A Gorgeous Smile Super Fast

I just inherited money. A substantial amount of money. What I’m most excited about is that I can finally get my teeth fixed. I’ve spent so many years ashamed of my smile. Well, not anymore. Yippee. I’m likely going to need some crowns and cavities filled first because I haven’t been to the dentist in years (because of finances). Other than that, I have chipped and stained teeth, a tooth gap, gums that hang down. How much can I do at each appointment? I want it all done as quickly as possible. I’m racing toward my beautiful smile.

Sherisse L. – Denton, TX

Sherisse,

Congratulations on your windfall. I’m thrilled along with you that you’re finally going to get the smile you’ve always wanted. As I believe you already realize, you’ll have to get the health of your teeth and gums squared away before the smile makeover. You need healthy gums for any cosmetic procedure. Plus, you don’t want to loose any teeth. That won’t do your smile any favors.

Each dentist is different as to how much work they’ll do at once. You’ll find the dentists willing to do the most work in a sitting are sedation dentists. That’s easier on the patients too. You can practically sleep through all the work.

After you’ve dealt with any cavities, etc., it’s time for you to get what you really want…your gorgeous smile.

The ideal procedure is porcelain veneers. These can make teeth stunning. They can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth all at once. Make sure you go to an expert cosmetic dentist. IF you do, the results will be so much better. A cosmetic dentist will know this, but I just wanted to give you a heads up. Any gum contouring will need to be done before the veneers of done. Otherwise, the results won’t look right.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

I Want to Extract My Tooth. My Dentist Wants to “Save” It

I’m so tired of messing with one of my stupid teeth. First, I was a toothache. My dentist thought it was fine. Then, a few months later, I developed a cavity. We filled the cavity. A few months later, it got a completely different cavity. My dentist wants to do a crown. I’m so tired of this tooth. I want to just take it out, but my dentist thinks it’s better to “save” it. Why is that so important? It’s not like the tooth people see is going to be real anymore.

Phil – Washington

Phil,

I’m going to side with your dentist. Let’s say you extract the tooth. Then what? Are you just going to leave a gap there? Even if the tooth isn’t a front tooth, which would affect your appearance, that gap will cause your other teeth to shift. This will cause bite problems and may even lead to TMJ.

But what if you replace it instead of leaving a gap? Okay, the best replacement is a dental implant. It will require surgery and months of healing. Then a crown. Not to mention the thousands of dollars it costs. If you decide to get a removable partial denture instead, that’s easier–initially. But, it’s removable. You have a tooth that moves, comes out, gets food under it, and is uncomfortable. Fun, huh?

Neither of those options sound better than getting one crown. If you talk to patients who’ve had their teeth extracted, they’d tell you they wish they could have saved the tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Is It Possible to Save a Permanent Tooth that was Knocked Out?

We were at my son’s football game. His best friend lost a tooth during the game. His mother was panicked and not sure what to do. I started thinking I didn’t either. What would you do in that situation? Can a permanent tooth even be saved?

Cary A. – Minnesota

Cary,

Yes, they can be saved in some cases, but the success rate can often depend on how quickly you get to the dentist and how damaged it is. You really want to get to the dentist within thirty minutes. It’s best if you call your dentist ahead of time and let them know the situation, so they can be ready for you when you get there.

If you can’t reach your dentist, there are emergency dentists you can call who’ll get you in right away. It’s important you keep the tooth moist. You can put it in a glass of milk. Make sure you only handle it by the crown of the tooth (the visible part above your gums). Leave the root alone or you could damage the chances of saving the tooth.

If for some reason the tooth can’t be saved, don’t panic. Today we’ve made real advancements in tooth replacements. Dental Implants are like having your own teeth back.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Clear Choice was Pushy and Immovable

I went for a consultation to Clear Choice after several months of trying to get my dentures tolerable. They quoted me $59,000. That’s a lot of money and I could get traditional dental implants for less than that. When I told them that they insisted I wasn’t factoring in bone grafting. That’s true, but only because I don’t need bone grafting. My existing bone structure is fine.

During their sales pitch, it became increasingly clear that dental implants were a better option for me than Clear Choice’s all-on-four procedure. I mentioned that but they weren’t willing to let me off the hook. They kept hammering away at me. I said if they’d consider coming down on the price, we might talk, but they were steadfast about that huge priced tag.

At one point, I just said I needed to go. As I stood up, they implied I was intentionally not caring about my teeth and tried to waste their time. That was it. I’ll never go back.

My Implant Dentist Said Most Overcharge

My dentist said that the reason dental implants are so expensive is that most dentists overcharge because they use expensive parts. The question came up because I mentioned I’m looking for the best dentist to give me dental implants. He mentioned those who advertise as the best usually do so because of their prices. He felt he could give me great service with less expensive parts. Is that a good option? How do you find the best dentist for dental implants? I don’t want to just look at prices. That seems much too subjective.

Helena S. – Cincinnati

Helena,

Glad you asked this. Dental implants have a high success rate, but it is still a very advanced procedure which can lead to serious complications. Your desire to find the best implant dentist available to you is a wise one. I’m also glad to read you’re not basing that decision on price. There are some good “more affordable” dentists as well as some bad expensive dentists, and vice-versa.

When looking for an implant dentist, I’d focus on his (or her) training, as well as the amount of experience performing the procedure successfully. Ideally, you want someone who’s a fellow with either the American Board of Oral Implantology or The International Congress of Oral Implantologists. These dentists have reached a level of expertise far above most dentists. Additionally, they have a proven track record showing years of successful procedures.

Qualifications are much more important than price. In fact, the accusation your dentist made about expensive parts just isn’t true. The opposite can be, though. Some dentists intentionally purchase inferior parts in order to cut prices and draw in more patients. Faulty parts lead to infections and dental implant failure.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Why Did My “Affordable Dental Implant” Really Fall Out?

Can you help me figure out what is really going on? I’m losing confidence in my implant dentist. I went to him because he was the most affordable implant dentist in my area. I was so excited to get them. It was a dream I thought could never happen. I saved for years to get these. Now one of them has fallen out. The dentist said it’s because I waited too long to get them and I don’t have enough bone anymore. He warned the others might fall out too. He acted like this was my fault. I’m wondering if he shouldn’t have warned me about this beforehand? Am I being unfair?

Liz R. – Richmond, Virginia

Liz,

Not only are you being completely fair, I think you should ask for a refund. It’s the dentist’s job to make sure you have enough bone structure to retain the implants, not yours. When he first examined you for dental implants, he should have examined you for both gum disease and bone resorption. Either of these conditions is contraindicative for dental implants.

You said you’ve been saving up for dental implants for a while. I’m not sure if your dentist warned you about this. Based on what you’ve said I doubt it. When you first lost your teeth, your body recognized you didn’t have any tooth roots and began reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere. This causes your jawbone to shrink. After a few years, you no longer have enough bone to support implants or dentures.

Unfortunately, in order to get dental implants, you’re going to need to have bone grafting done. Otherwise, the new implants will fall out. Not even dentures will stay in when you don’t have enough bone. I know this is not the news you wanted to hear.

It sounds like this particular dentist wasn’t really offering affordable dental implants. He was offering a quick solution that wasn’t really viable. There are more ethical dentists who will work with you. Many of them have payment plans. Some of them even have interest-free payment plans.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Dentist Humiliated Me Over Need for Dentures

I am 28 years old and I think dentures are my only option. I’ve had dental problems my entire life, starting with my parents not taking me in for regular care as a child. I have tried to take care of my teeth. I brush at least twice per day and floss, but with so many problems already going on it doesn’t help. I also had hyperemesis gravidarum for three pregnancies and was sick all the time. I’ve been to several dental offices over the years and tried to fix what I can, though there was so much to do it’s hard to do it all. I could easily max out my insurance every January when it renews and still spend 20 years trying to fix it all. So, I’ve fallen into a routine where I only go in and deal with things when they hurt. I’m tired of living this way, always waiting for and dreading the next toothache, broken tooth, or infection. I want to have them all pulled and just get dentures.

Last week, I scheduled a consultation with a dentist and told him my plan. His repsonse humiliated me. He was demeaning and basically told me it was my fault that my teeth are the way they are. Then he told me I shouldn’t get dentures. I left in tears. I need help without being made to feel bad about my situation. How can I find a dentist who will help me?

Thank you,

Tara

Dear Tara,

Sorry to hear you’ve had such rough experiences. Unfortunately, some dentists lack good chairside manner. You’re also probably emotional about your teeth, which can make some things sound more critical than it’s intended to be. For example, “This didn’t happen overnight,” could easily be interpreted as “You let this go too long,” when really, the person means, “It’s going to take some time to fix too.” This, paired with the complexity of what you’re facing, can make it seem very overwhelming.

Before you take any steps, you should know that dentures are not the end-all and, especially at your age. You could be dealing with significant bone loss and facial collapse while you’re still in your 40s if your teeth are pulled now. Plus, the longer you wear dentures, the harder it is to get a set to fit well. So, you aren’t picking the easiest solution, even if it is the most economical one right now.

Your best bet is to try to put emotions aside and focus on finding the best solution for you right now. Find a dentist you feel comfortable with and have a frank, open discussion about your options. Save the teeth you can save because every tooth you retain will help prevent bone loss. Even if you wind up with a partial denture, those teeth will help make sure it fits you better and works better. As time goes on, you may be able to consider adding in implants for more support as well. Take baby steps and don’t beat yourself up. When your needs are extensive, you’ll need to build a roadmap to good oral health and that’s ok. Set a goal and work to it as best as you can, while being realistic about what you can achieve. A good dentist will work with you on this.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Can I Super Glue My Dentures In?

My dentures refuse to stay in. They slip all the time. Would it be okay for me to super glue them in? I know I won’t be able to take them out, but that’s the point. They wouldn’t come out. I just wanted to check in case it was poisonous or something.

Marc G. – San Antonio

Marc,

I’m assuming you’re just kidding with me out of frustration. I know that you’re in a pickle with your dentures, but super glue is a horrible idea. It’s extremely dangerous for you to do that. You will cause yourself a tremendous amount of pain.

The reason your dentures are slipping is likely because of bone loss. When you remove your teeth, your body recognizes that you no longer have tooth roots and begins reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. Eventually, there’s not enough bone structure to support your denture. That’s why they slip and slide.

I’m going to suggest a much healthier alternative. You could have some bone grafting done to build up your bone structure, then get dental implants. Implants anchor your tooth replacements to your jawbone. It’s like having your own natural teeth back… and they won’t go anywhere.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Broke Teeth Close to Bottom – Replacement Options?

I took a fall and broke two teeth. One of them is almost at the gumline. The other is a little taller. Do I have any decent replacement options?

Tim M. – Chicago

Tim,

Sorry for your fall. Fortunately, you have several replacement options. If there’s enough tooth structure left, you could get dental crowns. These will leave your tooth roots in place and help preserve bone loss in your jaw. Ideally, you want as much healthy tooth retainment as possible.

If you can’t preserve the teeth, your next best option is to get dental implants. These also prevent bone loss by placing a titanium root form into your jaw to imitate your root. This signals to your brain to leave the bone in place. Dental implants have the added benefit of being most like your natural teeth, so you can eat, drink, brush, and floss as you normally would.

If those are out of your budget, then I’d recommend a dental bridge or a removable partial denture (in that order). These are also satisfactory replacement options. You just won’t have the ability to prevent mineral loss in your jawbone.

I hope this helps. This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Sadistic Dentists

I went to a dentist for the first time in years. I stopped going because the visits always hurt. I decided to try again. This guy was worse than the last one. I’m beginning to think all dentists are sadists. There wasn’t really anything wrong with my teeth. I had one cavity. That’s after over five years of ignoring the dentist. Is it really worth it to go if all they do is cause pain?

Natalie P. – Maryland.

Natalie,

It sounds like you’ve had some horrible experiences with the dentist. AND I’m thrilled the only problem was one cavity. First, I’m sure you’re aware the cavity needs to be dealt with. I realize I have no right to tell you this and it is your decision, but I don’t want you going back to this dentist. You’ve already had one bad experience with him and I’d really love for your next experience to be a positive one.

There are some terms you could Google to help ensure you get a better experience. Try looking for someone using the terms “Gentle Dentist” or “Sedation Dentist”. These dentists will give you a positive experience. From what you’ve said, your first positive experience.

I know you’re questioning the use of going to the dentist twice a year, but let me ask you this. What would have happened if you hadn’t gone this year? That cavity would spread. It could even become life threatening. Believe it or not, people still die from tooth infections even in this century.

You can have positive experiences though. I promise you, not all dentists are sadists.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.