I wore braces until I was 17 years and wore a retainer nightly for ten years. I am 32 years old now and no longer wear a retainer. My teeth look and feel fine. After a dental exam, x-rays, and cleaning three weeks ago, my dentist said that my bite was off, and he could fix it with crowns on all my teeth. I was shocked and asked my dentist to give me time to think about his recommendation.
Now I wonder if my dentist is trying to make money because I told him that I want teeth whitening. My dentist knows that I need sedation to get my teeth cleaned because I am so anxious. But I really want my teeth whitened. Why would he think I would agree to crowns? Now, I distrust him to sedate me because I am worried that he will begin preparing my teeth for crowns when I do not want them. Is it possible that my dentist gave me a fake diagnosis and wants me to get crowns instead of teeth whitening because crowns cost more? – Thank you. Kraig from Phoenix
Thank you for your question. Dr. Thomas would need to examine your x-rays for an accurate diagnosis, so we will not speculate about the reason for your dentist’s diagnosis. But if you do not grind your teeth or have teeth or jaw pain, earaches, or other TMJ symptoms, getting a second opinion is best.
Do You Need Crowns to Correct Your Bite?
Placing dental crowns on all teeth to correct your bite is a highly aggressive treatment. A dentist must shave the entire circumference of a tooth to prepare it for crowns. Although some dentists taper teeth conservatively for crowns, placing them on all your teeth (full-mouth reconstruction) is aggressive for correcting your bite on otherwise healthy teeth.
How Can a Dentist Adjust Your Bite?
If your bite is off, a dentist will determine the cause before recommending treatment. Adjusting your bite corrects its alignment, evenly distributes it, and eliminates pressure. If the issue is not complex, a dentist may take these steps for an occlusal adjustment:
- Place articulating paper between your teeth and ask you to bite down on it
- Mark the points of contact where your teeth bite and grind
- Look for irregularities
- Smooth only the necessary teeth to adjust your bite
Depending on the severity of misalignment, you may need braces or another form of orthodontic treatment. But you will need a second opinion to determine if your bite requires adjustment and what is causing misalignment. Schedule an appointment with a dentist trained in occlusion and bite function. Explain your anxiety during dental appointments, and the dentist will discuss your anxiety triggers and how sedation can help.
Dr. Siny Thomas, a Sugar Land, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.