Does it matter who does your crowns?

I have been diagnosed with TMJ Disorder. My dentist said he’d like to do what he calls a full-mouth reconstruction to repair it. As he explained it, that means crowns on every tooth. I’ve had a single crown done before. Does it matter that I’m getting all crowned for a TMJ problem? Does that require a specialist?

Sara

Dear Sara,

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair
How do you know if you have the best dentist for your needs?

One of the problems patients in your situation run into is there aren’t recognized specialties in either TMJ, recognstructive, or cosmetic dentistry. All of those of important areas of knowledge and skill for a dentist to do a full-mouth reconstruction.

This is a serious procedure which costs a great deal of money. While some pretty severe cases of TMJ Disorder do require drastic treatments, I always recommend you get a second opinion from a dentist with a lot of TMJ training before moving forward to see if this is really what you need.

Finding the Best Dentist for a Full-Mouth Reconstruction

As I mentioned earlier, the best dentists for a full-mouth reconstruction have expertise in TMJ, occlusion and restoration, as well as cosmetic work.

The occlusion, TMJ, and restoration is to make sure the bite is technically correct. You need the bite to line up correctly in order to help aide in the healing of your TMJ disorder. Look for dentists who’ve studied these type of topics at one of the following school:

  • The Dawson Academy
  • The Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies
  • The Kois Center

There are other great ones as well, but these are three of the best.

The cosmetic work is important so you’ll have a smile you’re proud of. In reality, it’s a great opportunity to get a stunning smile. If you are looking for the top of the line cosmetic dentists, you want to find a dentist who’s reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentists. They are in the top 1% of cosmetic dentistry in the country.

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

Flipper to Help teeth look straight

I don’t want braces. They take forever, look ridiculous, and from what I’ve heard from every middle-schooler, feel horrible. I have three teeth which stick out and are crooked. I wonder if a dental flipper can make them look straight. What do you think?

Ben

Dear Ben,

A woman putting in her Invisalign aligners in two stacked images
Invisalign: The Modern Orthodontic Solution

A dental flipper isn’t the solution you think it will be. It’s actually designed to be a temporary replacement for missing teeth and uses wires to clasp onto adjacent teeth.

There is something called snap-on smile which can snap over your teeth to make them look straight. They’re acceptable looking but not stunning. Because they snap over your teeth, some people have found that they look a bit bulky. If your teeth are sticking out they might look even more bulky.

Invisalign: A Great Alternative to Braces

You don’t have to get braces anymore. These days we have alternatives. Invisalign uses clear aligners to straighten your teeth. They’re completely invisible even at a conversational distance. This means you don’t have to worry about unsightly metal wires and brackets.

Because of that it is also comfortable. Plus, it works in about half the time of traditional braces. You can have naturally straight teeth sooner than you realize.

A Surprise Benefit to Invisalign

Many people don’t realize that the aligners Invisalign used to straighten your teeth can also double as teeth whitening trays. This means you can simultaneously whiten and straighten your teeth at the same time.

It’s like getting a mini smile makeover. You’ll feel confident and look years longer.

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

Adult tooth knocked loose

Is there anything which can be done about an adult tooth which is loose? I had an accident and dropped a hammer on my mouth. I thought everything was fine except for a fat lip, but this morning I can swear the front tooth feels loose. I thought I was imagining it at first, but now I’m pretty sure. It’s wiggling. Is this a lost cause or can it be saved?

Lizzie

Dear Lizzie,

Woman holding her jaw in pain from TMJ

Before I go over anything else, I’m going to encourage you to stop wiggling the tooth no matter how tempting it is to check. There are ligaments on your tooth which help keep them secure. Often when there is some trauma to the tooth those ligaments get stretched. However, if you keep wiggling it, the ligaments could snap, putting your teeth at greater risk.

Now that I’ve warned you about the wiggling, I can have some sympathy. Ouch! I can’t imaging how much it hurt to drop a hammer on your mouth.

It’s possible the tooth can be saved, but this is considered a dental emergency and you need to see your dentist right away. If you don’t have one, do an internet search for an emergency dentist. They are simply general dentists who are willing to see non-established patients quickly in situations such as yours.

Saving Loose Adult Teeth

The dentist will examine and do x-rays of the tooth. The x-rays are to establish whether there’s been any internal damage to the tooth. If there has, you’ll need a root canal treatment and possibly a dental crown.

If there hasn’t, and it’s just a matter of the ligaments being stretched, your dentist will stabilize the tooth with some type of splint to keep it secure while the ligaments heal.

Don’t put this off. Get it looked at quickly so you don’t risk loosing the tooth.

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

Notches & Erosion at gumline

I have notches on my teeth at the gumline a type of erosion from brushing too hard. I’m thinking of getting porcelain veneers as a means of covering it. As long as I don’t brush too hard, they should be fine, right?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

A pretty blonde with a pretty smile.
The best cosmetic dentists create beautiful smiles

I’m glad you wrote. It’s true that we used to think the kind of erosion of teeth you’re dealing with was caused by brushing too hard. We no longer believe that to be the case.

While it is still believed to wear away your gums, the notches and erosion on your teeth are now believed to be caused by bruxism. This is when you clench and grind your teeth. So, let’s see if I can’t help you with both issues.

Porcelain Veneers

Yes, you could get porcelain veneers and it will cover those notches. Whether or not you get a gorgeous smile with those veneers depends on the dentist who creates the smile.

Smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. It’s something a dentist will choose to study afterward if they’re interested. Some invest more in time and training than others. Some have an artistic eye and some don’t.

If you want a gorgeous smile, you need to look for an expert cosmetic dentist. Go to the website of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.com) and do a search for an accredited dentist in a realistic distance from you. AACD accredited dentists are of the highest caliber.

Bruxism and TMJ

Bruxism is biting stress on your teeth. When you grind your teeth or even clench them, it causes stress at the neck of the tooth leading to the problems you currently have, as well as weakening and cracking them. It will also lead to problems with your temporomandibular joint causing TMJ Disorder.

Even if you get porcelain veneers, this will need to be dealt with. You will continue with this habit without realizing it. Most people do it in their sleep. My suggestion is you see a TMJ dentist and get fitted for a nightguard as soon as your porcelain veneers are bonded.

If you’re not getting your smile makeover right away, be sure to get the nightguard now so you don’t do any further damage to your teeth.

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