Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

December 15, 2017

After my new crowns, my jaw and neck hurt all the time


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Dr Hall,
I recently had my six front teeth, from canine to canine, crowned. Doing this it closed a large gap between my two front teeth. Now I can’t speak clearly and because of the closure and the stress of trying to learn how to speak again my jaw and neck hurt all the time. Also, my mouth stays dry and my lips are numb what could this be caused by?? Also is it possible to get the space put back between the two new crowns on my front teeth?? Your advice would be appreciated.
– Paul from Georgia

Paul,
This sounds like a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
I am pretty confident your troubles have nothing to do with closing the gap between your two front teeth, but are because of other problems with the crowns. I closed many such gaps in my practice and never had any adverse feedback like you are giving me—no speech issues, pain, or dry mouth. It sounds to me that your dentist opened your bite too far.
It could be that your crowns are too thick and/or too long. This could cause a problem called lip incompetence which is the failure of the lips to close naturally, without effort when your teeth bite together. If your bite is correct, when you put your teeth together, your lips should naturally fall into place and be closed without your having to think about it. Your dry mouth and the numbness in your lips suggest to me that you may have this lip incompetence.
Also, if your crowns are too thick, they could throw off your bite leading to pain in your jaw and neck, besides causing speech problems.

Both the pain and the dry mouth are serious problems. The pain issue is obvious. The dry mouth less so but is just as important because it can lead to rampant tooth decay. The washing and buffering action of your saliva, plus the antibodies it contains are critical in fighting tooth decay. Don’t let this go on.

You really need a second opinion. I’m suspecting that your dentist got in over his or her head in doing this many crowns simultaneously on you. That’s my guess. I’d go to one of our recommended cosmetic dentists to evaluate the result and see what needs to be done to fix it.
– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

January 12, 2017

I have dry mouth ever since getting my new crowns


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Dr. Hall,
I had porcelain crowns for all upper and lower teeth. Ever since these were put in I have had dry mouth. This was a cosmetic procedure and I obviously regret doing it. I am wondering if there is anything I can do next. The dentist widened my bite so you can see more of my teeth when I smile and I try to remember to keep my mouth closed and breathe through my nose. I know the dentist can grind down the new crowns and try to match my original bite but not sure if that is really a good answer. Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated.
– Randy from Pennsylvania

Randy,
So you had crowns on all your teeth–we would call that a full-mouth reconstruction. You wanted more teeth to show, so the dentist “opened your bite.” In lay terms, he or she made the crowns “taller” than your natural teeth were.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked out so well for you and now you are suffering from dry mouth–called xerostomia in clinical terms. This isn’t just an annoyance but is a real threat to the health of your teeth, which I will explain below. It’s caused by a condition that is called “lip incompetence,” which is defined as a lack of closure of the lips when the mouth is at rest. In other words, you have to consciously try to keep your mouth closed.

This was a serious mistake by your dentist, and in my opinion he or she should accept responsibility for getting this corrected. If he or she doesn’t, you have a valid case for malpractice damages. Was your dentist so attracted by the high fees from doing 28 crowns on you that they jumped into this case and got in over their head? That is possible. Dentists don’t get enough training in dental school on full-mouth reconstructions. This is a highly complex procedure, and there are several post-graduate training institutes that offer this advanced training.

The proper way to do a full-mouth reconstruction, especially if the bite is going to be opened, is to first open the bite temporarily by some mechanism. What I did was build up the back teeth with composite to test how far I could open the bite. It can also be done with temporary crowns, though that commits you to having crowns. As a patient, you should wear the temporary crowns or the buildups long enough that you can be sure you’re comfortable with the new opening. And the dentist should never open the bite beyond the point of lip competence. This is one of the key things that needs to be checked–with your mouth at rest, do your lips come together naturally or is it a strain to close them? This is the test that is used to discover how much you can open it. You never go past that point.

Saliva a Defense Against Decay

Many people don’t realize that your saliva has important defense mechanisms against decay. Besides its washing and buffering action, it contains antibodies that fight decay bacteria and minerals that help remineralize early decay lesions. A serious complication of dry mouth is a greatly increased decay rate. And don’t think that your crowns make you immune to decay. It isn’t hard for decay to get in at the margins where the crown meets the tooth. Also, dry mouth exacerbates gum disease.

What to Do Now

With what appears to be a lack of prudence and care by your dentist in doing this case, I wouldn’t ask him or her to fix it but would seek a second opinion. I will email you privately a dentist near you that I would recommend for this second opinion–I don’t want to publicly give any more clues about your location. Yes, the bite needs to be closed down, but grinding the teeth down may not work. It may be that your case needs to be completely re-done at the expense of your dentist. Proper shapes of the teeth need to be preserved in order for you to have a healthy bite. And if the crowns have a metal foundation under the porcelain, you don’t want to grind through to the metal.

So go to the dentist I recommend. If he feels that this is your dentist’s fault, ask him to help you get satisfaction from your current dentist. Based on what you’ve told me, it sounds like you could take this dentist to court for malpractice, but it’s always better to give them a chance to rectify the problem.

Dr. Hall

Do you have a comment or a question or anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you. Enter your comment below.

Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

July 16, 2011

After my wisdom teeth were extracted, I can’t feel my tongue

Filed under: Wisdom teeth — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 11:46 pm

Hi Doctor Hall,
I had my lower wisdom teeth extracted about three months ago. Since the surgery I can no longer feel my tongue. In my understanding lingual nerve damage usually effects either one side or the other.

My mouth is also severely dry. This is very perplexing to the doctors and I have received many second opinions – none of which have amounted to answers. Do you have any insight on this? An allergic reaction to the injection medicine? Any answers or new avenues you could reveal would be most helpful. Thank you!
Jenny from Louisiana

Jenny,
The lingual nerve, which is the nerve that goes to your tongue, runs along the inside of your jaw close to your wisdom tooth. Its course varies somewhat from person to person, so a dentist is wise to keep any incisions of tissue that are over the wisdom tooth well toward the cheek side (called the buccal side) of the tooth.

Lingual nerve damage after the extraction of a wisdom tooth can be either because the nerve is severed by the incision of the dentist, or because it is compressed and traumatized either during the surgery or as a result of the swelling afterward. If the nerve is severed, there is little hope that it will grow back. If it is slightly bruised, it can recover within about a month. If it is badly bruised or crushed, it can take it about a year or more to heal.

There are two lingual nerves. One goes to each side of your tongue. If your entire tongue is numb, that means that both lingual nerves were damaged.

As far as your dry mouth, I don’t know anything during the actual wisdom tooth extraction that would cause that. There is no way it could be an allergic reaction to any injections, because those medications have been long since totally eliminated from your body. So how can you still be having an allergic reaction to something that isn’t there? I think it could be related to the numbness in your tongue. Taste sensations provoke salivary flow. Since your taste sensations have been numbed, it seems reasonable to think that you would have reduced salivary flow.
– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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