I went through about two years of braces when I was a teen and I stuck with it. I even wore the retainer like I was supposed to for years. My teeth look straight to me, and I’ve never needed to see a TMJ specialist or anything, just the orthodontist, but my dentist says my bite isn’t right. He wants me to get crowns on all my teeth to fix it. In all fairness, I’ve already had a couple of cavities, and I think we got on this because I said I wanted my teeth whiter, but getting crowns everywhere seems excessive to me. Should I get a second opinion from a TMJ specialist or is what he’s telling me on the up and up?
Lance – Michigan
A second opinion from a TMJ specialist would be a good idea. There’s a whole lot going on here and it’s unclear why your dentist made the recommendation he did. TMJ problems are serious, and they do need correction, but you haven’t indicated that you have any symptoms of a TMJ problem. Usually, people will mention jaw pain, popping, grinding, clicking, or generalized mouth pain. Even migraines can be a symptom of a TMJ problem. If you have these kinds of severe symptoms, you should have a consultation with a TMJ specialist.
As for having the crowns done, this is one way to go about correcting bite issues, but there are also less invasive and less expensive ways to go about doing it, too. Wanting whiter teeth is no excuse to jump in and get crowns either. Unless you’ve had work done on your front teeth, you can have whitening done. Even if you do already have dental work on those teeth, you can have it replaced after whitening so it all matches.
If you’re suffering from issues because of your bite, you should take some kind of corrective action. Maybe crowns are the answer for you, but that kind of treatment also requires the help of a specialist- someone who has undergone additional training and routinely performs full mouth reconstructions. It’s not the kind of thing you’d want done by a general dentist unless he has honed in his skills.
Either half of the story didn’t come through in your message or your dentist didn’t give you a clear picture of what’s happening and why. Regardless, this would be a huge undertaking, and it’s certainly well worth your time to see a TMJ specialist to discuss your bite and possible corrective measures that can be taken.
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