When a tooth is crowned (‘capped’), it places a ceramic covering over the remaining natural tooth. This may be done after a cavity has been removed and the tooth remaining requires more surface restoration than a filling or inlay can provide.
Crowns are custom-designed to a precision size, shape and shade. They are created to not merely blend esthetically with adjacent teeth but interact properly. For example, a crown should meet the teeth above or below as well as fit harmoniously with the teeth on each side. Without this unity, bite misalignment can occur.
A crown is secured to the prepared tooth with an adhesive that is very strong. It prevents the crown from loosening when flossing, eating or chewing gum, for example. So, when there are rare instances when a patient calls to say a crown has come off, after examination, we find it is typically due to clenching or grinding. These are common symptoms of bite misalignment.
When upper and lower teeth do not meet harmoniously, the lack of unity can create strain on the TMJ, or ‘temporo-mandibular joints.’ When these joints are strained, you may also experience headaches (which often lead to frequent migraines), sore jaw joints, difficulty opening the mouth fully, dizziness and ear ringing.
People with bite misalignment are often unaware that they have it. Most reactions tend to occur during sleep, such as clenching teeth and/or grinding teeth back and forth. This is due to the jaw joints’ attempt to self-adjust in an attempt to find a position that is less strained.
To understand this, consider an individual who has one leg shorter than another. While their gait will compensate to support walking and running without obvious interference, symptoms will eventually arise. These are usually in the form of low back pain, hip pain or knee strain.
While you may not feel your bite is ‘off,’ the results of bite alignment can lead to the need for costly repairs to chipped, broken and worn teeth. And, in some cases, the re-cementing of crowns or veneers.
If a crown should come off, carefully rinse the crown and wrap it so it is protected and safe. Call our office immediately and, if after hours, you will be given instructions on reaching us or a doctor who is on-call.
If it will be several days before you can have the crown re-cemented, most drug stores sell a temporary adhesive designed to keep the crown in place until it can be reattached securely. DO NOT USE MATERIALS SUCH AS ‘CRAZY GLUE’ OR OTHER PERMANENT AGENTS!!! These not only seep dangerous chemicals into the mouth, removing them from the natural tooth portion underneath the crown can require extreme measures that take away from the remaining tooth. When this is needed, a new crown will be needed as well.
When using temporary adhesive materials (available in the dental care aisle of drug stores), remember to proceed gently in these areas. Until you can get into our office for reattachment, chew on the opposite side of the loose crown and brush gently in that area. Delay flossing around the tooth. When swishing, don’t use much force during swishing or spitting. Again, proceed gently.
Verifying bite alignment is a painless procedure. And, for those who have straight teeth, many are surprised when told their bite alignment is off. However, it’s not necessarily crowded, crooked teeth than contribute to misalignment. Teeth that are too long, too short, or even missing teeth can throw the alignment of a bite just enough that the TMJ reacts with symptoms that can eventually require resolving.
If you are experiencing headaches, jaw tenderness, worn teeth, or other potential signs of bite misalignment, call our office to request a Consultation appointment. I am happy to explain the process to evaluate your bite alignment and methods to restore your bite to its proper position.
Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.