Tag Archives: Lafayette Dentist

Invisalign and Bad Breath

I need some help for my mom. She has always had teeth which embarrassed her. She was so excited to get Invisalign. She is very diligent to keep them in and I know she’s going to have a beautiful smile when it’s done. The only thing is, her breath smells really bad now. I don’t want to tell her and make her feel weird about something she’s wanted for so many years. But, I also don’t want her going around with bad breath. Is there a gentle way to help her or is this just part of Invisalign?


Dear Carrie,

Image top: A woman putting on her Invisalign aligners. Image bottom: a woman smiling with Invisalign on her teeth

You are such a sweet daughter. You made me as happy for your mother as you are. You’re right, she’ll love her smile at the end. Invisalign doesn’t automatically mean bad breath. However, there are a few common things which we see in patients that can lead to it.

Keeping Your Breath Fresh with Invisalign

  • Don’t eat or drink with them in

Patients are allowed two hours a day when they can take the aligners out. That’s intended to give them plenty of time to eat their meals without the aligners in. It’s possible your mom is so excited about the procedure she’s not taking a break. If you see her eating with them in, remind her she’s supposed to remove them.

  • Brush and floss your teeth after each meal

Food always gets stuck between our teeth when we eat. Unless you remove that, it will make your aligners pretty pungent. It will also lead to decay pretty quickly. I know you don’t want to talk to her about her breath, but if there’s a way you could gently tell her. Or, if you’re uncomfortable with that, you could just say you’re on your way to brush your teeth after meals together as a reminder to her that she’s supposed to be.

  • Hydrate regularly with water

Not drinking enough water can cause not just dehydration, but some pungent breath as well. The added benefit is she can drink that while her aligners are in. It’s the one thing she can drink while she’s wearing them.

  • Use the cleaning kit that comes with the aligners

Cleaning your teeth isn’t enough. Occasionally, your aligners need a good clean as well. If she can’t find her kit. She can give them a quick clean with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a baking soda and water mixture.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Do I Get a Dental Implant or a Dental Bridge?

I lost a tooth. It’s my own fault. I waited too long to deal with it and now I have to replace it. My dentist is suggesting a dental implant, but I’m not too keen on the idea of surgery. Would a dental bridge do something close?

Kevin C.

Dear Kevin,

It depends on how close you’re wanting to get. Both a dental implant and a dental bridge are acceptable tooth replacement options. Both are permanent and secure. There are important differences though. I’ll explain both options. Then, you can discuss with your dentist what fits your situation best. His job isn’t to pressure you into an option, but rather to give you your options and a recommendation. The final decision is yours.

Dental Implants

Dental Implant DiagramYou already knew that a dental implant required surgery. The diagram on the left shows why.

As you can see, the implant is placed directly into your jawbone. The benefits to this are it’s like having your own natural tooth back, it preserves your jawbone, and no other teeth need to lose tooth structure for its placement.

Dental Bridge

Illustration of a dental bridgeA dental bridge is also permanent however, in order to bond them, it requires grinding down the adjacent teeth. Additionally, if part of it breaks the whole unit will have to be redone. They also do nothing to preserve the bone underneath.

When Does a Dental Bridge Make More Sense?

While it may sound like I’m suggesting dental implants are the better option, there is a time when a dental bridge makes more sense. For instance, if the adjacent teeth need to be crowned anyway then it’s like getting two procedures in one. Then, you’re not grinding healthy tooth structure.

The key is good communication with your dentist. He or she knows your teeth. If finances are a consideration as well, many dentists will let you pay out a procedure like dental implants which are a little more costly than simple procedures like a filling.

Who Should Do Your Tooth Restorations?

When you’re looking at replacing teeth, it’s important you choose the right dentist. The especially important when the tooth is in a visible part of your smile. You want it to look natural and beautiful. Not every dentist can pull that off.

Look for a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. One other thing to consider. Once your implant crown or dental bridge is made, the color cannot be changed. If you want a whiter smile, be sure to have your teeth whitened before your tooth replacement procedure is done. That way your restoration will match your bright white smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Is It Normal to Get a Pimple on Your Gums?

I’ve got a pimple on my gums. I’m worried about it. My husband says I’m overreacting, that it’s just a pimple. But, I’ve never heard of a pimple on gums and it hurts. Is this normal?

Danya L.

Dear Danya,

Emergency Dental Care

You’re right to be concerned. This is more serious than a simple pimple. It’s likely one of two things. First, it could be the beginnings of a canker sore and just resembles a pimple. This won’t be very large, but it will “open up” and start to resemble a canker sore rather soon.

This is not an emergency, but you will want to attend to it. Salt water rinses will help, along with over the counter pain relievers. It should clear up within two weeks. If it doesn’t, see your dentist for an oral tissue exam. Sometimes oral cancer resembles a canker sore. Your dentist examines you for this at every check-up. If you’re diligent with your check ups, the canker sore is the more likely scenario.

If it truly resembles a full-sized pimple, then it is most likely a fistula. This is filled with puss, so don’t pop it. You won’t like the taste. A fistula means you have an active tooth infection. This needs to be seen right away. In fact, if you don’t have a regular dentist, you need to see an emergency dentist. They’ll work you in sooner than most dentists even if you’re not an established patient.

There are a number of possible treatment options here depending on why the bacteria is pooling. If the tooth is cracked and leaking bacteria into the gums, then you’ll need a dental crown. If it’s in a visible place then you’ll want to be sure to get an all-porcelain crown. They look completely natural. If there’s an infection, it’s possible to need a root canal treatment.

Either way, you don’t want to put off treatment. The infection will spread. The quicker it’s treated, the less invasive the procedure will need to be.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

I Want an Implant and My Dentist Wants Me to Get a Bridge

I have two teeth that need work. They’re right next to each other. One needs a crown. The other needs to be extracted. I want to do a dental implant and a crown. My dentist wants to do a bridge. I’d think he’d be more excited about a dental implant because they’re more expensive, but he seems pretty insistent about a bridge.  Is there a real medical reason for this?  I’m not too excited about the idea of a bridge.

Brenda C. – Michigan


My guess is your dentist isn’t comfortable with dental implants.  It’s an extremely advanced procedure. I wouldn’t push your dentist if that’s the case. When it’s not done perfectly, there can be serious complications.  It’s a credit to your dentist that he’s not just taking your money and doing the procedure halfway.

A bridge is fine in your case. You already need work on one of the adjacent teeth, so it’s like getting two procedures knocked out in one—no pun intended. However, your other tooth is healthy so you might not want to grind down healthy tooth structure. I understand your desire to go with an implant and crown.

My suggestion would be to get the implant and crown, but with another dentist. I’m not saying leave your current dentist, just have this particular procedure done with someone else. Then, you can continue with your current dentist for general treatments and cleanings afterward.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Can I Get A CEREC Crown If I Grind My Teeth?

I’m scheduled to get my first crown in a week.  I’m nervous about it. One of the things I’m worried about is my teeth grinding habit. Will it hold up as well as my teeth? I don’t know how to stop the grinding. I only know I do it because my husband mentioned I do it in my sleep.

Amanda K. – Montana


I’m bothered by some things you’ve mentioned. You asked if the CEREC crown will hold up as well as your teeth. The answer to that is yes.

However, your teeth won’t hold up to the grinding habit, so neither of them will. Eventually, you will grind your teeth down to nubs. It can even cause you to crack your teeth.

What you need to do is get a mouthguard for while you’re sleeping. It will protect both your natural teeth and the CEREC crown.

I’m surprised your dentist didn’t mention this to you. It’s something you really need to discuss with your dentist. The mouthguard can be custom made to fit your exact smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr.  Mike Malone

Getting Back Into the Dating Scene

I’m recently divorced, after a 17 year marriage. My husband decided to start a new life with his high school sweetheart. Now I’m stuck trying to navigate a new life. I’m thinking about diving into the dating scene again, but I think my teeth will hold me back.  I’m too old for braces, but can’t afford porcelain veneers. Is there something between the two?

Amanda – Kentucky


They say our smile is the first thing people notice about us, so if you’re not happy with your smile, it’s great that you’re being proactive.

You don’t have to have a mouth full of metal or spend a fortune on porcelain veneers. Invisalign will allow you to straighten your teeth without anyone knowing. It uses clear aligners.

I’d talk to your dentist to see if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. It has a high patient satisfaction rate. Just bear in mind, that while porcelain veneers can completely remake your smile, Invisalign, just straightens your teeth. Kind of like braces, but without the metal.

Good luck in the dating world!

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Is It Really Worth It to Go to The Dentist When the Economy is so Bad?

The economy where we live is really bad. My husband’s been out of work for two years now.  We’re trying to save money anywhere we can. In a bad economy, is it really necessary to go to the dentist twice a year?

Laura L. – Miami


I completely understand the dilemma you’re in. The economy in Louisiana has been hit hard. We’re watching people lose homes they’ve lived in for years.

You’re asking if it’s OK to cut back to one check-up a year. I’m going to give you a very non-committal answer. It really depends. Before you roll your eyes, I’ll explain further.

Some people have naturally healthy teeth. They go their whole lives without a cavity. Feel free to hate those people as much as I hate people with a high metabolism.  If you’re one of the people with naturally healthy teeth that never has any issue, then temporarily cutting back to once a year, may not do any harm.

But, if you’re one of the people with a normal mouth, it’s a gamble. IF you don’t go in regularly, you risk costing yourself a lot more money. Regular check-ups can prevent cavities. It can also catch them early enough where you might only need a tiny filling. Put it off, you’ll end up paying for a root canal and dental crown.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

My Dentist Refuses to Give Me CEREC Crowns Even Though He Does Them

I need a crown on my front tooth. My dentist CEREC crowns, but absolutely refuses to do it on my front teeth. I really like the convenience of one appointment crowns. Can you think of a reason he won’t give it to me?

Marcella M. – Idaho


I suspect it is an aesthetics issue. You see, CEREC crowns are milled out of  a single block of porcelain. That means they don’t have th subtleties that you find in your natural teeth. That is fine for most of your teeth, but your front teeth are quite visible. Your dentist will want to make sure they get all the variation to make them look natural.

If he does a traditional crown, it will take a little longer, but he can do it beautifully. Of course, it is up to you. If you want a CEREC crown that badly, you can likely have one–from another dentist who doesn’t care as much about the aesthetics. Just know they’ll be a litle flat looking.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

What are some decent tooth replacement options?

I have to get a tooth extracted. I wanted to get a second opinion on some good tooth replacement options. Money is no object. I want the best. What are your thoughts?

Martin C. – Albany, NY


My initial thought is if you want the top tooth replacement option, than just about any dentist would tell you to get dental implants.  They’re the most like having your own natural tooth.  If you’re in good general health, than you are likely a candidate.

There are times when a dental bridge makes more sense. That’s generally if the adjacent teeth to the missing tooth happen to need dental crowns. If that’s the case, a dental bridge will take care of two procedures at once.

You didn’t say what your dentist suggested. If he’s not adequately trained in dental implants, then he wouldn’t be likely to suggest them.  But, it is the ideal treatment if you’re a candidate.

There are other options, as well, aside from implants and bridges, such as a removable partial denture, but you asked for the top treatments.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Why Is My CEREC Crown Getting Stained?

I’m having a problem with my CEREC crown. I’ve only had it about a year and now it’s picking up stains. I don’t know what happened. I just got my teeth cleaned. My teeth, including my crown, looked great when I left. A few weeks later and it started getting dingy.

Corinne – New Mexico


I can’t be certain without examining your crowns, but it sounds like your crown has lost its glazing. I suspect, because it happened just after your check up and cleaning, you likely had an inexperienced hygienist. He or she either didn’t realize you had a CEREC crown or didn’t know how to care for them.

If the hygienist used something like a prophy jet during your  cleaning, it would damage the glazing.

I’d talk to your dentist about it. If he or she doesn’t know how to fix it, they might be willing to replace it.  Other than that you’re stuck either living with it or replacing it yourself.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.