Affordable Tooth Replacements for Patient with Traumatic Brain Injury

My cousin had a traumatic brain injury. I’ve taken over his care while he’s not able to care for himself. I was surprised to discover he hadn’t had dental care in quite some time. I took him in worried what the prognosis would be. Most of his teeth can’t be saved. I don’t have a lot of money, but I don’t want to leave him without teeth. Is there an affordable way to replace teeth?

Benson P. – Seattle

Benson,

It’s great that you’re stepping up to care for your cousin. And, you’re right, he doesn’t need to be left without teeth. It will cause more problems. The ideal tooth replacement is dental implants, but they’re quite pricey. Depending on the severity of his brain injury and his prognosis for quality of life, that may not be your best option anyway. The most affordable replacement option for him will be dentures. Though, they’re not anchored.  If his brain injury is severe you may want to consider anchoring them, even with just mini implants.

However, make sure you work with a dentist who has experience with traumatic brain injuries and patience.  Sometimes their personality changes and not always in the easiest ways to deal with. You want your cousin’s experience to be as pleasant as possible.

With the extractions, he’ll need sedation dentistry. I know you’re trying to save money. Many dentists offer payment plans. I don’t know if you’ve applied for disability for your cousin, but there are resources for you. You’re not on your own, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk with someone who knows the best and fastest way to access those resources.

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

Why Do My Dental Implant Keep Snapping Off?

Can you help me? I’m feeling desperate at this point?  I needed to replace a tooth I’d lost many years ago. My dentist insisted I get bone grafting done first, which I did. That had to heal. Then I had the implant surgery.  That required more healing.  Finally, a year later, I received the implant crown. Just a month later, it snapped off. My dentist offered to re-do everything. So, I go through it all again. The end of year two approaches. Then again, just a few weeks later the implant breaks.  He says he’ll re-do it one more time, but that is it. He thinks I’m doing something reckless with the implants, but I’ve racked my brain and cannot come up with what I’m doing wrong. Can you help me?

Katrina V. – Pennsylvania

Katrina,

The problem isn’t you. It’s your dentist. Tell him you just want a refund and get this done somewhere else. Dental implants shouldn’t break off like that.  When there is dental implant failure of this type,  it is usually for one of two reasons.

  1. Your dentist is cutting corners by purchasing implant materials overseas. A well-made implant will cost at least $200 here. If they’re purchased overseas they’re only a few dollars. The big problem with that, is they’re so cheap because they’re made cheaply.

When the first one broke it should have given your dentist pause to think about why.

2. A second reason for an implant to break is the dentist isn’t placing them properly. It’s not just a matter of lining up the implant to handle direct force. Our teeth move in a grinding motion, too, when we chew our food. If the implant isn’t carefully placed, just chewing will weaken and eventually snap.

I don’t like the fact that your dentist is trying to blame you for his incompetence. Either he was too incompetent to place them properly or he was too incompetent to recognize the implants he purchased were cheaply made and not holding up.

When you do go to another dentist to have these done, make sure it’s a dentist with enough training to be considered a dental implant specialist.

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

Is Snoring Really Dangerous?

I just recently got married.  My wife is panicking over my snoring. She insists it’s dangerous and I need to see a dentist. Why a dentist? Is it really dangerous or is she overreacting? I’ve been snoring pretty much my whole life and seemed to have made it through so far.

Mark L. – Tennessee

Mark,

First, let me say congratulations on your new union. It’s wonderful having someone to share your life with. I know it seems like your wife if overreacting, but at least you know she loves you. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t care if snoring was dangerous. She’d only care that you’re likely keeping her awake.

Regarding the snoring. Often it is a sign that you have sleep apnea. That is dangerous. Sleep apnea means your throat is being blocked. In mild cases, that leads to snoring. But, there are more serious cases, too, where you stop breathing.

You won’t know you’re doing it because you’re asleep. Your body recognizes you’ve stopped breathing and jolts you awake so you start breathing again. In some patients, this happens over and over throughout the night without you even realizing. One symptom this is happening to you is waking up tired even after a full nights sleep.

As you can imagine, this is stressful to your heart. Patients with sleep apnea, which is left untreated, can end up with heart and blood pressure problems. This is likely what your new bride is referring to.

In many cases, there is a simple fix. A small (and comfortable) orthotic can be worn while you sleep. The device repositions your jaw so your breathing passage is no longer blocked, giving you all the oxygen you need.  You’ll find, after treatment, you wake up much more refreshed every day.

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

Can a Cosmetic Dentistry Disaster Be Fixed?

I spent a small fortune on a smile makeover. The “teeth” aren’t nearly as white as I wanted. My dentist says it’s because they need to look natural. They’re also a little wider than I expected. One of them keeps falling off. I’ve had my dentist put it back on three times, which he has done without charging me. But, he’s getting tired of it because the last time he casually mentioned that it’s a tooth that didn’t need much work and probably doesn’t need the veneer anyway.  I don’t think he wants to keep putting it back on. I don’t know what I’m doing to keep knocking it off. Can this be fixed?

Stacey L. – Virginia

Stacey,

He said what!? Seriously?  Believe me, you’re not the problem. This dentist is.  I’m sure he’s a fine family dentist. He’s just not the best dentist for your in this situation. Though not a recognized specialty, cosmetic dentistry is an entirely different beast than general dentistry.

To do it well requires significant post-graduate training and an artistic eye. Some things can’t be taught. Ideally, you’ll want a dentist is who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). That’s more than just a membership. These dentists are among the top cosmetic dentists in the world.

You’re not the problem with this porcelain veneer falling off. He is.  He’s not bonding it properly. Yet another evidence he doesn’t have the skill required here. And to answer your question, yes, it can be fixed, just not by this dentist. If it falls off again, don’t go to him. Go to a qualified, skilled cosmetic dentist to get a second opinion on your case. It’s possible you can get a refund and have it done by someone who can give you a stunning smile. One that is as brilliantly white as you dreamed.

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