Dingy Invisalign Solution

My sister’s Invisalign is still sparkling clean and looks completely invisible. Mines getting dingy. What am I doing worng?

Cath

Dear Cath,

Clear Invisalgin Aligner
Keeping Invisalign Sparkling is Simple

I’m glad you wrote. No one wants a dingy smile. Plus, your Invisalign is designed to be unseen. I’m going to give you four tips which will help you keep them sparkling clean.

Never Use Toothpaste on Invisialign

Toothpaste, especially whitening toothpastes, are too abrasive for your Invisalign aligners. Using that will cause tiny scratches on your aligners. Those scratches will begin to pick up stains, which could by the cause of your dinginess.

When you received your first aligners, your dentist should have provided you with an Invisalign cleaning kit. That’s what you’ll use to clean them. If your dentist neglected that, call your office and request one. In the meantime, you can give them a brush using a very soft toothbrush with a baking soda and water mixture. This is gentle enough to not damage them.

No Smoking or Vaping with your Invisalign In

While most patients know not to eat with their aligners in, some don’t realize that smoking or vaping can rapidly stain them. If you happen to have one of these habits and you can’t just quit, make sure you take your aligners out before indulging.

Brush and Floss Your Teeth

What is left on your teeth after a meal, will soak into your aligners. It is important you brush and floss after every meal before placing your Invisalign back in your mouth. If you don’t, that traps bacteria in there making you a strong candidate for decay.

DIY Disinfectant

It wouldn’t hurt to give them a good soak every once in a while. You don’t have to do it regularly, but seeing as they’re having some issues, you want to make sure you get rid of any lurking bacteria at least this once.

An easy DIY solution for this is peroxide and warm water. Use a 50/50 mixture to loosen the stains. Then rinse them out. If you’re still worried about bacteria, you can do the same thing with vinegar and water, just don’t leave them in the mixture more than about 10-15 minutes because vinegar is acidic. Also, make sure you’re using white vinegar.

Give these a try and enjoy getting those beautiful, straight teeth.
This blog is brought to you by Salem Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Why Is My Tooth Gray After Dental Visit?

I went to see a dentist because of some tooth pain. He did an x-ray but said he didn’t see anything wrong. He decided to cap the tooth because he said the symptoms reminded him of of a cracked tooth. The tooth pain went away, but now I noticed the tooth next to it is gray. Did the dentist do something to it?

Carla

Dear Carla,

Woman holding her jaw in pain from TMJ

When you have a dental emergency, all you care about is getting out of pain. I haven’t seen your x-rays so I’m having to just draw some possibilities.

First, there could have been a misdiagnosis. The only way to tell this with certainty is to have another dentist look at your x-rays and tell you if the true problem was obvious. If it was, then you have a right to a full refund from the original dentist.

Another option is that you did have a cracked tooth which needed a dental crown, then later, the adjacent tooth was injured by something else. Let’s be honest, this is very unlikely. But, as it is a possibility I mention it.

The third option is much more likely. Both teeth could have experienced trauma at the same time but it took the second tooth a while to show it’s injury.

Is a Gray Tooth a Dental Emergency?

When a tooth is gray it means it is either dead or dying. When that happens it needs a root canal treatment. It’s not a dental emergency yet, but if you don’t get it taken care of can turn into one quickly.

You didn’t seem to feel too confident in the dentist who gave you a dental crown, so you may want to let whichever dentist you go to for your second opinion do your root canal treatment.

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

Dentist Holding Teeth Hostage

I’m in a pickle. I’m losing my teeth. I know it’s my fault, but that doesn’t actually change my predicament. I need to replace them and asked for dentures because of cost. My dentist said he only placed dental implants and won’t give me dentures because of my age. I feel like my teeth are being held hostage by my dentist. Please tell me I’ll have alternatives.

Clarke R.

Dear Clarke,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

While every dentist has the right to their practices treatment philosophy, I think this is unfair. Not everyone can afford the ideal. Instead, give patients their options. Tell them the pros and cons of their decision. Then, let them decide.

I will say one thing to your dentist’s credit, if you’re middle-aged or younger, he’s trying to save you from a devastating fate later. Once your teeth are removed, you body will begin reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. It does this because there are no longer any teeth roots and it perceives that as you not needing as much jawbone anymore.

The problem with this is your jaw begins to shrink. Your dentures just rest on the ridge of your jawbone, so after ten years or so there is no longer enough jawbone left to keep your dentures in. This is known as facial collapse and can derail your health. Without an ability to retain your dentures, you’ll be on a liquid diet.

Options to Complete Removable Dentures

Ideally, you’d get what’s known as implant overdentures. This allows you to anchor your dentures with about 4-6 dental implants per arch. There are quite a few benefits to this. No matter how well-fitted your dentures are, you lose about
50% of your chewing capacity. Having securely anchored dentures, gives you a normal chewing capacity again.

In addition to that, you no longer have to worry about them slipping or sliding. However, the biggest benefit is the prevention of the facial collapse I mentioned above. The implants serve as prosthetic tooth roots. This signals to your body that those minerals are still necessary.

However, I do realize not everyone can afford this option. In that case, my suggestion would be to get snap-on dentures. This allows you to get as few as two implants, which is much more affordable. It will keep your dentures from falling out and will preserve the bone near those two implants. As you can afford it, it will be incredibly beneficial for you to add implants.

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

Does TMJ Require Surgery?

I’ve been having jaw pain. I did some research to find out what it could be and all the online articles point to TMJ. They also say it can require surgery to fix. I’m only 25 but am completely on my own financially. I don’t think there is any way I can afford surgery. Are there other options? Can they give you a med that allows you time to save up for surgery?

Melissa

Dear Melissa,

Chart of TMJ and Neuromuscular Dentistry

We’re jumping the gun here a bit. The first thing you’d want to do is see a dentist to see if you are suffering from TMJ Disorder. Even if you are, surgery isn’t generally the first go to. Your TMJ Dentist will look for the cause of the TMJ pain first, before outlining any treatment plan.

As you can see from the chart above, there are many reasons why you could be in pain. Sometimes it is something other than the joint itself. For instance, your bite could be out of alignment and starting to wear down the temporomandibular joint.

If that’s the case, your dentist will decide if you need a temporary orthotic to shift your bite and align it into proper positioning, or if you need some additional dental work like a dental implant or porcelain crown.

Only in very rare cases is anything like a full-mouth reconstruction or surgery necessary.

The Key to Proper TMJ Treatment

To ensure you get the proper treatment, you need to make sure you are going to an experienced TMJ Dentist. There isn’t a recognized TMJ Specialty, so it is up to the patient to find out what type of qualifications their dentist has to give them the right treatment.

Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist what type of TMJ training they have. Dental school isn’t enough. It must be post-doctoral work. I’m going to suggest you click here to look at Dr. Burba’s TMJ Dentist page in order to know what type of training you should look for.

Bear in mind, a good dentist will recommend the least invasive treatment for this type of situation first.

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