another dental tourism disaster story

Woman covering her mouth
If you want a beautiful smile, don’t leave the country.

It is sad to hear heartbreaking stories from patients who traveled out of the country in order to get what they thought was an affordable smile makeover only to have their teeth and even their bite destroyed with absolutely zero recourse.

One such story was on the My New Smile Blog. A woman had traveled to Costa Rica thinking she’d be saving a large amount of money. Instead, she was left with a disastrous smile makeover and severe damage to her bite which has her in so much pain she can barely eat.

The price tag to fix this will be over $30,000. Money she doesn’t have. When she hired an attorney in Costa Rica and had other Costa Rican dentists to tesitify that her bite was destroyed by this dentist, the only place where she could get legal recourse there told her she was the felon because it is illegal there to complain publicly about a dentist until he’s been convicted.

She ended up having to flee the country without any recourse. While the dentist in questions website looked professional, there were red flags. Unfortunately, only a dentist would have recognized those.

Avoiding Cosmetic Dental Horror Stories

Truthfully, it is safer, as well as more affordable, in the long run to save up your money and go to a reputable cosmetic dentist here in the United States.

That doesn’t mean any U.S. cosmetic dentist will do. You’ll want one with both expertise and artistry who has invested time and training AFTER dental school in doing smile makeovers. Make sure you check out the porcelain veneers they’ve done on their patients as well.

It’s hard for patients to know who is qualified and who isn’t, especially since there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry.

If you want a great smile makeover. Go to the mynewsmile.com website and click on their link for finding a cosmetic dentist. They have prescreened dentists who wish to be listed for both their technical skill and artistry. Any of the recommended dentists on their site can give you a stunning smile makeover.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

dental implant perforated my sinus cavity

I’m a little concerned about some things. I was several months into my “healing period” from my dental implant being placed when the dentist removed it. He said it wasn’t integrating with the bone and the implant perforated my sinus by a few millimeters. He gave me flonase and instructions not to blow my nose, etc. Then we’ll try again after a while. Is this okay or will the same thing happen again?

Miranda

Dear Miranda,

dental implant diagram

I’m a little concerned by some things I’m hearing. While it may seem a matter of semantics, the dental implant didn’t perforate your sinus cavity, your dentist did. Plus, he did it by several millimeters which by dental standards is quite a bit.

When your dentist was doing the diagnostics for this procedure, did he take any three-dimentional x-rays, such as a CT scan? This is a necessary step to prevent sinus perforation.

Additionally, the implant didn’t integrate with the bone. This is a nother cause of concern. Yes, it should have been removed, but before you go forward, I’d like to know what your current dentist will do to prevent this from happening again before moving forward.

When a Dental Implant Fails

In order to move forward, you are going to need to make sure the sinus cavity is properly healed. After that, you’ll need some bone grafting done. Without that, there is not enough bone there to inegrate with your implant.

I’d like you to get a second opinion on this situation to see what another implant dentist says.

From there, you can either go with the other dentist to replace this or you can get assurances from the second dentist with specifics as to how he’ll take steps to prevent another perforation.

If he was planning on replacing the implant without any bone grafting, I suggest you find another dentist completely. Make sure the new dentist has specific training in dental implants. Dental school isn’t enough. It needs to be post-doctoral work.

Cosmetic Consideration with Dental Implants

Whatever color the implant crown is made will be permanent. If you are happy with the color of your smile, then you are good to go. However, if you have contemplated whitening your teeth, you’ll want to get the teeth whitening done before having the porcelain crown made.

This will save you money while allowing your smile to match from the beginning. The other option is to whiten your teeth later, but then you will have to redo the crown to match the newer, white color of your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

does tmj mean surgery?

I’m 27 years old and have been dealing with a significant amount of jaw pain. I did some research online and it sounds like I may have TMJ. Everything I read says the treatments for this are jaw reconstruction or having all your teeth re-made. That sounds terrifying to me. In fact, I’m a little too scared to see a dentist about it in case they say that is what I need. Are there any other options? What happens if I just don’t treat it and just deal with the pain with medications?

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

close up of temporomadibular joint
TMJ disorder has various causes and solutions

Before you panic, let me assure you there are many causes and solutions for TMJ Disorder. As you can see from the image above, your TMJ joint is similar to your knee joint. It has movable parts and a disc which serves as a buffer. There are also lots of muscles that help with the various movements requisite to good jaw function. This is known as the temporomandibular joint (hence the TMJ).

Treatments like full-mouth reconstruction or jaw surgery are for the most severe cases, usually after years of going without treatment or a tragic accident. It doesn’t sound like that is what you’re dealing with.

The first step to any treatment is a diagnosis of what is causing the problem in the first place.

Two Causes for TMJ Disorder

One common cause for this is pressure you’ve put on the jaw joint. This is done through clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. This often happens without a patient even realizing it because they do it in their sleep.

If you get treatment for this early on, before too much damage is done, there is no invasive treatment. It can often be handled simply by wearing a night guard to protect your teeth and add some cushion to assist with the pressure on your jaw.

Another cause is misalignment of your bite. Our teeth shift over time. It could be that yours have shifted in a way that has caused pressure on your jaw.

In some cases, this can be fixed with orthodontics such as Invisalign. Other, more severe cases, will require a full-mouth reconstruction. This latter treatment can also happen if you don’t get teeth grinding under control and your teeth get worn down to nubs.

Full-Mouth Reconstruction

With this procedure a dentist has to crown all of your teeth. This is either because they are too worn down from grinding or your bite is so far out of alignment this is necessary to repair it.

This is quite an advanced procedure and would require a dentist with significant training in TMJ Disorders as well as cosmetic dentistry.

Look for a dentist who trained at one of the following:

  • Dawson Academy
  • J.D Pankey Institute
  • The Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies

This will take care of their TMJ qualifications. To find out if they’re also a great cosmetic dentist, go to the mynewsmile.com website to see if they’re recommended . They pre-screen cosmetic dentists for both their technical skill and artistry.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

luster premium home whitening

I’m considering whitening my teeth. I know a lot of dentists tout the Zoom Whitening because it has the light that speeds up results. I noticed that the Luster Premium Home Whitening kit has the same light. It’s significantly less money than my dentist charges for Zoom. Do you know if they get similar results?

Cath

Dear Cath,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light
Zoom Whitening Light

I’ll address the light first. Yes, with Zoom Whitening the light activates the gel and allows you to meet your maximum whiteness in just one appointment.

The light from the Luster Premium kit is too weak to have any effect. My guess it is there to associate it with Zoom and help patients feel like it is making a difference.

The main whitening ingredient in this kit is also less than legitimate. This is a pigment in their SuperWhitener, Zinc Oxide. What it does is stick to the teeth to make them appear whiter. Unfortunately, that effect is temporary and will fade away.

Sadly, the consumer won’t realize that. They’ll see the whiter teeth in the beginning and feel like it is working. Then, continue purchasing the product thinking they “re-stained” their teeth.

Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

If you are after whitening your teeth quickly, than Zoom is the standard. It works. However, it is pricier than other options. If the price tag is what’s bothering you, then it is more affordable to do traditional teeth whitening through your dentist.

He’ll custom design trays for your teeth and provide you with professional strength whitening gel. You’ll place the gel in the trays and wear them for a minimum period of time every day at your convenience at home.

These can also help you achieve your maximum whitening potential. It will just take a few weeks rather than one appointment. Though it does have the benefit of you getting to control the level of whitening. With Zoom, you get the maximum. Period. With at-home whitening, once you achieve the level you want, you simply stop wearing the trays and gel.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.