Category Archives: Invisalign

Is Using Invisalign Trays for Teeth Whitening Burning My Gums?

I am self-whitening my teeth after Invisalign because my dentist’s whitening fee is too expensive, and she is not willing to give me a discount. I kept all my Invisalign trays, so I use the last set for whitening. I bought carbamide peroxide gel and use it as directed. I’ve used the gel for more than a week, and now my gums are red and burning. Have I permanently damaged my gums? Are the Invisalign trays making my gums burn? Thank you. Alondra from Lansing, MI


Thank you for your question. Although some dentists approve of patients using Invisalign trays for teeth whitening, not all agree. We recommend pausing your whitening treatment and letting a dentist examine your teeth and gums.

Why Does Bleaching Gel Burn Your Gums?

When teeth bleaching gel burns your gums, several causes may include:

  • Bleaching trays – Your Invisalign trays may not fit properly. Although the Invisalign trays fit well for aligning your teeth, bleaching gel may be oozing out onto your gums and burning them. Custom trays that fit well seal the gel against your teeth and do not release it onto your gums.
  • Bleaching gel strength – You mentioned that you purchased carbamide peroxide gel. The gel strength may be too intense for your teeth and gums. A lower-strength gel may help.
  • Bleach gel contents – Although you purchased bleaching gel that contains carbamide peroxide, it may contain irritants that burn your gums.
  • Too much bleaching gel – Avoid over-filling the bleaching trays or leaving the gel on too long.

Are Your Burned Gums Permanently Damaged?

Burned gums from bleaching gel may turn white and peel. They will recover in a week or two, but you should discontinue treatment until you see a dentist to determine why they are burning.

When Can You Resume Teeth Whitening?

You can resume teeth whitening when you know what is causing discomfort and are sure that your bleaching trays fit well. Although your dentist’s rates for whitening are more than you want to pay, consider these suggestions and facts.

  • Schedule an exam with your dentist or another dentist to examine your teeth and gums and ensure you do not require treatment to help your gums heal.
  • Check other dentists’ costs for whitening. Some dentists have options to make whitening affordable.
  • A dentist will take impressions of your teeth for custom bleaching trays to whiten your teeth without burning your gums.
  • A dentist will give you a strength of bleaching gel compatible with your teeth and gum sensitivity.

Burba Dental’s cosmetic dentists in Salem, Massachusetts, sponsor this post.

Root Canal Issue Is Delaying My Invisalign Treatment

I am concerned about a root canal issue that is delaying my Invisalign treatment. Last November, my dentist filled a small cavity. But the tooth became sensitive to cold on and off. My dentist said I needed a root canal and a crown. He completed treatment, but my dentist had problems getting the bite correct. I was beginning to get jaw pain and earaches. The tooth settled down a bit but was still a little sensitive. Within the past two weeks, the sensitivity increased. When I went to the dentist last week, he said he might need to repeat the root canal. But I am six months pregnant now. And I am a little frustrated because this ordeal is delaying when I can start Invisalign. How do I know if I need repeat root canal treatment? – Lashelle from Kansas


Thank you for contacting our office.

Although Dr. Burba would need to examine your tooth and crown, we are concerned about your dentist. It is unusual for a small cavity to end up with an infection and root canal treatment. And your dentist has been unable to resolve tooth sensitivity completely.

From Small Cavity to Root Canal Treatment?

When a dentist tells you that they filled a small cavity, but the tooth soon needs root canal treatment, the dentist’s diagnosis was incorrect. The cavity must have been large, or your dentist missed signs of infection.

Tooth Sensitivity After a Filling and Crown

A tooth infection may be causing the sensitivity. But your dentist may have made a mistake while placing the filling or during your root canal treatment.

Dental X-rays During Pregnancy

We understand your concerns about exposing your baby to x-ray radiation or chemicals during pregnancy. But dental x-rays emit low radiation. So, you can review the American Dental Association’s recommendations about dental care during pregnancy. But if you have a tooth infection, it can potentially spread into your bloodstream and become more serious.

If you are skeptical about your dentist’s care, we recommend finding an advanced cosmetic dentist. The dentist will examine your tooth to identify the cause of sensitivity and your jaw pain and earaches. The dentist will also determine if you have a tooth infection and need repeat root canal treatment. Although the process is delaying your Invisalign treatment, it is best to resolve it now than have the issue recur or worsen during orthodontic care.

Best wishes for a quick resolution.

The Salem, Massachusetts, dentists at Burba Dental Partners sponsor this post.

Will Invisalign Break My Root Canal Tooth?

My dentist says I need a root canal on my left incisor before beginning Invisalign treatment. I was concerned about needing a crown on a front tooth that would turn yellow or dark around my gums. But my dentist explained that she does not need to place a crown after the root canal; she will fill it instead. Now I’m wondering if the tooth will break because it is weak after root canal treatment. And with Invisalign repositioning my teeth, isn’t it just a matter of time before the tooth breaks? Thanks. Jocelyn from Poughkeepsie, NY

Thank you for your question, Jocelyn. Although one of our dentists would need to examine your tooth for an accurate diagnosis, we will offer some basic information about root canals and orthodontic treatment.

Does Root Canal Treatment Weaken Teeth?

Teeth that require root canal treatment are already weak from decay, trauma, or extensive fillings. And root canal treatment can weaken them. But whether a dentist places a crown on the tooth depends on the tooth’s condition and position.

  • Back teeth – Back teeth must withstand the forces of chewing and grinding food. So, dentists protect the teeth with crowns after root canal treatment.
  • Front teeth – Fewer forces affect front teeth. It is unlikely for an incisor to split vertically, but sometimes it can break horizontally. But preparing an incisor for a dental crown can weaken the tooth near the base before its roots. If you lost most of your tooth structure or if the tooth is already cracked. A dentist can reinforce your tooth with a flexible post and fill the tooth with dental composite. Removing root canal filler material will prevent your tooth from turning dark.

Will Invisalign Break Your Root Canal Tooth?

Upper and lower Invisalign trays
Your root canal tooth must heal before starting orthodontic treatment

Your dentist will begin orthodontic treatment when your root canal tooth is stable to prevent any trauma during treatment. Healing time can take one to two months, but each patient’s case is different, so your dentist will explain what you can expect. Also, Invisalign and other types of clear aligners move teeth with precision and gently apply force on your teeth.

If you are hesitant about your dentist’s treatment recommendation, ask questions to ensure you understand them. And you can consider getting a second opinion.

The cosmetic dentists at Burba Dental Partners of Salem, Massachusetts, sponsor this post. They participate in continuing education to offer some of the best dental care in the Boston area.

Questions about Cosmetic Work

I want to get porcelain veneers, but have some questions. I can’t afford to get them on all my teeth, so can I just whiten them? If so, do I do it before or after the veneers? Another question I have is about Invisalign. I have a slightly crooked front tooth. When I talked to my dentist, he hinted that I may want to do Invisalign before getting the veneers. I may be wrong about this, but I thought that porcelain veneers could make teeth look straight. Was I wrong about that?


Dear Simone,

Porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth.

I am a bit concerned about the dentist you are using for this. I will say that up front. We’ll get into that more in a moment. First, let me answer your questions.

You should almost always whiten your teeth when you are getting porcelain veneers, even if it is just for your bottom teeth. Teeth whitening is even more important if you are not getting enough veneers to cover all the visible top teeth when you smile. This should definitely be done before getting any porcelain veneers. It is much easier to match porcelain veneers to the whitened teeth exactly. It’s almost impossible to stop the whitening at the perfect time.

Invisalign and Porcelain Veneers

Invisalign aligner

As for Invisalign, I haven’t seen your case, but in many cases Invisalign can make your teeth look straight when done by a skilled, artistic cosmetic dentist. The way you described your situation I would think porcelain veneers would do a fine job.

My guess is your dentist is not comfortable with that portion of the makeover, so he’s trying to convince you to pay for Invisalign to make his job easier.

How to Get a Beautiful Smile Makeover

You are not going to get the smile makeover you want with this dentist. I get the feeling he has not invested in much post-doctoral training in cosmetic work. Here is the problem you are facing. Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty. That means any dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist.

Even worse, doing smile makeovers is not taught in dental school. It is completely up to the dentist how much training they invest in. So, how will you go about finding a dentist skilled enough to provide you with a beautiful smile?

The easiest way is to find an AACD accredited dentist. This is a program that was started by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry to give patients a way of knowing which dentists have the skills and artistry to provide you with a stunning smile. Dentists who pass accreditation are the best cosmetic dentists in the country.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.
Click here to read about Dr. Burba’s Beautiful Smile Guarantee.

Can I Switch Dentists During Invisalign Treatment?

I am in the middle of my Invisalign treatment. I do love my Invisalign treatment. It is comfortable and I am can see the results. However, the dentist I am using is intolerable. He’s rude and always talks about controversial issues. He’s angry all the time. Plus, he’s got bad breath. I could live with the latter, though it isn’t pleasant. I just don’t want to spend the rest of this time dreading my appointments because of all his rants. It’s like getting Invisalign from Stalin. Is it possible to switch Invisalign dentists during treatment? He isn’t my normal dentist. I love my regular dentist and have checkups with him on schedule, but he doesn’t offer any orthodontics. I had a Groupon for this guy. but it has been too difficult.



Dear Laura,

Invisalign Aligner

I am sorry you have had such a horrible experience. I was surprised to hear you had a Groupon for Invisalign. My guess is this dentist has a hard time keeping patients so this was a way to draw new ones in.

Your happiness with your Invisalign itself doesn’t surprise me, though. It has one of the highest patient satisfaction rates of any dental treatment. The good news is you can definitely switch dentists in the middle of your treatment. Additionally, your dentist is under an ethical obligation to provide your new Invisalign dentist with all your diagnostics and treatment notes.

The only downside may be that because you did this through Groupon with Dr. Stalin, you may have to pay a little more with the second dentist who may not offer this same price. From what you have described, it will be worth it though to be rid of this dentist, though.

A Bonus Benefit with Invisalign

There is a way you can get a little bonus treat, however. I doubt your current Invisalign dentist mentioned it. Because the Invisalign aligners are custom-fit to correct your bite into proper alignment, they can also double as teeth whitening trays.

This means you can just get the professional-strength teeth whitening gel from your dentist without the expense of having to have bleaching trays made. Between that and Invisalign, it is like getting a mini smile makeover at a fraction of the cost.

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

She Needs to Leave This “Cosmetic” Dentist

I went to see a dentist who advertises as a cosmetic dentist. I mostly wanted them whiter and brighter. I also have a slightly crooked front tooth, but it really isn’t that crooked, certainly not enough to pay for braces. I wanted to get some porcelain veneers on my upper arch. But, the cosmetic dentist I saw wants me to do Invisalign first and then get the porcelain veneers. If the tooth is only a little crooked, is that really necessary?


Dear Madeline,

Invisalign Aligner

I want you to find a different dentist to work on your smile makeover. While I am sure he calls himself a cosmetic dentist, there are a couple of things that bother me here. You should be aware that cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty. Any general dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist regardless of the amount training they have invested in.

I have a strong feeling your dentist doesn’t have much training. Under normal circumstances, you would either need porcelain veneers OR orthodontics, not both. Porcelain veneers, done skillfully, can make crooked teeth look straight. He obviously does not know how to do this, so he is setting up the ideal situation for himself. This does not inspire confidence in me with his abilities.

Doing smile makeovers are not taught in dental school. In order to learn how to do them well, a dentist would have to invest in significant post-doctoral training.

If you want a smile makeover done well. You want a dentist with the highest skills.

However, there is something else for you to consider. If the only thing wrong with your teeth is you need them whiter and brighter, plus there is one crooked tooth you could save a significant amount of money by instead doing Invisalign with tooth whitening. In fact, the Invisalign aligners can double as the teeth whitening trays thereby saving you even more money. Unless there is something else you want to change about your smile, that is what I would recommend.

However, if you decide you still want to have porcelain veneers done, perhaps because you want the fastest solution, then I would look for a dentist with more expertise. In fact, I would only go to a dentist who is AACD accredited. These are the best cosmetic dentists because they have the proven skills and artistry.

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

Dentist Insisting I Get Invisalign

I feel horrible about my teeth and now my dentist has made me feel even worse about both that and my finances. I have two crowns on my front teeth. They’re 16 years old so they are in definite need of replacing. When I went to see my dentist about that, he insisted I have Invisalign done first before he would replace the crowns. The front teeth do stick out a little, not a ton. I”m ashamed to say I don’t have the money to do both procedures. If I do the Invisalign, I won’t be able to replace the crowns, but my dentist won’t replace them without straightening my teeth first. What do I do?


Dear Miriam,

Clear Invisalgin Aligner
Invisalign’s aligners are invisible, even at a conversational distance.

I’m very sorry your dentist has placed you in this position. It is unfair of him to insist on perfect cases or nothing. I am going to tell you now that this isn’t the best dentist for you. I’d like you to look for another one. In your case, I’d like you to look for an expert cosmetic dentist.

Your crowns can be replaced with or without you doing Invisalign. In fact, you can get your crowns replaced and then do Invisalign later if you’d like. It’s completely up to you. It is obvious to anyone with a brain the teeth can have dental crowns, even with their slight overbite, because you already have them.

What Type of Dentist Should you Get

crowned front teeth without all-porcelain crowns and then with

You are replacing your front teeth which is one of the first things people notice about you. You’ll want a dentist who understands both the technical aspects of your procedure but also has an artistic eye. This way you may get a beautiful smile. Plus, you can be assured a dentist with the right skills and training will know to only place all-porcelain crowns on your front teeth.

The image above, on the left side, shows teeth with metal-based crowns on the front teeth. The right side shows that same patient who had their dental crowns replaced with all-porcelain crowns. You can see what a beautiful smile a great cosmetic dentist is able to create.

I’d look for an AACD accredited dentist in your area. If you can’t find one. Try Any dentist they recommend is excellent.

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

Best Way to Fix My Nephews Teeth

My nephew wants to be an actor but his teeth are pretty crooked, at least in my opinion. He is about to graduate from high school. I want to get his teeth repaired for him as his graduation present so he can pursue his dream of being an actor. I spoke to one dentist who suggested Lumineers, but I’m a little concerned about this option. It doesn’t have the best reviews. Plus, from what I hear they will only last about 15 years. Should I look for something more permanent?

Aunt Mary

Dear Aunt Mary,

Clear Invisalgin Aligner
Invisalign’s aligners are invisible, even at a conversational distance.

If only everyone had an aunt like you! What a great way to help your nephew. I’m actually very glad you wrote because I want to make sure your money is well spent and not wasted on such a kind gift.

With how you described your concerns with your nephew’s smile, you have two options. Let’s start with the one your dentist recommended— Lumineers.

Option One: Porcelain Veneers

Lumineers is one brand of porcelain veneers and you’re wise to be concerned about the reviews you’ve read. It is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place. The company claims it doesn’t require any tooth preparation (which is what they say makes it easy). In most cases, that makes the teeth look bulky.

A secondary problem is the company which makes Lumineers requires dentists to use their lab, which isn’t known for its beautiful work. Because of that, most expert cosmetic dentists prefer other brands of porcelain veneers.

If you decide to go the route of porcelain veneers, make sure you take your nephew to an AACD accredited dentist. These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. They’ll know which brand will work best for your nephew’s smile goals and will create a gorgeous smile for him.

As far as the longevity of porcelain veneers. A lot of that depends on how well cared for they are. If they are not taken care of, they will only last around five years. If they are cared for diligently, they can last 20+ years.

However, you have a second option, which costs significantly less.

Option Two: Invisalign and Teeth Whitening

If all he really needs is orthodontics, I would suggest you go this route. With Invisalign, he can straighten his teeth without anyone knowing in half the time of traditional braces. Instead of metal wires and brackets, these use clear aligners. A sophisticated software program plans out his treatment then produces the aligners which he’ll switch out every two weeks.

Additionally, if his teeth need whitening, the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays which will allow him to straighten and whiten his teeth at the same time.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Finishing Invisalign without a Dentist

I have moved and have the last three sets of aligners left for my Invisalign. If my treatment has gone very smoothly, can I just continue the treatment on my own or do I need to find another Invisalign dentist in order to finish?


Dear Mary,

Clear Invisalgin Aligner

There are times when an Invisalign case is more complicated. For instance, when some teeth need to be shaved to make room or when buttons are necessary in order to grip the aligners and help them shift. You said your case wasn’t complicated. So, in all honesty, you could probably finish off your treatment without needing another dentist if you have the aligners.

If you don’t, you can ask your original dentist to send them to you or he can transfer all your information to another dentist. He is ethically obligated to send all treatment and diagnostic information to your new caregiver.

In all honesty, because you haven’t had any issues and it doesn’t seem like there have been additional treatment processes necessary, you can probably get along just fine without another dentist. That will give you time to settle in and find a new caregiver you are pleased with.

Retainers after Invisalign

In almost every case, after orthodontic treatment, there is a need for a retainer. This helps train the teeth to stay in place and doesn’t allow them to scoot now that they are free. The website has a great post about wearing retainers. Because your last pair of aligners have your teeth in their correct position, these can double as retainers, which means you won’t have to pay for a traditional retainer. I have a suggested method for doing this.

  • Month One: Wear them all the time.
  • Month Two: Wear them only at night
  • Month Three: Wear them every other night
  • Month Three Test: If it is harder to put your “retainer” in, that means your teeth have moved and you’ll need to go back to every night for a while. If they’re fine you can move on
  • Month Four: You can try using them once a week, then not at all. Just keep your aligners available to periodically check them.

You should know those aligners can also double as teeth whitening trays, so when you’re ready to whiten your teeth, just ask your dentist for some gel.

Best of luck on your new location!
This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Invisalign or Braces?

I want to get my smile beautiful once and for all. Invisalign appeals to me, but I didn’t know if there was an advantage to braces. Are they better? If not, why would anyone use them when Invisalign is available?


Dear Marcy,

Clear Invisalgin Aligner

You raise a good question. If Invisalign is more comfortable and invisible why would anyone use any other orthodontic option?

Here are three reasons some people might choose traditional braces over Invisalign.

  • Cost: Braces can, depending on the particular case, be less expensive than Invisalign
  • Complications: It used to be that Invisalign only worked on certain ideal cases. That is no longer the case. It can now handle most cases. However, there are still a few highly complex cases which would require traditional braces.
  • Compliance: With traditional braces, the orthodontics are bonded directly onto your teeth. Invisalign is removable therefore it requires patient compliance. If you don’t keep the aligners in, the treatment won’t work. Some parents don’t feel their child is responsible enough to not lose them.

If none of those issues are a problem for you, then Invisalign would be the better choice.

Getting a Beautiful Smile Without Orthodontics

If you’re wanting a total smile makeover, you may feel happier with porcelain veneers. These can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth. They can even make crooked teeth appear straight. In fact, they are the go-to procedure for celebrities wanting a stunning smile.

There’s one precaution with this. With Invisalign, any dentist can do the procedure. When it comes to porcelain veneers it takes an expert cosmetic dentist. Smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school. A dentist has to invest in post-doctoral training in order to do them well.

It takes both technical training and an artistic eye to do them well. If you want a gorgeous smile, look for a dentist who has reached accreditation. These are the best cosmetic dentists in the country and any one of them can give you a smile you’re proud to share with the world.

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