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writeradmin writes blog posts on behalf of Dr. Kasia Lopez

Can I drink coffee with my Invisalign?

I just got invisalign and realized that my dentist said to keep them in except when I’m eating.  I tend to drink more coffee than that. Can I drink it while they’re in or do I need to wait until my meal times?

Amy H. – New Hampshire


I’m sure your dentist told you how many hours you needed to wear your Invsialign aligners on a daily basis in order for them to work effectively.  As long as your meal times don’t use up all your time, you should be able to sneak in a cup.

However, I wouldn’t drink coffee with your Invisalign aligners on. The heat of the coffee will warp your aligners and make them less effective and damaging your treatment plan.  Additionally, the coffee can pool in the aligners and seriously damage the enamel on your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Can medicine cause you to grind your teeth?

I’ve been having pretty severe jaw pain and headaches.  I went in to see my dentist and he said it looks like I’ve been grinding my teeth.  I know this is a  longshot, but could this new medication I’ve been on cause this? It’s called Atapryl.

Frank N. – Boston


No one really knows the exact reason people grind or clench their teeth, however research suggest that the most common reasons are anger, stress, and anxiety. That being said, over the years it has been discovered that certain medications can cause teeth grinding also, which can lead to TMJ problems. Atapryl is one of them.  Along with other Parkinsons Disease medications like Sinement CR Oral, Carbex, and Selegiline. Another medication called Prolintane for patients with dementia and certain types of anti-depressant medications are also known to cause grinding or clenching. Stimulants like amphetamines which has some features found in Ecstasy, an illicit drug, can also cause one to grind. If you are taking these medications and are concerned that you may be grinding or clenching ask your dentist if he/she sees any signs of teeth wear. Your dental provider may recommend a night guard to prevent you from causing damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw joints. You don’t want to cause TMJ problems.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Options for mercury free dentistry for children

I wanted to find a pediatric dentist that would understand that I don’t want fillings with mercury in them.  I’m having trouble finding one. Do you have any suggestions?

Lisa E. – New Mexico


It is sometimes hard to find a dentist who understands a patient’s concern. A parent’s concerns are especially important. There are holistic pediatric dentists. They will definitely be mercury-free dentists. There are also pediatric dentists who aren’t holistic, but will do mercury free fillings.

However, you’ve been looking and unable to find one in your area. That leaves you with two real choices. The first is for you to drive out  of your area where there will be a mercury free pediatric dentist. The second option is to go to a general dentist that enjoys treating children. Many general dentists are also mercury free.

I hope this helps.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Toxic Teeth

Last year an article was posted on the Dr. Oz  website about entitled Toxid Teeth: Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?  It caused a small stir. Not because the article was controversial, but because so many people didn’t realize that there was mercury in their amalgam, generally known as silver, fillings.

Many people ran to their dentist insisting their amalgam fillings  be removed. The only problem with that is many dentists aren’t set up to safely remove fillings that contain mercury.   A lot of mercury vapor is releasd during the removal process. The safest route is to go to a mercury-free dentist. They are more likely to have a rubber dam, which will minimize your exposure to the vapor.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Problems with my bite after crowns

I ended up getting several dental crowns. I thought this would be helpful, but now my opposing teeth are not touching and I’m getting headaches.  Shouldn’t my teeth be touching?

Miriam L. – Pennsylvania


You are correct that your opposing teeth should be touching.  You need to get this looked at right away. If your crowns are throwing off your bite it could cause serious problems, including TMJ.

There is a whole study in dentistry on occlusion, or how your teeth come together. If your dentist didn’t do your crowns properly, it could cause serious problems.

I suggest you see a TMJ Specialist. You’ll want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and can find the most expedient way to rectify any damage your dentist did.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Diagnosed with TMJ from Numb Fingers

I mentioned that my fingers were numb during my last dental check up.  I wasn’t looking for a diagnosis, just making a passing comment. My dentist said it was because I have TMJ.   Is it possible he’s right.  That seems like quite a leap to me.

Hannah S. – Mesa, AZ


TMJ can cause numbness in your fingers. Here is what happens. TMJ can cause muscle spasms. All the muscles in your body are connected to one another. This can cause a tingling or numbness in different extremities, including your fingers. However, it isn’t the only cause of numbness, nor is it the only symptom of TMJ.  I wouldn’t just jump into TMJ treatment based on that alone.  If it is combined with other symptoms then I might be more comfortable.

I would see a TMJ specialist and tell him or her all your symptoms. Let them look at you, check your bite, and evaluate you. Then, if your sure you have TMJ you can have more confidence in getting treatment. If the dentist (with the right credentials) doens’t think it is TMJ, then you would need to see your doctor. Neuropathy needs to be looked at.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Can my dentist treat me for TMJ?

My dentist told me I had TMJ after an exam and we talked about some pain I was having. He told me he was a TMJ specialist, but after doing his splint treatment I am still in pain. Is there something else wrong?

Brenda D – Pennsylvania


First, you should be aware that there is no recognized specialty for TMJ.  Any general dentist can call themselves a TMJ Specialist. That means you’ll have to do some homework before seeking treatment.  An accurate diagnosis is critical for successful treatment.  Treatments can vary from wearing a mouth guard, to TENS therapy, to surgery.  You want to make sure whoever is treating you truly has the expertise to make a correct diagnosis.

The first thing to look for is their post-graduate treatment.  You want a dentist who has been to a someplace like the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

You may also want to read some reviews by patients who’ve been treated by them.  Are they getting relief or just racking up bills for ineffective treatments?

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Celebrity teeth

I graduate high school this year and want to be an actress. I’m planning on moving to California right after I graduate. I know the one really visible flaw I have is my teeth. One is crooked and there is a gap in my front teeth. I want to get them fixed, but can’t afford porcelain veneers. What other options are there?

Gina May C. – Louisville, KY

Gina May,

When we think of celebrity teeth we think of them as being straight and white. You’re right that porcelain veneers will accomplish that and I do understand you can’t afford them. So, my next suggestion would be two fold. You’ll want to whiten your teeth and you’ll want to straighten them.

I’m sure, as you’ll be trying to get auditions for parts you won’t want traditional braces. There is a line of orthodontics called Invisalign. They can straighten your teeth without anyone even knowing you’re wearing them. You could even wear them to auditions.

You may even find a dentist who will let you use your Invisalign aligners as whitening trays. That will let you do both treatments at once and save the cost of needing whitening trays.

When you make it big in Hollywood, remember us “little people”. I’ll expect an autograph.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.

Reaction to my filling

I had to get my first filling. I have an allergy to mercury. I didn’t know there was mercury in dental fillings. I found out when I had an allergic reaction to my filling. Shouldn’t the dentist have told me about that? I filled out a medical history. What should I do about filings?

Sarah Anne – Texas

Sarah Anne,

Your dentist definitely should have talked to you about the mercury in the fillings. If you noted your mercury allergy on your health history, there is no legitimate reason for your dentist to give you an amalgam filling, which is mostly mercury.

In the future, you’ll need to ask for mercury-free fillings. Composite fillings are a great choice and actually help strengthen your teeth instead of weaken them, like amalgam fillings do.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.


How many appointments are necessary with Invisalign?

I have some crooked teeth. They’ve never bothered me, but I’ve been asked to be the public spokesperson for a medical mission that I’ve served in the past.  They suggested I fix my teeth and maybe whiten them.  The problem is I am leaving for Africa for six months to help with vaccinations and other health mission work. I have about three months before I have to leave. I read that the treatment can take six months or longer sometimes. Will I need appointments in the time period I am in Africa or can it wait?

Jason B. – Seattle


What an admirable thing you’re doing. The length of treatment will depend on the severity of your case. So, there isn’t  a way to be sure if you’ll need further treatment in Africa or you’ll be done by then. However, let’s make the assumption that you will still need treatment in three months.

It is possible for your dentist to supply you with the remainder of your Invisalign aligners before you leave.  As you would before you leave, you’ll need to change them every two weeks.

It would be best if there was a dentist there who could work with you. Are there any dentists on your mission? Maybe he could meet with your state-side dentist ahead of time.

You could whiten your teeth simultaneously, using your Invisalign aligners as whitening trays. Your dentist can supply you with the necessary whitening gel.

Good luck on your mission.

This blog is brought to you by Chicago Holistic Dentist Dr. Kasia Lopez.