Why do I have this ugly brown line on my dental implant?

I have been pretty happy with the implant dentist that did my dental implant five years ago. But when I was in for my last cleaning, I forgot to ask him about this ugly brown line on my implant. The cleaning was like six months ago and it seemed to get better right after the cleaning. Maybe it was a stain? Well, it seems to be coming back and is more noticeable this time. Is there a problem with the implant? How can it be a stain if it is in the exact same spot? Do I need to schedule another dentist appointment or can I just wait until my next cleaning? I don’t want to have to schedule a visit if  don’t have to. I just don’t want it to be a serious problem that I put off.

– Joel in Oregon


From what you have described about it reoccurring in the exact same spot, it sounds like some sort of stain. The portion of your dental implant that is visible above the gum line is a porcelain crown. Porcelain is highly stain resistant but it can pick up stains over time. It is quite possible that there is a surface scratch or some sort of defect that is collecting stains more quickly. The hygienist may have successfully removed the stain at your previous cleaning but over time, the crown is showing the discoloration again.

It could be purely cosmetic. But if it happens to be a crack in the crown that is causing the stains, than that is a more serious matter that needs attention. If it is cracked, there is a possibility that it could shatter or break. So, it probably depends on when your next cleaning is scheduled for. A small scratch or blemish in the crown can be buffed out at your next regular appointment. But if it’s months away, you may want to get in sooner to rule out the possibility of a broken crown.

If the crown has been compromised, it may need to be replaced. You won’t have to go back through the entire surgical portion of the dental implant process, the crown can be removed from the implant post and fixed.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is it dangerous to be put to sleep at the dentist’s office?

I am petrified of going to the dentist. I have heard about getting put to sleep for the procedure. Is it safe?

– Paul in Nevada


You are not alone! Millions of Americans deal with some sort of dental anxiety or fear. The good news is that there are many cater to cowards dentists that welcome patients like you.

The best thing you can do is be open and honest with your dentist. When you are asking about being put to sleep at the dentist, you are probably referring to sedation dentistry. Many dentists refer to it as sleep dentistry because that is a great way to describe it. But technically you are not sleeping, you are actually conscious. There is sometimes a misconception because people assume it is just like being knocked out at the hospital. But with oral sedation, all you do is take a pill before your appointment. All of your protective reflexes work normally. For example, you can breathe on your own and can cough so there is no risk of choking. Sedation is completely safe and most offices will have a trained professional accompany you throughout the entire treatment. Most people say that it feels like no time has passed, kind of like you were sleeping.

Sedation dentistry has helped countless people get back on track with regular dental care. Ask your dentist about it today!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Garlic isn’t helping my toothache. What do I do?

Help! I  can’t take the pain anymore. It has been three days of the most horrific pain in my tooth. I called my dentist and he can’t get me in for another week. I looked up home remedies to help get me by until my appointment. Garlic, ice chips, and salt water are not helping me at all! Please tell me you have the magic answer. It hurts so bad I was thinking of going to the ER, but I really don’t think they can do anything other than prescribe pain meds. But that is sounding more and more appealing with each passing minute.

– Tracy in Indiana


It sounds like you are in excruciating pain! Did you communicate that thoroughly to your dentist? If you are a current patient of record, most dentist allow time in their daily schedules to accommodate the unexpected dental emergency. When you called in, did you simply ask for the next available appointment? Or did you tell them that you are in unbearable pain? If you feel like you did communicate the urgency of the situation, they should fit you in. But if for whatever reason they cannot, you can search for an emergency dentist in your area. Type in the name of your city or town with the term emergency dentist. You should be able to find someone that can get you in today. Many practices build accept emergencies even if you are not a patient of record. I would put another call into your current dentist and if they can’t accommodate, it’s time to find another one.

Don’t delay! The sooner you are seen, the higher the probability of saving that tooth. And of course most importantly, getting you out of pain ASAP!

Good luck! Garlic isn’t going to cut it. The tooth needs to be treated.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

My all-on-fours are loose. Is this normal?

My dentist swore that I would be thrilled with the results of the all-on-four implants I had done. I had suffered with a partial denture that was uncomfortable for far too long. So I went for it. I assumed there would be a time period of adjusting to my new teeth. But it’s been several weeks now and the new denture isn’t anymore comfortable than what I had before. It feels like it’s loose. Is that normal? I feel like I am going to get food and bacteria stuck up under it.

– Jo Ann in New Hampshire

Jo Ann,

Not all dentists support the all-on-four dental implants procedure. From what you described, it doesn’t sound like it was as successful as your dentist tried to convince you. But it should be a relatively simple fix.

It sounds like the denture is loose which should be fixed as soon as possible. That should alleviate the discomfort you are experiencing and prevent it from breaking. This may be as simple as having the dentist tighten it up which may be as easy as a quick trip into the office. That said, there is a possibility that one of the screws is malfunctioning or there is a problem with the denture. Again, the dentist should be able to trouble-shoot the cause and get things straightened out. If it’s the screw or a denture issue, the solution should be non-invasive.

Now if there is something wrong with the dental implants that were placed with the all-on-four procedure, this could require a much more extensive fix.

It’s hard to say what is going on to cause the dental implants to be loose. Call your dentist and get in at the earliest convenience. You shouldn’t have to deal with the discomfort any longer than you have to. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.


Avoiding bone grafting for dental implants with a cadaver?

I’m getting ready to start a series of procedures that will result in me having four dental implants placed. The whole process is fine with me, and I’m ready to get going. The thing is, my dentist wants me to have bone grafting done. That, in and of itself, isn’t really a problem either, but I started poking around online and I found out that they use cadaver bone to do it. That really grosses me out. I am seriously so unsettled by the whole thing that I might not get my dental implants done at all. Can I skip the grafting and still have the dental implants?

– Evan in Texas

Dear Evan,

Your doctor recommended bone grafting because there isn’t enough bone for the dental implant to integrate solidly into. Without that initial procedure, you could have a host of issues, including a cracked jaw. Unfortunately, it would not be a good idea to go forward without having the grafting done.

The good news is that there are alternatives to using cadaver bone, and your dentist might not have even intended to use it. A lot of the time, bovine bone or mixtures of synthetic and organic material are used. Sometimes, your own bone may even be able to be harvested and used. You’d have to talk to the dentist, himself, to find out which material he usually uses for the procedure.

You also didn’t mention what specifically bothered you about the material. If it’s simply the concept, you may take comfort in knowing that the bone was thoughtfully donated. Cadaver bone, which is sometimes referred to as allograft, usually comes from people who made the decision to donate organs and tissue before they passed. Occasionally, a family member also makes the decision on their behalf, when the donor’s passing was unexpected. Generally, these selfless donors go on to save numerous lives, in addition to helping people with their grafting needs. Moreover, the bone is tested to be sure it’s healthy, then it goes through processing, and it’s also sterilized, so it’s safe to use. The entire process is handled with great care, as well as compassion.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Will My Insurance Cover a Sedation Dentist?

I’ve been without dental insurance for a long time, and I finally got a job with benefits. Yay! I have always been very uncomfortable at the dental office and have wanted to visit a sedation dentist. I’m looking through my benefits and I don’t see anything about sleep dentistry. Does that mean I’ll have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor who specializes in it?


Ryan in Utah

Dear Ryan,

Any kind of dentist can be a sedation dentist. You’ll find general practice, cosmetic experts, periodontists, oral surgeons, and more, who help their patients using sleep dentistry. It’s usually offered alongside their traditional services as an option for those with anxiety. It’s incredibly rare to find a doctor who only performs procedures on sedated patients as a staple in his practice.

Most of the time, insurance companies will cover whatever the necessary procedure is, but they don’t generally cover the cost of sedation itself. Your particular plan may have an allowance for it, though, so check out the individual procedure codes and see if anything is listed. If you don’t see it, the staff at your new office can help give you a clear picture of what to expect financially. On the bright side, sedation dentistry generally allows the doctor to complete more work in each visit, so you’ll have fewer visits overall. You’ll also feel much more comfortable during them.

Rather than allowing insurance to dictate treatment, it’s better to choose your new office based on reputation and skill. Ask friends and family who they recommend, or look for online reviews. Then, check insurance coverage as a secondary measure. Even if the doctor isn’t in-network, you may still have benefits available with him. Your comfort level and results will be superior this way.  Best of luck to you.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Problem with an old broken tooth.

About four years ago, I broke off one of my front teeth. It was almost halfway down the tooth where it had broken off. I had to get an emergency root canal done because the nerve was exposed. I was on vacation in Europe when all this happened and my regular dentist checked it all out when I got home. He agreed that the work was sufficient and put a permanent crown on the tooth. Everything was okay after that for several years.

Well, recently the same tooth is reacting to extreme hot or cold foods. I go through the roof with pain when it happens. So when I saw a new dentist, he couldn’t figure out the problem and told me to see an endodontist. The specialist told me the pain wasn’t from the old broken tooth, but the one next to it. He said I must have been stressing the other tooth out when I am sleeping.

I’m not sure these stories match up. I feel like the crowned tooth is the problem. But neither dentist can detect the problem on an x-ray. When they tap the tooth, it doesn’t hurt and the pain seems to be subsiding. Do you think I will end up losing my tooth?

– Carrie in South Carolina


This shouldn’t be a big dilemma for an experienced dentist.

To confirm the details of your story, first you are stating that you had a root canal treatment done at an emergency dentist appointment several years ago. That means the nerve was removed from the tooth. So there is not a possibility that the tooth will be responding to hot and cold unless the root canal wasn’t done correctly.

For the dentists not to have seen anything on the x-ray is not uncommon. If the pulp of the tooth is inflamed, it may not appear right away. It will become noticeable when the infection begins to move outside the tooth and into the bone. The sensitivity to tapping comes when the infection leaks out of the tooth as well.

Sometimes in a situation like this, the pain goes away. In some instances, the tooth will recover. Or the tissue in the tooth has already died. If the latter is true, the x-ray will show the tooth to be darker as time goes by. So if you are not in extreme pain, you probably can wait it out at this point until your next regular check-up. If or when the tissue does die, you will need a root canal treatment. But regular monitoring should avoid a costly trip to the emergency dentist. You shouldn’t end up losing the tooth.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Need home remedy to avoid trip to emergency dentist!

I had a cold that hasn’t gone away for a couple weeks. I keep getting severe pain in my sinuses and what feels like an annoying toothache. I am uninsured so I am doing everything I can to avoid an emergency dentist appointment. Sudafed isn’t doing it for me anymore. Can sinus pain make your teeth hurt? Do you know any home remedies that may get me through this?

– Paul in California


Sinuses can cause pain in your tooth. This is actually not uncommon when you have had a severe cold or sinus infection. When the pressure become blocked up it can settle in on the tooth. In most cases, it’s hard to tell if the pain is singled to one tooth. Most times it”s a group of teeth or all of the teeth on that side. If Sudafed isn’t working anymore, you may require an antibiotic to fight what could whatever illness you are dealing with. Based on what you have described with the sinus pain, pressure, and the toothache, you may have a sinus infection.

It does need to be mentioned that the pain in your tooth could also be an infection inside your tooth. If the pain is radiating pain in one tooth versus several, it may be wise to schedule an emergency dentist appointment. If you are experiencing severe tooth pain that is keeping you up at night or throbbing, you need to be seen. If you have an infected tooth that is left untreated, it can turn very serious, even deadly. For example, an Ohio man died, because he was uninsured. He only took the medication from the hospital and never had the tooth treated. Also, here is another instance where  another man refused to seek emergency dental care because he was convinced all he had was a cold. Well, the end result was tragic.

Tooth infections can spread to other areas of the body if they are left untreated. You don’t want to mess around with them. It would be wise to at least make a phone call to an emergency dentist to be seen to rule out anything that require urgent care.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.