Failing Dental Work
Why is your dental work failing?
There are many causes that result in dental treatment failure. Common causes that people often hear of are wear and tear, recurrent cavities, defective restoration, or poor dentistry. The one cause that people hear about the least and the bottom-line cause that results in many premature failures of perfectly good dental restorations is the lack of bite stability.
Our jaw is a complex chewing machine, with the lower jaw being the moving part that meets the skull at the Temporomandibular Joint, TMJ. This joint connects the temporal bone of the skull with the Mandible bone of the jaw. The jaw is supported by 5 groups of muscles that help the jaw movement and our teeth are the stopping points in the chewing cycle. Stability of the joint and muscle is achieved when our bite is balanced, and teeth come together at a certain muscle resting length.
What causes an unbalanced bite?
Causes that result in loss of this balance could be uneven fillings or crowns, un-restored chipped teeth or fracture teeth, the loss of a filling, missing teeth, or being genetically born with an uneven bite (or malocclusion, this could usually be corrected with braces).
When the balance of the bite is lost, the jaw muscle is constantly twitching to look for a stable stopping point where teeth come together. The result of this is heavy clenching and grinding of the teeth at night (this can put stress on existing dental restorations and natural teeth). This can lead to excessive uneven wear and tear of natural teeth, and premature failure of dental restorations. This in turn feeds into a vicious cycle of a more uneven bite and loss of muscle resting length.
Long term function with an unbalanced bite can cause further TMJ damage. The result could be headaches, earaches, difficulty opening and closing, clicking and popping of the joint, dull aching pain or painful jaw muscles.
Some examples of failing dental work
Can an unbalanced bite be corrected?
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek help as soon as possible. As you can see, a single carefully placed filling or crown can affect the entire jaw mechanism. The best approach is to maintain and save every tooth you have as early as possible. If your tooth is not save-able, the other available options are implants or a fixed bridge to restore missing teeth.
Regular check-ups and cleanings are what allow dentists to maintain, evaluate, and catch problems early, before irreversible damage happens. If you have not seen your dentist in more than 6 months, you are past due for your dental check-up. We offer complimentary exams and consultations if you have any further questions and would be happy to schedule your next appointment with our office.