Category Archives: porcelain crowns

Should my crowns touch my other teeth?

Hello,

I have had several crowns, and I was recently fitted for two new crowns. One of them is going to be a porcelain crown and the other gold. The upper rear and adjacent molars are the two teeth that I’m referring to. The end product is leaving a gap of at least one millimeter or so from the bottom teeth which also have crowns on them. I was under the impression that they should touch the opposing teeth. Was this done correctly? I’d like to know because I think I need to have another one done on the other side.

– David in Pennsylvania

David,

To answer your question, yes, a dental crown should touch the opposing tooth. So much goes into the study of how teeth come together. This study is called occlusion and is very in depth. There are many factors that dictate precisely how and where crowned teeth touch.

Another important factor to consider is how the upper and lower teeth come together in regard to how your jaw and bite function. A properly aligned jaw should have all your teeth touching at the same time when you clench your jaw. There are two patterns of occlusion when moving your teeth from side to side. The first is called canine-protected occlusion where only your canine teeth are touching. The canines are designed to handle the additional sideways stress because they have longer tooth roots.

The other pattern of occlusion for side to side movement is called group function. This means that when you grind your teeth sideways, all of the posterior teeth touch evenly because they are sloped similarly.

You may or may not have heard about a test that a dentist can use to check your bite. A thin plastic strip is placed between your back teeth. The strip is very thin, approximately 0.05 millimeters thick. Basically, wherever the strip is placed on the back teeth, you should be able to keep the strip in place while the dentist tries to remove it. Your bite should hold it in place.

Even if your back teeth are touching, they still may not be touching correctly. In turn, this could throw your bite out of alignment. This is serious because it is one of the factors involved with TMJ disorder.

This post is sponsored by Newton, MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Related link: TMJ therapy

Have you heard of a dentist wanting to place a crown on each tooth?

I am an adult that wore braces as a teen. I thought this took care of my misaligned teeth. But the other day the dentist told me that my bite was off and that he wanted to place a porcelain crown on every single tooth. Do you know if this is appropriate? I want a smile that looks nice but this sounds extreme to me.

– Linda in New Jersey

Linda,

That is a very aggressive treatment plan, especially with the dentist stating that your bite is off. If you had a major problem with the way your jaw was functioning, then a full mouth restoration may make sense. It is difficult to interpret what his reference to your bite being off is really addressing without actually seeing your case firsthand. Truthfully, everybody has a bite that is off in some way or another.

That said, TMJ disorder is a very serious condition that can cause your teeth to be worn down, as well as painful headaches. Sometimes when a TMJ dentist is treating this condition, porcelain crowns may be placed on each tooth. But again, a full mouth restoration is extremely complex. If this is the situation you are in, you need to make sure the dentist if very well trained in post-graduate courses in TMJ. There are specialized institutes like the Pankey Institute or the Las Vegas Institute that are nationally known for treating TMJ. Another treatment that is a more of a typical first step is a removable splint to test a new bite alignment. At that point if the problem is not remedied, crowns may be the next step.

It sounds like it may be beneficial to seek the opinion of at least one other dentist, specifically one that is experienced in treating TMJ.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Replacing rotting teeth

four of my front teeth are rotting and need to be replaced. i’m missing half of three of them and just a small amount of the forth. do i need dental crowns or veneers?

Benjamin O. from Wisconsin

Benjamin,

Because of the amount of tooth structure that is damaged, I would go with porcelain crowns. They’ll cover your entire tooth, while porcelain veneers really only cover the front of your teeth. Plus your teeth would need to be intact and healthy. It is strictly a cosmetic procedure. With crowns you can take care of the unhealthy teeth while improving the cosmetics of your smile.

Look for a dentist who has some cosmetic expertise, especially because we’re talking about your front teeth. You’ll want to make sure the dentist uses all-porcelain crowns. Don’t let anyone try to talk you into porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. You’ll end up with a dark line at your gumline that will be very unsightly.

This blog is brought to you by Newton, MA cosmetic dentist Dr. Steve Bader.