My dentist won’t fix my bite after getting a crown!

I had to get a root canal because I broke my bottom molar in the back about a month ago eating a hard popcorn kernal.  After I got the crown, I knew immediately that it didn’t feel like my usual bite. The dentist ground it down a little, but I left that day with it still being off.  He said it would get better. I let it got for a week, but every time I would bite or clench my teeth together, they just didn’t fit. So I went back in to have him fix it, but he was really hesitant to grind much more, saying I just need to get used to “my new bite.” Does it weaken the crown to grind it down? I just can’t figure out why my dentist won’t fix how my teeth fit together.

Preston, Branson, Missouri

Dear Preston,

It’s not fun to have to get a root canal and crown, but it’s even more frustrating to have your occlusion, or bite, feel off.  Because eating is essential, it’s not like you can just avoid biting and chewing. Correcting the bite is a routine part of placing a crown. If your dentist is hesitating, it may mean that either he doesn’t know how to fix it or is uncomfortable to do so.

How dentists correct the bite on your crown

Your bite will never feel exactly the way it did with your original tooth. The dentist can shape the contour to match it as closely as possible. Dentists use a special registration paper to have you “tap tap” your teeth together. This helps them see what parts of the tooth are hitting before the other parts. They can then grind down those spots. It’s doesn’t weaken the crown to fix those small spots.

You can give yourself some more time to try to adjust to your crown. If you continue to  experience discomfort, you will need to do something. It’s not good for your jaw to have your bite off. You could try to see your dentist again, but if he was uncomfortable or not knowledgable to do it right the first time, it may not end well . You may need to see another dentist to fix it.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.

 

Should I see an emergency dentist if my jaw hurts?

My jaw has been popping for a long time. Sometimes it also seems to need to open at an angle or to the side a little, not just straight down.  I don’t know why, but now whenever I open my jaw wide, it’s like it is grinding. This week it has started to hurt and I wonder if I have dislocated my jaw. Should I see an emergency dentist?

Cynthia, Columbus, OH

Dear Cynthia,

Jaw pain from TMDFrom the list of your symptoms, you may be suffering from Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD. Sometimes this is also know as TMJ and includes a number of problems associated with the jaw. Some patients with TMD just feel uncomfortable and others experience severe pain.

Symptoms of TMD

When you do suffer from TMD, you may experience that grinding sound, also known as Crepitus. That occurs when you have bone grinding on bone. You may also experience headaches, clicking sounds, restricted motion, and/or pain. You may be further on the spectrum, but unless your jaw is locked closed and your jaw can’t be manipulated open, it probably doesn’t warrant a trip to the emergency dentist.

There are several factors  that can affect TMD. If you grind your teeth at night or clench your jaw, especially if you are stressed, it can aggrevate it. Your jaw can be affected if your bite is off. Arthritis may play a part. There are many reasons why your joint hurts or the muscles around that joint aren’t working well together.

To help ease your discomfort associated with TMD, you can use a moist heating pad on your jaw for 20 minutes a day. If you know you are stressed and it is making your symptoms worse, try to find ways to alleviate it. This may include exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques–whatever works for you. Also, avoid chewing gum and clenching your teeth.

Because TMD can get worse if left unchecked, you will want to see a dentist who is experienced in TMD.  You will most likely be given an appliance to help you with your symptoms.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.