My aligners got warped

I’m hoping you can help me. I went to lunch with a friend yesterday and left my aligners in the car. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I live in Arizona and it’s June.  I just thought it would be more convenient to take them out before getting in the restaurant. As you can imagine, when I returned, the heat had done a number on them. Am I still able to wear them?

Britton L. – Arizona


Oh no!  I looked up temps and saw that Arizona is supposed to be close to 120 degrees this week. Yikes! It must be an incredible place to live for you to put up with temps like that.

Unfortunately, your Invisalign aligners are no longer wearable. They’re designed very precisely to gently move your teeth into a new position.

If you’re early in this sets two weeks, you could put on your old set, contact your dentist and have him make you another pair of this set.  If you’re later in your two weeks, it’s possible (only possible) that he or she will allow you to move on the to the next pair of aligners.

You don’t want to move ahead on aligners much, because the roots of your teeth need time to catch up to the crown movement. If you don’t give it that time, your teeth can become loose.

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Help! My Tooth Crumbled Into My Food

I just received a temporary filling and am getting a root canal treatment in just a few days. I was eating some sticky rice at an Asian restaurant when I felt something weird going on with my tooth. Then I felt grains of what I think is my tooth structure in the my food. I think my tooth is crumbling. Can this wait until my root canal appointment or do I need to be seen in an emergency visit?

Marsha V. – Nashville


That depends on whether it’s the actual tooth structure crumbling or just the temporary crown coming apart. They’re designed to come out fairly easily so that is a real possibility. Sticky foods can also help that along.

Here’s what I’d like you to do, if you haven’t already. Look at the tooth. Does it look like it’s the tooth structure itself that’s coming apart, or is there a divot where the filling was placed?

If it’s the tooth itself, I’d call the dentist and ask if he wants you to come in for an emergency dental visit. If it’s the temporary filling, you’ll be fine.

There is dental filling material you can purchase at a local pharmacy. It’s also designed to be temporary and will not be a good subsititute for a permanent filling. You’re the exact type of case this store bought filling is used for. It will help keep things in place until you go in for your root canal treatment.

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Should I Get a Second Opinion From a TMJ Dentist?

I went through about two years of braces when I was a teen and I stuck with it. I even wore the retainer like I was supposed to for years. My teeth look straight to me, and I’ve never needed to see a TMJ specialist or anything, just the orthodontist, but my dentist says my bite isn’t right. He wants me to get crowns on all my teeth to fix it. In all fairness, I’ve already had a couple of cavities, and I think we got on this because I said I wanted my teeth whiter, but getting crowns everywhere seems excessive to me. Should I get a second opinion from a TMJ specialist or is what he’s telling me on the up and up?


Lance – Michigan

Dear Lance,

A second opinion from a TMJ specialist would be a good idea. There’s a whole lot going on here and it’s unclear why your dentist made the recommendation he did. TMJ problems are serious, and they do need correction, but you haven’t indicated that you have any symptoms of a TMJ problem. Usually, people will mention jaw pain, popping, grinding, clicking, or generalized mouth pain. Even migraines can be a symptom of a TMJ problem. If you have these kinds of severe symptoms, you should have a consultation with a TMJ specialist.

As for having the crowns done, this is one way to go about correcting bite issues, but there are also less invasive and less expensive ways to go about doing it, too. Wanting whiter teeth is no excuse to jump in and get crowns either. Unless you’ve had work done on your front teeth, you can have whitening done. Even if you do already have dental work on those teeth, you can have it replaced after whitening so it all matches.

If you’re suffering from issues because of your bite, you should take some kind of corrective action. Maybe crowns are the answer for you, but that kind of treatment also requires the help of a specialist- someone who has undergone additional training and routinely performs full mouth reconstructions. It’s not the kind of thing you’d want done by a general dentist unless he has honed in his skills.

Either half of the story didn’t come through in your message or your dentist didn’t give you a clear picture of what’s happening and why. Regardless, this would be a huge undertaking, and it’s certainly well worth your time to see a TMJ specialist to discuss your bite and possible corrective measures that can be taken.

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What If I Hate My Dentures?

I got dentures, because I thought the dental implants my dentist quoted me were too crazy expensive. That was a  mistake.  Is it too late? Are there ways to get them cheaper? These dentures like to move around. I hate them.

Micah L – Kentucky


It’s not too late. You could still get dental implants if you’re a good candidate.  I wouldn’t just look for the cheapest dentist who does dental implants. That could cause some serious problems. Some of them are cheap for a very bad reason–they cut corners.

If you’re needing something on the more affordable side, you might consider snap-on dentures.  it requires a minimum of two implants, but it will secure your dentures quite well. Then, if you’d like, you can save up money for more implants as you’re able.

It’s a great alternative for someone who wants the security of implants, but doesn’t want to get a full set.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.