I’ve had crowns in the past without any problems. Recently, my dentist put two more crowns on. I’m to the permanent crowns so there is not more dental work to be done on them. The problem is the new crowns are not touching the teeth opposite on the lower jaw. These teeth are also crowned. They’re at least 2mm from touching. I used a new dentist do to moving states. I wonder if it is just differences in preference and style that makes these crowns seem different from my previous ones, or if this new dentist made a mistake. It seems to me they should touch the other teeth. It bothers me because my mouth feels funny. What should I do?
Kimberly A. from Denver
You have good instincts. Your dental crowns should touch their opposing teeth. How this works is called occlusion. There are textbooks and many post-graduate courses designed to teach the complexities of how it all functions.
One of the leading causes of TMJ disorder is improper alignment of your teeth. If your jaw is properly aligned, you should be able to clench together and all your teeth will meet at the same time. Also,there are two acceptable patterns of occlusion when you slide your teeth side-to-side. One is called canine-protected occlusion. In that type, when you grind your teeth to the side, only your canine teeth touch. These teeth have long, strong roots and are equipped to take this sideways stress. The second acceptable pattern is called group function. In group function, all of the posterior teeth have the same slope and when you grind your teeth to the side, they all touch evenly.
Over time, your teeth may drift together and touch, but there is a strong chance that they won’t touch properly, which throws your bite out of alignment. I’d speak with your new dentist about fixing this. Although, if he or she isn’t qualified in the study of occlusion, you may just want to ask for a refund and go to a different dentist to have your crowns done. You might look for someone who has done some post-graduate study at LVI.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.