I need some serious advice. I needed to have every tooth crowned because I grind my teeth. Once they were done, I was disappointed in how they looked. Even though my teeth were damaged, they were whiter and more sparkly than the crowns I received. However, there wasn’t much I could do about it. Before too long, I seem to have grounded those down as well and I was in serious pain. At that point, I did some research and felt I need a neuromuscular dentist. Again, I spent a fortune on dental crowns. He also gave me an orthotic device, but that ended up opening up my bite too much. I don’t know what to do. At this point, to get it fixed I’m going to have to go into debt. I’ve spent every dime I have on the last two procedures. If I weren’t in so much pain and absolutely humiliated by the state of my smile at this time I would just give up. What do I do?
I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble with this. You’ve had some expensive lessons, which weren’t even your fault. First, let’s talk about the ugly dental crowns you received. Most dentists got into their field because they like to fix things. They have a more engineering mindset. Unfortunately, that means they care about structure but not appearance. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, though, if they seek out the right training. To get a smile that is both functional and gorgeous, you’re going to need a dentist who has invested in cosmetic training. Unfortunately, it isn’t a recognized specialty. That makes it challenging for patients to know who can create beautiful smiles and who can’t.
Second, let’s talk about what started this whole mess— the teeth grinding. This is a serious problem, as you’ve discovered. The worst part of this is the protection of your teeth would have been simple if your dentist would have been proactive. There are nightguards which protect your teeth from grinding. This could have prevented needing dental crowns to begin with. Secondly, it would have protected the first full-mouth reconstruction you had. Though, there are bigger problems with that one because of the pain it left you in.
That brings me to the third issue. You were on the right track looking for a neuromuscular dentist. The problem you ran into is, like cosmetic dentistry, it isn’t a recognized specialty. Having every tooth crowned is known as a full-mouth reconstruction. Because it is dealing with advanced dental issues, such as occlusion of the teeth, which aren’t taught in-depth in dental school, it does require some post-doctoral training. To be blunt, it doesn’t sound like either of the dentists you went to invested in that training. The fact that they didn’t get that training has caused you to have serious TMJ disorder issues. Here is the link to Dr. Doan’s TMJ Page. On it you’ll see the type of training you want in a dentist who needs to do your full-mouth reconstruction.
Because you also want a beautiful smile, you’ll want to also look for a dentist who is AACD accredited. These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. When you find a dentist with training in both of these, you will get a smile that has both the correct function and stunning form. It will be worth it to drive a bit, if necessary.
This blog is brought to you by La Jolla Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Stephen Doan.