Can Invisalign cause TMJ?

I am well into my Invisalign treatment. Since starting my sixth tray, I’ve been having severe headaches as well as pain in my jaw and the side  of my face. I’ve also noticed that I can’t open my mouth all the way. Could I have developed TMJ and do you think Invisalign is what is causing it?  — Sarah in Arkansas

Sarah,
TMJ can be caused by several things (genetics, bad habits or bite problems, etc). TMJ dysfunction can result from teeth movement if the TMJ’s are not functioning properly to begin with,  however, Invisalign treatment or orthodontics in general is probably not a main cause of the disorder. Talk with your dentist about what you are experiencing because he will probably want to stop treatment and focus on trying to determine what is causing the discomfort and also re-evaluate if you should continue with the Invisalign treatment. Because Invisalign changes your bite, it could be making the TMJ dysfunction worse and that is why the manufacturers of Invisalign have strict recommendations when it comes to TMD patients. While the aligners may not be specifically “causing” TMJ, it may be bringing an issue to the forefront that your dentist did not know about or diagnose before starting your treatment. It’s important to address the TMD first before continuing on with Invisalign.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

What Should I Do About Painful Gums After Zoom Whitening?

I had Zoom whitening done yesterday. While they were doing it, I could feel my gums tingling a bit and I told the assistant. She messed with it a bit, but I’m not sure what she did. The discomfort reduced, but never went away altogether. All though the night, my gums really started to hurt and I couldn’t sleep. I looked at them this morning and they’re all white in one spot and they look very puffy, almost like a blister. What went wrong? Do I need to see the dentist again?  -Eddy

Dear Eddy,
Ouch. It sounds like what you’re experiencing is a reaction to the Zoom whitening gel. Dental offices usually take extra precautions to prevent this, but occasionally, the assistant misses a spot when she’s blocking out your gums, and the gel comes into contact with them and causes a chemical burn. As dreadful as that sounds, and as uncomfortable as it is, it’s usually very minor.

Just like a burn that could happen anywhere else on your body, this should heal itself within a week or two. You may notice a blister, and it might even peel, but healthy skin will take its place, and it probably won’t be noticeable to anyone while it heals or after.

In the meantime, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen, to help manage the discomfort. You’ll also need to be very careful while brushing. In fact, you may want to avoid brushing at all for a couple of days, followed by very light brushing until it heals totally. If you received take-home trays with your kit, don’t use them until the area is healthy again, and take extra care to wipe off excess gel when you do bleach at home. To speed up healing, most doctors recommend warm salt water rinses several times a day. There’s also some evidence to suggest that using vitamin E will help improve healing and reduce the chance of scaring later.

If you don’t see improvement within a week, or the pain gets worse, it’s a good idea to have it checked out. You should also let the office know what happened so that they can take preventative measures for future patients.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

What’s with the brown line on my implant?

I recently noticed a brown line on my dental implant. I had an appointment for a cleaning and it totally slipped my mind to ask my dentist about it. After the cleaning, the dark line was gone so I just assumed it must have been a stain so I stopped worrying about it. Then I noticed today the line is back, so now I am wondering if something is wrong. If it’s nothing, I don’t want my dentist to think I am paranoid, but why would it show up in the exact same place if it was a stain?  — Mary Ann in Oklahoma

Mary Ann,
It’s highly possible that what you are seeing is a stain. Sometimes porcelain crowns can have slight defects, or they can get a very small crack in them. If there is an indentation or crevice, it can easily collect and show a stain. It’s very possible that your hygienist removed the stain, but it has come back again.

You should probably see your dentist soon to determine if it is a crack because there is a risk that it could give way and completely shatter the crown. Unfortunately your dentist will not be able to predict if or when that could happen. If the defect shallow, you may be able to remove the stain by brushing the area a little more thoroughly or it may be possible to buff the spot, which will smooth it out so it doesn’t collect stain. I also could be possible that you will eventually have to have a new crown made. The good news is that you won’t have to have the entire implant redone, just the restoration that attaches to your implant.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

My sister looks like bugs bunny!

I have an identical twin sister and we happen to have identical teeth, too (they’re slightly crooked and small). For as long as I can remember, we’ve both talked about getting porcelain veneers, and she actually went ahead and had them placed by her regular dentist. While I’m glad she decided to do it, I’m trying to figure out the best way to tell her that I think they look totally fake and unnatural. To be honest, she looks like Bugs Bunny and I have to wonder if the dentist didn’t do them correctly. Her veneers look bulky and big, so I’m wondering if they can be shaved a little to make them look smaller? If they can, I might consider telling her what I think. If not, any idea what could have gone wrong? If I decide to get mine done, I want to be sure I don’t end up with the same issue. — Anika in Oklahoma

Anika,
If you and your sister are used to being honest about everything, it might be hard to keep your feelings to yourself. If you do decide to tell her what you think, be gentle and just present it as your opinion. Start the conversation by asking her if she’s happy with the length of her veneers. If she says she is, it would probably be best to leave it at that and let it go. But, if she’s not happy, you can tell her that her dentist may be able to shorten them a little, depending on the type of porcelain veneer he used and how it was prepared.

As you start thinking about your own procedure, tell your dentist up front what your expectations are and about your sister’s results. Taking a photo of her would be helpful so that he/she can understand what you consider to be too long. You may find that hers are a perfectly natural length and it’s just going to take some getting used to. Also, make sure your dentist will let you “test-drive” the porcelain veneers before they are permanently bonded. This will allow you to see exactly how they look and feel, plus give your dentist the opportunity to send them back for any adjustments that may needed.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.