Tag Archives: Salem Dentist

Denture Disaster

I can’t afford a full set of dental implants, which is what I really wanted. I know they’re better, I just have no way of getting them. I wasn’t thrilled about getting dentures but just thought I could make the most out of it. But, I just can’t deal with the movement. The stupid things haven’t fallen out, but they slide enough to make me nervous. This whole thing has been a disaster. It’s so discouraging. Is there anything I can do which will keep them in?

Mona B.

Dear Mona,

An image of a snap-on denture
Snap-on Denture

You’re in a tough spot. While some people can get along with dentures, no one really loves them. Even the best fitting dentures cause you to lose 50% of your chewing capacity. Unfortunately, that will only get worse. Your body begins reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. So, the longer you wear dentures, the more jawbone you lose. Eventually, there’s not enough jawbone left for you to retain your denture any longer. This is known as facial collapse. The only way to repair it is if you get bone built back up through bone grafting.

Solution to Slippery Dentures

Snap-on dentures are a good intermediate step for you. It will allow you to anchor the dentures to your jaw with as few as two implants. Obviously, the more implants you have the better, but this is an affordable way to get dental implants to preserve at least some jawbone. This also gives you time to save up to get more implants as you’re able to.

Don’t get too discouraged. You’re at least doing the research to find out about solutions. Many people go years without hearing the warnings about dentures or learning of any solutions.

Just be sure to not let any old dentist do the work. It is an advanced procedure. You don’t want to risk it being done improperly. Make sure they have significant post-graduate training in restorative dentistry.

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

What Would Getting Dentures Entail?

I’m losing my teeth and making some decisions about what to do next. What would it entail to get dentures? Do they put you out and then take out all your teeth at once? Do you get the dentures right away?


Dear Carla,


I’m sorry you’re facing this decision. I know how heartbreaking it can be. I’ll answer your question about dentures, but before you make a decision I want to be certain you know your options other than full dentures.

Options to Full Removable Dentures

Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implantIf you’re removing all your teeth, ideally you’d get dental implants. As you can see from the illustration at the left, it implants a prosthetic root into your jawbone. This is why dental implants are so useful. They’re much more stable than other options. You can eat and brush/floss as you normally would with your normal, healthy teeth.

However, their biggest benefit is the prevention of facial collapse. When your teeth are removed, your body immediately begins to reabsorb the minerals in your jawbone to distribute elsewhere throughout your body where they’re more needed. It’s efficient, but the result will be you won’t have enough jawbone left to retain a denture. Dental implants prevent that.

Implant Retained Dentures

dental implants anchoring denturesVery few people can afford to get an implant placed on every tooth. However, implant supported dentures are another option which is more do-able financially. With these, your dentist will place an implant in even distribution throughout your bite. When that’s completed, he can anchor your dentures to them. You get the benefit of preserving a good deal of bone along with having your dentures secure in your mouth.

Obviously, the more implants you can afford to place the better, but this can be done with as few as two implants, which are called snap-on dentures.

How Are Removable Dentures Placed?

First, the teeth are extracted. Some people prefer to have dental sedation for this part of the procedure. This way they can sleep through the procedure if they’d like. Others prefer just to use a local anesthetic. It’s completely up to the patient. Once that is completed, the next step depends on the type of dentures you decide on.

Immediate Dentures

These can be placed as soon as your teeth are removed. The benefit is you can walk out with a full set of “teeth”. They tend to end up being a bit more expensive because they require more follow-up visits and adjustments.

Conventional Dentures

These are placed about eight weeks after extraction. The benefit is they tend to fit better, requiring less adjustment. The obvious drawback is the wait to have a smile.

Discuss these options with your dentist. I’m sure the two of you can come up with what works best for your lifestyle and budget.

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

Can’t Eat Since Getting Dental Implants

I need help and I’m not sure how to get it. Over a year ago I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time. She said my teeth couldn’t be saved and recommended removing all of them and replacing them with dental implants. I couldn’t afford that initial procedure she recommended, but we finally settled on implant supported dentures. Even then, I had to get a loan through this program they use. Ever since the implants were placed I’ve been in massive pain. In fact, I’m in more pain now than I was when this started. I’d hoped when they added the denture after my healing period I’d feel better. That’s what the dentist’s office told me too. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it hurts so much I can’t even wear the dentures. I’ve lost over 60 pounds because I’ve essentially been on a liquid diet for this whole time. I can’t live like this anymore. The dentist says everything’s fine and I’ll adjust, but I’m not seeing any improvement. What do I do?

Belinda K.

Dear Belinda,

Salem Dental Implants

I’m sorry you’ve been in so much pain and am a little concerned that you’re losing so much weight and your dentist doesn’t seem to care. While some postoperative pain is normal, what you’re experiencing seems to be anything but normal. Your dentist should be willing to make this right on her own, but it seems like she may need a little nudge.

If it were just the dentures hurting I’d think they’re just in need of adjustment. But, this pain has been consistent from the beginning. I haven’t examined you, but I am wondering if the dental implants were improperly placed. What I’d like you to do is get a second opinion from a highly skilled implant dentist. Look at some of the training and experience Dr. Burba has to get an idea of what kind of dentist you’ll want to visit to have this looked at. Don’t tell them who your dentist is, just explain your symptoms and go from there.

If it turns out your dentist did something that caused the problem you should be able to get a full refund. You’ll still be in the position of needing to replace all your teeth. Implant-supported dentures are a good option. Unfortunately, once you’ve had implants placed, if you lose them, you’ll need to have bone grafting done in order to have more. This procedure is fairly easy and can be completed in a day.

I almost wish you’d had a second opinion before going through all this. There may have been a chance to save at least some of your teeth. Of course, there’s no turning back the clock now. Hopefully, your experience will help someone else.

I’m also hopeful you can get this resolved quickly just by getting a second opinion. I’m sorry you’ve had such a negative experience.

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

Can I Wait Before Getting a Filling?

My dentist told me today that I need two fililings. I spent most of what I had available for the dentist today.  Can I wait before getting them filled or will that cause problems? I just don’t know where I’ll find the money.

Percy M.

Dear Percy,

Mosts dentists understand that medical and dental care can be expensive. Generally, they’re willing to work with you to pay out the services. So, if the only thing holding you back is money, I bet just a simple phone call explaining your situation will help. Most offices have payment plans and will help you.

As far as how long you can wait, it really depends. Some cavities are in their early stages and you can wait a month or possibly even longer before it breaks through the enamel. Others are deeper and close to breaking through the dentin already.

You don’t want it getting to the dentin. That can blow up quickly and become a dental emergency situation. That can end up costing you a lot more money than getting the cavities covered.

For some people, there’s more to them avoiding dental care than finances (though I’m definitely not minimizing the impact of finances).  Many patients also struggle with dental anxiety.  If that is an additional concern of yours, you may want to look into a dentist who works with fearful patients. Depending on the level of your anxiety, you may be interested in sedation. But, it’s not always necessary with the right dentist.

What you don’t want to do is put it off so long where the only solution is to extract the tooth. Then you’re stuck researching tooth replacement options.

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

Diet or Dentist For TMJ?

I feel a little foolish asking this question but I’m wondering if TMJ can be a diet related problem? I have horrible jaw and head pain, especially in the mornings. My closest friend truly believes that if I switch to a whole foods diet it will be taken care of. Even as I type it, it seems like a stupid idea. However, I’ll have to admit my friend is a lot healthier than I am. So maybe there is something to what she has to say.  Do I need a dentist or a diet change?

Lucia M.

Dear Lucia,

There is one aspect of TMJ which can be diet related, but one only. Chewing. TMJ is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint.  Changing your diet won’t repair the joint. However, if you’re eating things such as raw carrots and apples it could be adding stress to the joint. It might be a good idea to lay off the hard and chewy foods while your dentist gets to the cause of your problem.

Your symptoms sort of sound like the cause could be teeth grinding. You wouldn’t necessarily even know you’re doing it if it’s happening while you’re asleep.

If that’s the cause, a simple mouthguard could be just the solution for you. Your dentist can custom design one to fit comfortably in your mouth while you sleep. If you start to grind your teeth, the mouthguard will absorb the pressure, protecting your teeth and your joint.

This will also protect your teeth from damage. The grinding can cause your teeth to become loose or cracked, causing you to need a dental crown.

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

I Can’t Eat with Dentures

I’m feeling absolutely desperate. I haven’t eaten properly in weeks. I’m able to get down soup but that’s about it. Ever since I’ve gotten dentures it’s been almost impossible to eat. Food gets underneath them. I don’t chew well. My dentist says I’ll get used to it, but it doesn’t feel that way.  I know I should have gotten dental implants, but I would have needed quite a few and I can’t afford that. Do I have any options?

Mary Anne P.

Mary Anne,

I’m sorry for the difficulty you’ve been having with your dentures. While some patients do adjust, many do not.  Even the best fitting dentures will reduce your chewing capacity by 50%.

Yes, dental implants are ideal, but like you mentioned they can be quite expensive. The good thing about dentures is you can work up to a full set of dental implants.

Hopefully, your dentist gave you all your options. I don’t know if he mentioned snap-on dentures. These use as few as two implants to secure the dentures in place.  This will help with the chewing, not as much as a full set of implants, but it will improve the situation.

In case your dentist neglected to give you all the information, I want to make you aware of something called facial collapse. When your teeth are removed, your body begins reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone. After a while, it causes you to lose so much jawbone you can’t even retain your dentures. It also gives your face an aged sunken appearance.

Beginning to get implants, such as with snap-on dentures, helps you prevent that. You can do two implants at a time, preserving at least some of the bone and then gradually save up to a larger amount of implants.

I’m hoping you had all the information at the beginning when you first made your decision. However, you haven’t had your dentures long, so even if you didn’t there’s likely not much damage done.

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

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


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.

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


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.

Tired of My Dentures Being a Party Trick

Every time my family gets together someone asks for me to do tricks with my dentures. That’s not my only issue. It’s the fact that I can do tricks with them. They move all the time. All. The. Time. I’m sick of it.  I can’t afford implants. What options do I have?

Alana B. – West Virginia


Yes, you do have an option, but I hope you won’t get angry if I say I wouldn’t mind seeing some of those party tricks.

However, even if you’re not interested in doing them there’s a way to keep them in all the time.  It’s an affordable way to get dental implants.

Snap-on dentures can anchor your dentures with as few as two dental implants. It’s not like having a complete set of implants. But, you not only won’t be able to do party tricks; the dentures will always stay in your mouth.

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

I’ve had some degree of dental anxiety ever since I was a child, but I did a fair job of keeping up with appointments until I was in my early 20s. At that point, I was having some minor jaw pain and the doctor also found a couple of cavities that needed to be filled. He knew about the jaw pain, but told me there wasn’t any cause for concern over it. He felt it was related to grinding at night. My experience with the fillings, however, was horrific. He must have made me keep my mouth open for about two hours straight. It hurt so bad and I kept telling him I needed a break, but he kept going and telling me it would only be a minute or two more. By the end of it, tears were streaming down my face and he basically told me I was acting like a child. It really hurt! I couldn’t eat normally for weeks after that and I haven’t been back since. Now, I know my teeth have some issues going on, but my jaw pain is really flaring up again too. I think I should see a TMJ dentist for that, but where do I go first? Can he treat me before I get my cavities filled, so I can get through the treatment or do I need to start with my teeth and then address my jaw? I don’t think I can do more fillings before fixing my jaw pain.

Marie E. – Pittsburg

Dear Marie,

See the TMJ dentist first. It sounds like you’re already familiar with how one can help you. A TMJ dentist can address the root cause of your jaw pain and hopefully get it to settle down so you can be comfortable getting your other dental needs seen to.

With that said, something about what you said jumped out. You mentioned that your prior dentist said you grind your teeth at night and that’s what was causing your jaw pain. If this is the case, getting a simple night guard made might be all you need to address the sore jaw. Undoubtedly, the TMJ dentist will discuss this with you if you’re a good candidate for one. However, what’s striking is that your prior doctor didn’t mention this. It was cause for concern and should have been treated back then.

Continuous grinding not only strains your jaw and muscles, but wears down your teeth. If wouldn’t be too surprising to find that you’ve weakened the biting surface of your teeth enough that they’re either sensitive or highly susceptible to decay. In extreme circumstances, you can wear them down enough or crack them so that they’ll require crowns, but most of the time fillings can repair the damage.

Although this doesn’t matter in terms of getting you out of immediate pain, you may want to keep this in mind for when you go in for a full diagnosis. It’s not the end of the world by any means. You’re on the right path and will get your dental concerns addressed, but it could take some time to restore the damage that’s occurred over years of grinding. Best of luck to you.

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