Category Archives: Libertyville Dentist

Porcelain Crowns on Back Teeth

I have some pretty severe metal allergies and need a crown on a back tooth. I’ve asked my dentist to do an all-porcelain crown on that tooth, but he absolutely refuses and says they don’t work on back teeth. Is that true? Does this mean I have to get something I’m allergic too?


Dear Mindy,

A dentist standing behind a woman smiling in a dental chair

While all-porcelain crowns are great for front teeth, they really can’t withstand the biting forces on our back teeth. That being said, this doesn’t mean you have to get a metal-based crown. Your dentist should understand it won’t do you any good to have a restoration which causes you to have reactions.

A good dentist will see his patients as individuals and not insist on doing things the way he’s always done it. Instead, they will look for solutions.

In your case, you can look for a dentist who is willing to give you a zirconia crown. These are non-metal but are still strong enough for back teeth. They’re not as commonly used because they’re a new medium. However, a dentist who keeps up with his or her field will be willing to work with them for a patient in your situation.

Don’t Put Off Needed Dental Care because of a Bad Dentist

If you need a dental crown, don’t put it off because your dentist isn’t willing to do the work necessary to find a solution for you. Call around to other dentists and explain your situation. You are bound to find someone who is willing to fit you in fairly quickly, even as a new patient.

If you have trouble finding one. Try doing an internet search using the term “emergency dentist“. While this isn’t technically an emergency, it can quickly turn into one if the crown gets neglected. Letting them know that your dentist won’t provide the type of crown you need may encourage them to schedule you sooner rather than later.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Getting a Beautiful Smile

I really want to do a smile makeover. My dentist knows about my desire and is offering to do one for me. The thing is, he’s a general dentist not a cosmetic specialist. How do I know if my dentist can give me a beautiful smile?


Dear Katherine,

A dentist standing behind a woman smiling in a dental chair

It’s wise you’re asking this question. Too many patients just forge ahead and end up with a disappointing smile makeover. If you’re going to invest in a beautiful smile, you want to have some way of knowing that’s what you’ll get.

General Versus Cosmetic Dentist

One area of confusion is with the term cosmetic dentist. There isn’t actually a recognized cosmetic dentistry specialty. Every cosmetic dentist is just a general dentist.

The biggest difference you need to look for is if they’ve invested in training for creating smile makeovers. This isn’t something taught in dental school. So, you’ll want to ask them where they studied smile makeovers after dental school.

Getting a Beautiful Smile

There are three specific steps you can take to juggle the odds in your favor. The first is to look at some before and after pictures of work they’ve done. Ask to see their brag book. This should be the cases they’re the most proud of that they’ve completed. If you want porcelain veneers, ask specifically about those cases.

If you don’t like what you see of their best cases, they’re not the dentist for you. Try a different one. If you do like the results, then I’d next ask if they have a beautiful smile guarantee. You’ll want to know they’re willing to stand behind their work.

Finally, I’d check to see what their reviews are like. It’s always good to get to hear from people who’ve actually experienced treatment there. Were they happy with the results? Did they find him (or her) easy to work with? Checking a review can save you a lot of grief.

This blog is brought to you by LIbertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Can a Dentist Fix My Tooth Gap?

I’ve always had perfect teeth but lately I’ve noticed a small gap between my front teeth. It’s not huge but totally bugs me. I want to get my perfect smile back. What can I do? I was thinking Invisible braces. Is that a decent option?


Dear Kaylie,

A woman smiling with gapped front teeth.
There are quick and easy fixes for a tooth gap.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have your smile back. Especially if, like you, your smile was always perfect. Fortunately, there are several ways to fix this.

Invisible Braces

Your suggestion of invisible braces would totally work. While Invisalign is the most well-known brand, Dr. Potts prefers Clear Correct. They’re equally, if not more, effective and cost less for the patient.

They have an added benefit of being able to double as teeth whitening trays. This allows you to knock out two cosmetic procedures at once, saving you time and money, as well as providing patients with a mini-smile makeover.

If you needed your teeth whitened, this would be the method I’d suggest for dealing with your gapped teeth.

Dental Bonding

Tooth bonding uses a composite resin that the dentist will hand sculpt onto your teeth, closing the gap. This is actually the method I would recommend for you. It is ideal for patients like you, who otherwise have a gorgeous smile that needs no other work.

It’s biggest benefit is it can be done in just one appointment. It’s a super fast way to close your gap. The only real considerations are:

  • The results depend on the artistic skill of the dentist so make sure you check out examples of their work before committing.
  • Bonding will eventually need to be replaced after a number of years.

Porcelain Veneers

I only really recommend this for patients who have other things they want to change about their smile. I know that isn’t you, but I’m putting it here for the benefit of others who may be looking at the answer to your question but don’t have an ideal smile.

Veneers are a total smile makeover. The can change the color, size, and shape of your teeth, including closing small gaps all at once. Again, it’s not for you but many other patients can change their lives with them.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Do Crest Whitestrips Work?

I have a reunion coming up and would like to brighten my teeth a bit. They’re starting to show their age. I asked my dentist and he said I could just get some of those over-the-counter white strips. He is sort of a bread and butter practice and doesn’t offer many special services. That’s always suited me as I don’t have any complicated needs. I just want to be sure Crest is the right brand to get.


Dear Felicia,

Teeth Whitening Trays
There are many teeth whitening options

When it comes to bleaching your teeth, many things will work, including Crest Whitestrips. There are three important differences in professional teeth whitening and over-the-counter whitening you need to be aware of though, before making a decision.

Teeth Whitening Difference One: Strength

The over-the-counter options will work, but they are by law very weak. It will take a large number of treatments to get anywhere close to the same results you could get with a dental professional. In the end, you’ll probably end up paying more for less obvious results.

Teeth Whitening Difference Two: Coverage

Most white strips you purchase at a store only cover about six teeth. Many, if not most, people’s smiles are wider than that. This will give you an uneven smile. Your first six teeth will be whiter than the adjacent teeth, which will look strange.

The solution to this is to use extra strips on the adjacent teeth. Of course, then you’re talking about having to purchase triple the number of kits. The whitening your dentist provides will whiten every tooth.

Teeth Whitening Difference Three: Protection

There are some things which can go wrong during the teeth whitening process, especially with your gums. When you’re under the care of a dentist, they keep an eye out for signs of problems and take steps to protect you.

Dental Work and Teeth Whitening

One thing to be aware of is any type of bleaching procedure, even professional, will only work on natural tooth structure. If you have a dental crown or any other type of dental work, its color will not change. If you want it to match, you’ll have to replace it after your whitening is done.

Depending on the date of your reunion, you may want super fast results. The take-home trays your dentist provides can take a few weeks to get your teeth as white as they possibly can. If you’re in a hurry, Zoom Whitening is an in-office procedure which only takes one appointment. You’ll come out of the dentist’s office with shiny white teeth.

If you decide to go the professional route, it will not require you to switch caregivers. I’d simply call another dental office which offers whitening and tell them your dentist doesn’t offer this service and you simply want to come there for the one procedure. If you’ve recently had your teeth cleaned, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you haven’t had a recent cleaning they may require it. That’s for your benefit, otherwise your results could be splotchy.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

See a Dentist if You Wake Up Tired with a Headache

I’d gone to my doctor because I keep waking up with horrible migraines. Plus, no matter how much sleep I get I always wake up exhausted. Always. Doc indicated I might want to see a dentist, though he did start me on Topomax for the migraines. I don’t want you to be offended but I’m not sure how my teeth have anything to do with this. I will see a dentist if it’s warranted. I just want to be certain it is.


Dear Lindsey,

Diagram of neuromuscular dentistry

I’m not offended at all. I can understand you want to be certain you’re seeing the correct caregiver. There are in fact TWO dental conditions which could be contributing to what you’re going through—TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea.

Reasons Your Doctor Might Send You to a Dentist

Local doctors will sometimes send a patient to a dentist saying they can’t find anything wrong but the patient truly isn’t feeling well. With x-rays, it turns out they had a dental infection building. A simple root canal treatment and they instantly felt relief. Medical doctors aren’t trained to look into dental issues, so they’ll often overlook those. A wise doctor will have you see one when they can’t figure anything out on their end.

You’re not complaining of general discomfort, so we’ll look at your specific issues.

You’ve mentioned regular migraines. There are many medical causes for these horrific “headaches” and some causes we don’t even know yet. But, there is a dental issue too—TMJ Disorder. This is when the temporomandibular jaw joint is irritated. It can cause mild to severe pain. You can wake up with migraines and even get lock-jaw. There are many causes of TMJ, including a misaligned bite, and treatment will vary on the reason. Take a look at Dr. Potts’ TMJ Disorder page. If you have any of the other symptoms, you may want to see a dentist who treats TMJ.

A second, very specific, complaint you mentioned is waking up tired even with a full night of sleep. This is a classic symptom of sleep apnea. It’s possible the muscles in the back of your throat relax while you’re sleeping. This can cut off your air passage. Your body stops breathing and jolts you awake to open up the passage, clearing the airway for your breathing again. This can happen hundreds of times a night without you even realizing it. If you have sleep apnea, it’s no wonder you’re tired in the mornings. Again, you’d need to see a dentist who treats sleep apnea. Often, a simple custom fitted orthotic device solves this issue.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville, IL Dentist Dr. David Potts.

How Do You Know if a Dentist is Good?

I’m thinking about getting my teeth whitened and then getting porcelain veneers. How will I know if the dentist is good enough?


Dear Ben,

A dentist standing behind a woman smiling in a dental chair

You’ve asked a great question. Before I answer I want to make sure you know that porcelain veneers can whiten your teeth along with the rest of the smile makeover you’d want, such as changing the shape and size of your teeth. Most people just get them placed on their upper arch and then whiten their lower arch. So, you can only whiten those bottom teeth instead of both.

If you’re happy with the shape and size of your teeth, then you can just whiten both arches and save a ton of money. Otherwise, you want to get the veneers. Choosing your cosmetic dentist is one of the most important decisions you can make in your smile makeover.

Finding a Dentist to Do Your Smile Makeover

  • Look Through Their Case Brag Book

Every dentist who does smile makeovers has a brag book of sorts. It’s a collection of before and after pictures of cosmetic dentistry cases. Ask to see it. Also, ask them if the pictures are of work they did themselves. Some dentists, just starting out, will try to pass off stock photos because they don’t have any of their own yet.

  • Check Reviews

There are several sights online that allow patients to rate and comment on their experiences with their dentist, such as Yelp!, Google Reviews, and Rate My Doc. Go over these reviews to make sure the dentist’s work held up as well as their chairside manner being pleasant and polite. You don’t want to have to work with someone who’s unpleasant.

  • Make Sure they Stand Beside their Work

You want a dentist who is willing to back up their claims of giving you a gorgeous smile. Do you have recourse if you hate what they create? Look at Dr. Potts’ Beautiful Smile Guarantee to get an idea what you should expect.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts. Ask him about dental sedation.

Is It Safe to go to a Regular Dentist for Porcelain Veneers?

I’m interested in getting porcelain veneers. My dentist says he does them, but he’s a general dentist. Should I go to a cosmetic dentist for this or am I safe with my dentist?


Dear Meg,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

Your question brings up quite a common misconception. Every cosmetic dentist is a general dentist. There isn’t a recognized cosmetic dentistry specialty by the American Dental Association (ADA). What that means is that any general dentist who does cosmetic work can call themselves a cosmetic dentist.

However, each dentist has a different level of skill when it comes to creating beautiful smiles. So, how will you know if your dentist can give you beautiful porcelain veneers?

Finding the Right Dentist for Your Smile Makeover

First, ask to see his smile gallery. If he does enough cosmetic dentistry he should have a brag book of sorts with cases he’s done. Don’t let him show you stock photos. Tell him you want actual before and after pictures of his clients. If he balks at that, run away…fast. He should be proud of his work. If he’s not, that’s a red flag.

Second, Make sure he has a beautiful smile guarantee. Essentially, that means he’ll do the porcelain veneers and place them on you with a temporary try-in paste. Under no circumstances should you allow him to permanently bond them on without you seeing what they look like on you in a variety of lighting AND you give your approval.

If you love what you see, then he can bond them on. If you don’t, he should be willing to go back to the lab and re-do them. Then, he should do the try-in paste again. He should be willing to do that as many times as necessary to give you the smile you’re paying for.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.

Why Does My Husband Sound Like a Jackhammer When He Sleeps?

Please, please, please help me. I haven’t slept in days. My husband recently put on a lot of weight. Ever since then he’s sounded like a jackhammer in his sleep. What is going on? I’m about to go out of my mind with exhaustion.

Marissa – North Carolina


It sounds like your husband has developed sleep apnea. Patients who are overweight are more likely to develop sleep apnea as well. The muscles in the back of his throat are drooping into his air passage while he sleeps. That is what is causing the lovely resonant jackhammer sound.

There are dentists who treat this condition. Often, it just requires a little oral device, which looks much like a mouthguard. It’s comfortable and will give both of you a full night’s sleep.

I suspect your poor husband has been waking up almost as tired as you’ve been. Sleep apnea even messes with the sufferers sleep pattern. Getting the proper oxygen he needs will renew his energy.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.



Help! My husband won’t stop snoring

I’m a newlywed and my sweet, wonderful new husband is a horrific snorer. I mean, leave me laying awake at night with blood shot eyes snorer. What can I do?

Lisa A. – Virginia


First let me say congratulations on your marriage. What an exciting time you’re entering into with your new life and family.

Yes, there is a way to help your sweetheart…and yourself.  Believe it or not, your husband likely doesn’t even know he’s doing it. Plus, once he gets the help he needs, he’ll find his sleep is more restful and he’ll have more energy.

It’s likely your husband has a form of sleep apnea. Most of the time, it can be treated with a simple oral appliance.

Have him see his dentist and explain what’s going on.  Make sure it is a dentist who is familiar with sleep apnea.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.

Can a regular dentist do Zoom Whitening

I’ve been hearing about Zoom Whitening. Do I need to go to a cosmetic dentist for that or can my normal dentist do it?

Janet S. – Little Rock, AR


A lot of people don’t realize there isn’t a speciality in cosmetic dentistry. All cosmetic dentists are really just regular general dentists who enjoy doing cosmetic work. So, to answer your question, yes, a general dentist can do Zoom Whitening, though some prefer other brands..

However, that doesn’t mean your dentist can do zoom whitening. Zoom is a brand, that requires special equipment. If your dentist doesn’t have that, then there is no way for him to do the procedure.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have your teeth whitened professionally. In fact, I can’t recall a dentist who doesn’t do take home teeth whitening. It’s a very easy procedure and extremely effective. Plus, you control how much whitening you want done.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.