important in preventing decay from reoccurring.

While amalgam is a simple material to place, composite requires meticulous attention to detail by the dentist. The technique is quite different. While an amalgam basically fills a hole, a properly done composite essentially rebuilds the damaged or missing tooth structure.

The advantage of composite over amalgam most apparent to patients is the color. Put simply, amalgam is black, and composite is white. Composite comes in a variety of shades that can be matched to the tooth being restored. Done well, a composite restoration disappears and is indistinguishable from natural teeth.

Which filling would you prefer to fix your cavities? Black or white? If you have old black fillings that show when you smile or talk, you may consider replacing them with newer more cosmetically pleasing composites.

As could be expected, composite is not the end-all in dentistry. There are times where the damage to a tooth requires more than a filling. Generally, if a cavity occupies than 1/3 the width of a tooth, a crown may be a better and longer lasting restoration. Your dentist can help you choose the best way to restore and keep your teeth healthy and attractive.

For more information and to see before and after photographs of actual cases, visit our website at:

Palm Beach Smiles, is located at Boynton Beach Blvd. and I-95. You can contact us at: 561-736-2377.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Where is my crown from? Does my dental crown have lead in it??

You may have heard recent news reports about lead in dental crowns made in Chinese labs. Who knew? Who would have thought, right? Most Americans have probably never given any thought to where their dental restorations are being made. Most probably assumed they were made here. And, historically that has been true.

The new global economy is changing everything, and that includes the dental profession... or SOME of the dental profession. Cheap overseas labor and shrinking profit margins have forced some dentists to outsource their lab work to foreign labs. These dentists are typically those who participate in low-fee "managed care" insurance programs such as HMOs or DMOs. When dentist signs a contract with these plans, he or she must agree to the insurance company's fee schedule, which is typically 50% or even LESS than their normal fees. Ultimately, to remain in business, corners MUST be cut if you're reducing your fees by 50% or more. One way to lower expenses is by sending lab work to China where the costs are pennies on the dollar compared to American labs.

The potential problem is quality control. At least in the U.S. there is accountability. If a lab used contaminated or poisonous materials, there would be significant liability. If a lab in China does it, what is the American consumer to do? What recourse can we have with a lab 7,000 miles away? Is there some regulatory body in China whose purpose is to protect American consumers? Of course not. In the U.S., the materials used by dental labs in making dental restorations must meet very strict quality standards.

Here's the bottom line: Ask your dentist where your dental restorations are being made. And, remember the saying, “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” And, in the case of lead-contaminated dental crowns, that poor quality may have negative effects on your health. There are certain things for which you shouldn't shop for the lowest price.

At Palm Beach Smiles, our dental crowns are made only in U.S. labs. Only certified, high-quality materials are used. Palm Beach Smiles is located in Boynton Beach, Florida. We can be reached at 561-736-2377, or visit our website at:

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Face Value of a Smile

“A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.” -- Believed to be based on the writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures have increased 304% in the last five years. The greatest increases were among non-surgical procedures with the most popular being Botox® injections. Advertisements for “Botox Parties” have been appearing in a variety of media. Recently, there was an hour-long primetime TV show about cosmetic surgery. It featured a woman that had spent $100,000 on cosmetic surgeries because she was told Wall Street wouldn’t hire a woman older than forty. She got the job.

What does this have to do with dentistry? Certainly it's an indicator of the value placed on appearance by our American culture. While our looks are obviously important, I believe a person’s smile is the most prominent physical feature. Many social surveys have indicated that “bad teeth” is a top turn-off for those seeking a mate. The act of smiling may be the single most communicative expression humans possess. Try this: When you approach a stranger in a public area and make eye contact, simply smile. Nothing more. Almost invariably, the stranger will smile back. A few might think you’re crazy! A genuine, relaxed smile makes anyone instantly more attractive. A smile can even disarm the most irritated individual. A smile is powerful.

Today’s dentistry enables highly trained and progressive dentists to transform smiles challenged with unattractive teeth. In many cases it can take as little as two visits. The most significant developments in Cosmetic Dentistry are Porcelain Veneers and all-ceramic crowns (no metal). The advent of these technologies has enabled dentists to create stunning smiles with more conservative procedures. Furthermore, they can create smiles that look natural. I have often heard patients exclaim their objections to “caps” because they’ve seen some on their friends and they “look terrible!” They assume that these “caps” are the standard. And they know they don’t want that look. I don’t blame them. The hallmark of excellent cosmetic dentistry is results that look as if the patient was born with a gorgeous smile. A cosmetically restored smile should be undetectable. Often, after a smile makeover, patients comment that their friends, coworkers, and family suspect weight loss, a new hairstyle, a tan, and even a face-lift! They simply can’t figure out why these patients look so good!

A smile makeover is the ultimate self-indulgence. At Palm Beach Smiles our greatest joy is providing dentistry people want. Our incredible office was designed specifically to create a relaxing atmosphere and cater to our patients’ needs. To learn more about us, visit our website: Check out the “Before & After” photos and imagine having your own “Palm Beach Smile!”

Palm Beach Smiles is located at Boynton Beach Blvd. and I-95. You can contact us at: 561-736-2377.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cosmetic Dentistry - What Is It, Really?

Plastic surgery is so well known, it now virtually considered routine. Medicine has evolved to perfect our faces, breasts, butts, legs, eyes, and chins. We agonize over how pants fit our butts, how our noses look in profile, and how our chests fill a sweater. Yet, many social studies have shown that the first thing people notice in another person is his or her smile. The most prominent feature on our face is our smile. While most people are aware of the advances of medicine in the field of plastic surgery, most are not aware of how cosmetic dentistry can dramatically impact facial appearance. In my opinion, a smile makeover can have far more impact than even the most dramatic facelift.

A quick perusal of the “Dentists” section of the Yellow Pages would lead you to believe every dentist is a cosmetic dentist. The common and cavalier use of the term, “cosmetic dentistry” has diminished its definition and uniqueness as a specialized skill among dentists. What is cosmetic dentistry, after all? What’s new in cosmetic dentistry? If it’s so common, is it the same, no matter where I go? How do I know where to go for cosmetic dental treatment? I will try to answer some of these questions in this and future articles.

So, what is cosmetic dentistry? It can include a wide range of procedures designed to make a smile whiter, straighter, and more youthful. Individual patient’s needs can range from simply whitening with bleaching products to a complex full smile reconstruction with veneers, crowns and bridges.

Choosing a dentist for cosmetic treatment can be a daunting task. There isn’t a lot of information for consumers in the public domain. It is important to know the qualifications and experience of a cosmetic dentist. To perform cosmetic dentistry at the highest level requires a thorough knowledge of science and an artistic eye. Cosmetic Dentistry is not a degreed specialty like oral surgery or endodontics. However, there are a few cosmetic training institutes recognized by the profession at large. Among the most prestigious are: Aesthetic Advantage, Las Vegas Institute, Nash Institute, and Hornbrook Group. Ask the dentist about this kind of training. Perhaps the best way to evaluate a dentist’s skills in this challenging discipline is to actually see photographs of actual cases. Ask to see examples of treatment you may be considering. Carefully look at the whole smile. Do the results look attractive and natural?

Perhaps the biggest advance in cosmetic dentistry has been Porcelain Veneers. The development of this treatment was a result of the demand for a conservative way to change the color, shape, size and alignment of teeth. Porcelain veneers are more conservative than crowns and are strong and natural restorations. With porcelain veneers, a smile can typically be transformed in just two visits. If you are concerned about discoloration, gaps, worn and chipped teeth, or crooked and crowded teeth, porcelain veneers may be the solution.

Over the past several years, I have spent hundreds of hours in training with a focus on cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry. Besides constantly training, I have helped teach dentists from around the world the art and science of cosmetic dentistry as a clinical instructor with some of the most prestigious cosmetic training institutes in the country.

To learn more about Cosmetic Dentistry visit my website at or call my office for a complimentary cosmetic consult at 561-736-2377. We are conveniently located on Boynton Beach Blvd., one block west of I-95.

Welcome to

Welcome to Palm Beach Smiles. I hope readers will find this blog to be informative. I am a dentist who just loves what he does every day. If I won the lottery, I'd still be doing it!

I'll be adding articles on a regular basis that will provide the latest news and views about today's dentistry.

I hope you'll check in on occasion!