All posts by goodtooth

Is my daughter too young for porcelain veneers?

My 16 year old daughter hates her teeth. Mainly just the ones in front, but she literally hides from the camera. They are yellow and kind of crooked. One is also longer than the other. To a 16 year old, this is torture! She has heard of porcelain veneers and is willing to help pay for them. All of her permanent teeth are in properly. Do you think she is too young for porcelain veneers?

– Sandra in Florida

Sandra,

Porcelain veneers are beautiful when they are done by a highly skilled cosmetic dentist. And there is not any kind of age requirement for having this kind of work done. That said, you need to be aware that there is a higher risk for a 16 year old. This is because the jaw hasn’t completely matured so they could end up needing to be replaced sooner than normal. For example, if your daughter hits a growth spurt, it may be as soon as a few years from now that they will need to be replaced.

As we get older, our bones and gums develop. This means that the edge of the veneers may become exposed and they may not look as beautiful. So to answer your question, it’s not an issue if your 16 year old daughter is old enough, it really is a case by case basis. It also depends on her overall dental health whether of not she is a candidate. It would be wise to consult with an expert cosmetic dentist. This will come down to her personal choice and yours since she is still considered a minor, but an expert cosmetic dentist should give you an honest assessment.

Good luck! We all know how sensitive teenagers are at that age.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

 

Holistic dentist that is recommending my tooth be extracted.

My tooth has been bothering me on and off for six month or so. When I went into the dentist, he suggested a root canal be done on the tooth. But I try to take a holistic approach to my life so I decided to meet with a holistic dentist to see what he would recommend. Well, the holistic dentist said he wants to pull it. So I don’t want to lose my tooth, but I feel torn about my naturalistic lifestyle. I don’t want to leave the infection in my body either. Any advice?

– Willow in California

Willow,

It is not uncommon for a general (traditional) dentist and a holistic dentist to have differing recommendations. In fact, even with two general dentists, you could very well end up with different opinions to treat your tooth based on a particular dentist’s treatment philosophy and training.

But in your situation, you have the general dentist basing his recommendation on the concepts that are currently being taught in dental school. So when the pulp of the tooth is infected, the majority of the dental community will recommend disinfecting the tooth with a root canal treatment. This will take care of the infection and hopefully prevent it from reoccurring. But it is possible for the root canal to fail and the infection to resurface. If this happens, it will likely mean that the root canal is redone and another round of antibiotics given.

Now if you examine the mindset of a holistic dentist, you are dealing with the opinion that the infection is never entirely treated. This is mainly due to the fact that the pulp (or inside of the tooth) has many shoots that the bacteria can spread in. Think of the roots and nerves kind of like a spidery lightening strike. That is one of the reasons why root canal sometimes fail. Also, the holistic dentist is looking at your entire well being and your total health. So he is concerned with infection spreading into other areas of your body and negatively affecting your general health.

You may be able to find a dentist that comes in the middle somewhere. For example, by sterilizing the entire tooth and the canal the agent can take care of the infection. This would mean in some cases leaving the sterilizing agent in the canal for over a month so it gets into these little root shoots. This isn’t the most common approach and also a bit controversial. It has not been widely accepted.

It may be worth doing some more research and also finding another opinion from a dentist. You want to make sure you are very comfortable with your treatment decision while still honoring your holistic commitment. Just remember, pulling a tooth is permanent. Most dentists will do whatever they can to save your natural tooth.

You can do a tooth extraction down the road too if the tooth continues having problems, or you run into failed root canals.

Good luck to you!

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

My wife things I have sleep apnea.

Yes, I snore. Does that mean I have sleep apnea? My wife keeps accusing me of it.

– Paul in Texas

Paul,

Did you know that 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleeping disorders, like sleep apnea? Snoring can be an indicator that you may have sleep apnea and serious sleep apnea can actually be life threatening. So it’s worth your while to find out if you do.¬† Individuals with sleep apnea stop breathing for a short duration while they are sleeping. Since your body is in such a relaxed state during sleep, the muscles are also relaxed, including your throat and tongue. In this state, the tongue can impinge on your breathing passageway and disturb your breathing. You may have not idea and often times it is a spouse that discovers this.

Here are some common symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking suddenly for no reason
  • Gasping for breath or a choking feeling
  • Waking multiple times
  • Feeling sleepy during the day
  • Dry mouth

A sleep study is required in order to properly diagnose this condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Then once it has been diagnosed, you can seek treatment with a sleep clinic or a dentist can treat you. Treatments are wide-ranging, but going the dentist route would allow you to treat your sleep apnea without surgery with an appliance worn during the night. These oral appliances reposition the jaw into a more favorable position to keep the breathing passage open.

Physicians often prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP) machine. Many patients aren’t happy with having to wear the respiratory¬† device that blows compressed air. But it is important to explore your options to find a solution that is right for you.

Again, your wife is right to worry. Sleep apnea that is left untreated leads to increased risk in stroke, heart attack, hypertension, and other serious conditions.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

A correlation between silver (mercury) fillings and migraines?

Migraines have always plagued me. Since my teen years they have only intensified. Me and my doctor have looked for all kinds of causes and correlations to try and get them under control. I just hide in a dark corner when they come and take as much pain medication as I can tolerate. But there has to be a reason! The latest topic I have been researching is linking migraines with old, silver amalgam fillings. When I discussed the correlation between these mercury-containing fillings and my migraines, my dentist refuted the claim. He said there is no conclusive evidence to support this finding. But I literally am at my wits end and am considering having the old silver fillings removed and replaced with white composite fillings. Do you think this is worth a try?

– Loretta in Texas

Loretta,

The safety of amalgam fillings is and has been quite controversial lately. This is because amalgam fillings contain mercury in them. It is proven that mercury is a toxic substance. That said, the American Dental Association still feels that amalgam fillings are completely safe. Although, since there have been great advances in dental technology and bonding techniques, dentists do have another option. Many dentists no longer place them at all in their practice in support of this mercury-free dentistry movement.

That said, it isn’t common place to have every old silver filling removed. Yet, there are holistic dentists out there that support your philosophy that mercury is a toxic substance and some feel that negative health effects may be correlated. So you need to look for a natural or holistic dentist that shares this sentiment. One way to find this kind of dentist is one that offer sanitary amalgam removal services. You want to make sure that the dentist will take extra precautions to keep you safe throughout the procedure so prohibit you from infesting or breathing in the harmful mercury. It is understandable that you are considering having this done. No one deserves to feel miserable and if there is a chance this could help the frequency of intensity of your migraines, it may be worth it.

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Is there a correlatoin between TMJ and numb fingers?

Lately, I have had this numbing, tingling feeling in my fingers and I was wondering if it could be related to my TMJ disorder? I am very familiar with all the other symptoms of bruxism and grinding and how they affect my TMJ, like pain in my jaw and face, ringing in my ears, and stiffness in the jaw joint. But this numbing pins and needles feeling is new. It only happens with my left hand and I was wondering if there is a correlation here?

– Loretta in Missouri

Loretta,

TMJ symptoms are wide-ranging and TMJ disorder manifests differently for everyone. But to answer your question, yes, the numb feeling you have described can be connected with TMJ disorder. Typically it is not as common of a TMJ symptom, having been reported in about 50 percent of TMJ patients.

Here is what is happening in regard to the numbness. When your bite is misaligned, muscle spasms may occur. And since all of your muscles are inter-connected, when your jaw is misaligned it is quite possible to see problems down in your extremities. This is because the muscle spasms that you experience causing the tightness in your jaw, face, and neck area can influence the connecting nerves that travel into your arms. When these nerves are bothered, periodic numbness or tingling can be a result. That said, the numbness may not always occur as a result of TMJ pain. It can happen spontaneously.

It is important that you report any new or different TMJ problems to your TMJ specialist or the dentist that is treating you. Open communication will enable the best TMJ treatment to meet your specific needs.

Thank you for your question!

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics by Dr. Steve Bader.

Will my porcelain veneers turn yellow?

One of the main reasons I decided to get porcelain veneers was to cover up my ugly, yellow teeth. I now realize I should have asked more about this before getting them put on, but I was wondering if they will turn yellow as time goes by? If so, how long until they start discolor?

– Sheila in Tennessee

Sheila,

That is a common question about porcelain veneers. No, porcelain veneers will not turn yellow. That said, the veneers are applied directly onto your natural tooth. So it is possible that the underlying tooth may pick up stains as time goes by. When the discoloration occurs underneath the veneers, the porcelain veneers may take on a slightly discolored appearance. So if you are susceptible to staining on your teeth, it would probably be a good idea to avoid coffee, teas, berries, etc. that aide in staining teeth. Also, avoid smoking not only for your teeth but for your overall health.

If your dentist didn’t already inform you, it is also important to stay away from teeth whitening or tarter control toothpastes. This may seem strange as you are trying to keep your teeth white, but there are highly abrasive whitening agents in those kinds of toothpastes which can have negative affects on the porcelain veneers. What happens is that the glaze breaks down from these whitening agents which lessens the ability of the veneers to hold up to stains.

A helpful habit to keep your smile looking it’s best would be to rinse your mouth out after drinking or eating those stain producing items.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Can’t take this pain. Is it TMJ?

I simply cannot take this pain any longer. It’s my face, ears, and jaw that are absolutely killing me. I haven’t officially been diagnosed with TMJ but from all the research I’ve done, that has to be what is going on. Can you tell me a little more about TMJ?

– Betsy in Missouri

Betsy,

Facial pain, pain in the jaw joint or area, ringing in the ears or earaches are all symptoms of TMJ disorder. The temporalmandibuar joint (TMJ) is the small joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull and helps you to talk and chew normally. This joint is used when you eat and yawn, really any movement of your jaw. TMJ disorder can affect the muscles and tendons that surround your jaw as well. Pain or sensitivity and soreness, as well as locking are all signs of TMJ.

It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of TMJ, but stress can be a major contributing factor. Other factors that can cause TMJ are an injury or trauma to the face, grinding of the teeth or clenching, and some arthritis patients have found it is a cause of TMJ. As mentioned previously, stress can make you clench or grind your teeth and tighten your facial muscles which can lead to TMJ problems.

A proper diagnosis is key when trying to find TMJ treatment. TMJ dentists and specialists use varying techniques that range from medications or a simple mouth piece, to more advanced neuromuscular therapy, and in some extreme cases surgery.

You don’t want to be in pain anymore, so don’t put it off any longer. Find a TMJ specialist in your area.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Are my teeth the reason I can’t get a date?

I am sick of being single. All my friends are married with kids. Being over 40 and having no one “special” really stinks! I’ve resided myself to the fact it has to be my crooked teeth. But I really don’t want to be wearing those ugly wire braces for years as an adult. I can’t imagine being a “brace face” would help my dating chances! Any advice to speed up the process so I don’t have to wear them forever?

Eric in Kansas

Eric,

There is no real way to know the truth about why your love life hasn’t taken off yet. But there is no reason it cannot happen for you too. An interesting study by Match.com does show that a beautiful smile is one of the most important things that attracts a potential mate while dating. So there may be some truth to the crooked teeth theory on your part.

Have you ever heard of Invisalign? This sophisticated system straightens your teeth in half the time as conventional braces. No more need for those ugly and uncomfortable wire and metal braces. Invisalign invisible braces uses clear plastic aligners to gradually move your teeth into the correct positions. In some cases, Invisalign has straightened teeth in six months to a year. And from a conversational distance the aligners are invisible.

Everyone’s cases is different so the time frame may vary slightly. So find an Invisalign dentist in your area and get the ball rolling. Invisalign has one of the highest satisfaction ratings of any dental treatment.

Also, porcelain veneers are an even faster cosmetic dentistry treatment that will improve the appearance of your teeth. You can get straight, white teeth in only a couple appointments. This may be another option you want to consider?

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics by Dr. Steve Bader.

 

I want better porcelain veneers than my sister! Any advice?

My sister and I have always had an intense rivalry. Everything turned into a competition whether it was a new outfit, house, car, or even who had the best job. Somehow she found out about my plan to save up for porcelain veneers and what do you know, she went ahead and got them herself before me. Maybe she shouldn’t have been in such a rush though, because she isn’t happy with them. They look fake! It’s kind of hard to put a finger on it but they don’t really even resemble a natural-looking color. It’s made me start second-guessing if I really want them or not. The other day she told me one of them popped off already. I don’t know if it is something she did or if the fault lies with the dentist that placed them because I thought they were supposed to last much longer than that. Any advice? I have been saving up for far too long to blow it on ugly veneers.

– Sharon in Arizona

Sharon,

The good news is that you may have the last laugh in this situation. Based on the problems you have described about your sister’s porcelain veneers, it sounds like the dentist may have been in over his or her head. This happens too often because cosmetic dentistry is not a regulated area within the field of dentistry. So pretty much any dentist can claim to do porcelain veneers and call themselves a cosmetic dentist. But just calling yourself a cosmetic dentist isn’t going to cut it since beautiful cosmetic dentistry requires an artistic eye and a lot of training beyond dental school.

So be sure that you do your homework and find an excellent cosmetic dentist. Most dentists that do beautiful porcelain veneers are perfectionists. They will not be satisfied until you absolutely fall in love with your new smile. In fact, they consider their work a failure unless you love them. So ask the dentist about similar cases to yours and ask to see many before and after shots. Also, ask them if they offer a beautiful smile guarantee with their porcelain veneers. If so, then you are on the right track.

As far as the color looking unnatural, it sounds like your sister’s dentist didn’t get the translucency right. Our natural teeth absorb and reflect light, so if this technique is not perfected with a smile makeover, something will just look “off” about the final product. An expert cosmetic dentist will not only match the color perfectly, but the opacity of the tooth should look exactly like the teeth that surround them.

You are also correct in that porcelain veneers should not fall off. This could be due to the sub-standard skill of the dentist or may have happened during the ceramic work from the laboratory. Most porcelain veneers (if they are applied by a true cosmetic dentist) will last for ten years or longer.

So find the right dentist and you will be able to keep smiling at your sister long after her last veneer has fallen off.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

If I have sleep apnea can I fly with my CPAP?

I have to take a business trip which isn’t out of the ordinary. But since my last trip, I have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. The doctor has issued me a CPAP machine and I just can’t figure out how I will carry this thing on board. I want to have it with me. Do you have any advice because I don’t want to be heard snoring like crazy and I refuse to check it.

– Will in Maryland

Will,

You are allowed to travel with your CPAP machine even though it feels like a major inconvenience. As a carry-on item it will need to be screened and checked by the airport security. One thing to consider is to bring sanitizing wipes along with you because the screening area at the airport is likely unsanitary.

The main thing you need to consider because you have obstructive sleep apnea is that there is a power outlet available near your seat. Also, make sure you travel with the correct adapter. If possible, make these arrangements ahead of time by contacting your airline. This will save you time and frustration the day of your flight. With heightened security, you may also have difficulty carrying on distilled water for the machine. So you would be wise to travel with the prescription from your physician. This way you will be able to travel with distilled water in a pharmaceutical grade bottle.

If your travel picks up again and you want to alleviate lugging around the bulky, loud CPAP, talk to your doctor or visit a dentist that is experienced in treating sleep apnea. A dentist may be able to fit you for an oral appliance which you simply pop into your mouth before you fall asleep. It is customized to fit your mouth and moves your jaw into a more favorable position. This appliance keeps your airway unobstructed during sleep. This will save you a lot of hassle and will eliminate the need for the CPAP for travel and in many cases, patients prefer the oral appliance and stop using the CPAP altogether.

But if you are uncomfortable leaving the CPAP behind, be sure to plan ahead to avoid any complications.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA dentist Dr. Steve Bader at Ultimate Aesthetics.