Feel Stupid Asking My Dentist About Invisalign

I want to repair my smile, but I a little embarrassed to ask my dentist about it. I have a couple of gums that are longer than the others. I wondered if Invisalign would fix it, but when I asked the hygienist about it, she laughed at me like that was the dumbest idea ever.  Now I feel pretty stupid. I thought I’d ask you instead. Is it a dumb idea? I liked the idea of fixing my teeth without needing metal all over my teeth.

Adrianna N. – Colorado

Adrianna,

You should never feel stupid talking to your dentist about anything. The reaction of the hygienist was inappropriate, to say the least. While she is right that Invisalign won’t fix your gums, she should have explained why.

Invisalign, like any other type of orthodontics (including traditional metal braces). only fixes your bite.  The gums can be repaired, but it will require something called a gingivectomy. This will remove the extra gum tissue from your teeth. It’s a simple, quick procedure which is done in just one office visit.

After that’s done, if you’re still wanting to do something like straighten your teeth, then Invisalign will be a good option. If you’re wanting a more dramatic cosmetic change than just straighten your teeth, then I suggest you inquire about porcelain veneers. These can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth.

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

Is This White Sore in My Mouth Cancer?

I’ve got this painful white sore in my mouth. It’s making it hard to eat. Do I have cancer? Should I see a dentist?

Missy P. – Kentucky

Missy,

I couldn’t tell you if it was oral cancer without examining it.  Before you panic, though, it could just as likely be a canker sore. Your dentist should be doing regular examinations for oral cancer. If you don’t have a dentist, you can see an emergency dentist if it turns out not to be a canker sore.

True canker sores usually clear up between 10-14 days. It will just be a matter of managing the pain until then. There are oral antiseptics you can purchase over the counter.  They won’t take care of all the pain, but they can take the edge off of it.

If it doesn’t clear up in that amount of time, it’s time to get it checked out.  As I said before, if you don’t have a regular dentist an emergency dentist will see you. I have seen that most people who avoid the dentist do so out of fear.  There are dentists who are compassionate with fearful patients, who have methods of giving you a pain-free dental appointment.

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

Why Do I Need an Occlusion Specialist?

I’m a little confused. My dentist has been treating me for TMJ for almost a year. We’ve tried a couple of things, but now he wants to send me to something called an occlusion specialist. Is he just trying to pawn me off?

Elle W. – California

Elle,

I don’t think he’s trying to pawn you off. It’s more likely he realized the cause of your TMJ problems are from your bite and wanted you to see someone who had more training in that area. To me, that means he cares more about getting you the right care than he does about taking your money.

If your bite is off, it really can be the cause of your TMJ. It can throw your temporomandibular joint completely out, that can cause jaw pain, migraines, popping, even lock jaw.

Getting your bite in line can give you the relief you’ve been seeking.

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

My Dentist Has Me Terrified I’m Going to Be Humiliated

I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. I want dental implants, but can’t afford them. I’m stuck with dentures. But, my dentist keeps telling me these horror stories about people’s dentures falling out in public situations. I’m terrified I’m going to be humiliated. Is this a given? Am I eventually going to be on one of the “funniest videos” shows?

Amanda L.  – Missouri

Amanda,

I think it is unfair for your dentist to try to scare you into a procedure. He’s supposed to tell you the pros and cons of each procedure, but not this way.  This is histrionics.

The real downside to dentures as opposed to dental implants is the loss of jawbone. When your teeth are removed, your body begins reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere. Eventually, that causes your jawbone to shrink and your dentures to slip.

Let me say, that takes several years to happen, so you have a couple of options. First, you can get snap-on dentures. While they’re not as ideal as implants, they’re a great option for people in your position. They anchor the dentures to your gums. You can get them as few as two implants. You can get more, of course, but two are the most affordable.

That also helps with your second option. Get dentures (or snap-on dentures) while saving up for implants. You can gradually add more implants as you’re able.

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