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A Collapsed Bite

Posted by writeradmin

I don’t like how my smile looks and my jaw hurts all the time. When I am not smiling you can’t see my teeth at all. It looks like a black cavern. When I am smiling, I have to force my mouth pretty hard in order for my teeth to be very visible. I have a night guard because I grind my teeth. My jaw feels better when I’m wearing it. I asked my dentist what would make my smile look better. He suggested porcelain veneers. Because they are so expensive, I wanted to make sure that his suggestion is the right treatment.


Dear Samantha,

TMJ joint image.

While porcelain veneers are great for a smile makeover, it will not completely solve your problem. Bear in mind that I have not examined you, but based on your jaw pain and the fact that you grind your teeth and can’t see your teeth when your mouth is in repose, I suspect that you have a collapsed bite. The pain is probably from some resulting TMJ Disorder.

In order to fix this, your bite would have to be reopened. This requires dental crowns and is known as a full-mouth reconstruction. This is an advanced procedure. Your dentist would have needed to take significant post doctoral training to do this properly. I would start by seeing a dentist with TMJ training in order to get a diagnosis from someone who has examined you, then go from there.

If it turns out that you do need to have a full mouth reconstruction, you’ll want to make sure of two things. First, the dentist should do the work provisionally first with temporary crowns. They should feel completely comfortable and you should see them both when you smile and when you’re relaxed. That should all be accomplished before theĀ  permanent ones are even made. Second, make sure he tries them in with a temporary try-in paste. You should get to look at them in several different types of lighting. If you don’t like how they look, he or she needs to send them back to the lab. You should get both form and function. Don’t settle for just one.

This blog is brought to you by Nashville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. David Wickness.