Is It Really Necessary to See a Dentist Every Two Weeks for Invisalign?

I’m wanting to update my smile, but the site mentioned I’d have to come in every two weeks. I live in a very remote area. It takes me over three hours to get to the nearest dentist. I can’t imagine making that trip every two weeks. What’s the purpose of going so often?

Maleiki K.

Dear Maleiki,

Salem MA Invisalign

How great that you’re getting to update your smile. You’ll find that Invisalign has a very high patient satisfaction rate. There is an important purpose for those visits, but given your unique situation, you may see if your dentist would be willing to work with you.

Generally, they want to see you twice a month in order to make sure there are no problems with your treatment and the health of your gums is staying on track. They also give you your next pair of aligners. However, because your drive is so far, they may give you two pairs of aligners at a time so you only have to come once a month. You don’t want to wait more than that, because if a problem does develop such as gum disease or root absorption, the quicker the dentist catches it the better.

If you don’t catch those issues early enough it could derail your treatment. Left unchecked, you could even lose teeth.

Teeth Whitening and Invisalign

Given the limitations on your accessibility to a dentist, if you’ve ever considered getting your teeth whitened in your smile makeover, I’d talk to your dentist about doing it simultaneously with your Invisalign treatment.

It’s possible for your aligners to double as teeth whitening trays. Not only will this keep you from having to do another set of visits to the dentist, but it will also save you money on teeth whitening aligners. It’s a win-win for you.

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

Which One of Us Did the Emergency Dentist Give the Wrong Treatment?

Something doesn’t seem quite kosher in a recent experience my husband and I had with an emergency dentist. We both had similar symptoms on different days, but received vastly different treatment. I had a toothache that would flare up every now and again. It was tolerable and I was busy so I just went on with things, while keeping a gauge on it. Eventually, I had some time and went to an emergency dentist. I was surprised to hear I needed a root canal treatment and crown. I went ahead and got them because he was the dentist and I was in pain. A few weeks later, my husband mentions his tooth hurts. I warned him to go in right away so he wouldn’t end up needing a root canal treatment, but like me, he’s stubborn. He waited for several weeks until it blew up and the pain was more than he was willing to put up with. But, when he saw the same emergency dentist, he just got a filling. The way I see it, either I was cheated and given a treatment I didn’t really need or he wasn’t properly cared for. Which do you think I should be worried about?

Aleiya M.

Dear Aleiya,

A man in pain needs to see a Salem Emergency Dentist

What to Expect From Your Emergency Dentist

There are a couple of issues going on here. The first is that this emergency dentist didn’t explain why you needed those procedures to either you or your husband. It’s unfair for a dentist to allow you to get a procedure without first explaining why it’s necessary and takes the time to answer any questions you may have.

I haven’t examined either of you but can give you a general idea of why some patients need a root canal treatment and some don’t, even with the same symptoms. A root canal treatment can be done for a number of reasons. Some of those include having an infected tooth, a cracked tooth, or even a cavity where the decay has reached the pulp of your tooth or gotten too close to the nerves in your tooth. The crown can be necessary if the tooth has died or if a cavity is so large it would weaken the tooth too much to do a simple filling.

It’s possible you had a cavity which was so large it reached the pulp requiring a root canal treatment and a crown. Your husband’s decay may have spread much slower causing him to only need a simple filling. Again, I’m sorry your dentist didn’t explain to either of you why you needed the procedures.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

Another item that occurs to me is both of you needed to go to an emergency dentist. That often indicates you’re either new to the area and haven’t found a permanent dentist yet, or you have enough dental anxiety that you avoid getting regular dental care and only go in on an as-needed basis.

If you’re among the latter, let me assure you that there are dentists who cater to anxious patients. Working to put you at ease and give you a stress-free, pain-free dental appointment. I know getting regular care can be nerve-racking, but often just one or two appointments a year can not only prevent your cavities from spreading so far that the more intrusive procedures such as root canal treatment are not needed, but they can even prevent cavities altogether.

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

Store Bought TMJ Treatment

I’m drowning in medical bills right now and don’t think I can afford a dentist. But, my jaw has locked up. My sister says TMJ does that and that I need an oral device to help. All I know is I can’t even eat. I’ve heard you can use an oral mouthguard to treat TMJ. I saw one at the pharmacy the other day and it was only about $20. I can afford that much. Is there anything I need to know about using it?

Drew A.

Dear Drew,

TMJ Treatment Dentist

Your sister is right on both points. Lock-jaw is often caused by TMJ Disorder. While, the orthotic anterior repositioning splint can be used to treat TMJ, that’s not what you saw at the store. A mouthguard is completely different. They’re used to protect people’s teeth from habitual tooth grinding. If that’s an issue you struggle with, you’ll want a mouthguard after you finish your TMJ treatment. However, the store bought ones aren’t custom fit. They just come in small, medium, or large. You can also find a one size fits all. They’re okay on a temporary basis, but you’ll grind through them rather quickly.

One made by your dentist will be more effective. I know your TMJ is the focus right now, but if you don’t protect your teeth from the grinding there are serious consequences. Not only does the grinding aggravate your TMJ, but it can lead to cracked teeth or even teeth coming loose and needing to be replaced. Best case scenario, they end up ground down to nubs and all need to be crowned. Talk about expensive!

But, back to your current issue. Here’s what I’d like you to do in the immediate so we can try to get the swelling down and get you eating again. I’d like you to take 800 mg. of ibuprofen about three times a day. In addition, you need to alternate heat and ice packs. Wear them for about ten minutes at a time, a few times a day as you’re able.

You will need to see a dentist to get the appropriate treatment. I know you’re buried in medical bills right now. Many dentists are compassionate and would be willing to work with you on payments so you can get the treatment you need right away and pay it out later.

Even if you can’t find one willing to work you, Care Credit is a fantastic option. It’s a medical “credit card”, but they let you choose your terms.

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