I needed a full-mouth reconstruction because of how bad my smile looked. My dentist provided crowns on all my teeth, with the exception of one tooth which he extracted and placed a dental implant. When he did the temporaries for the crowns, everything seemed fine to me. However, now that the permanent ones are in things are off. Some of my teeth are not lining up properly. Because of this, it hurts when I eat. When I spoke to my dentist he said he met all the checkpoints and just to give it time. I went to get a second opinion and the other dentist said, “Oh, Dr. —- [name withdrawn] is a great dentist.” I got the feeling that he didn’t want to disagree with this dentist because they must know each other. In the meantime, I am stuck with this bite that is killing me. Is there any advice you can give me?
I want to make sure I understand that your dentist gave you a full mouth reconstruction simply for cosmetic reasons. Is that right? If so, that is a massive overtreatment. A smile makeover is typically done with porcelain veneers and even then you would not put them on each and every tooth. You would only place them on the teeth that are visible when you smile. Generally, that is the eight to ten upper teeth, depending on the smile.
A full mouth reconstruction is for much more serious conditions and removes a LOT of your tooth structure. A couple of reasons for a reconstruction would be serious TMJ Disorder which does not respond to less invasive treatments; or to cover teeth that are worn down to nubs by bruxism (teeth grinding). Without a clinical reason for crowning all your teeth I would say this was unnecessary. Now, there may have been a good reason that just didn’t get mentioned because it was not relevant to your question. I just wanted to make sure.
Not that it is funny, but I chuckled a little at your dentist’s comment that he met all the checkpoints and you just need to get used to it. That is often dental speak for, “I want you to leave me alone. This is hard and I don’t know how to fix it.” Plus, I’m pretty sure any dentist should consider “My patient is not in pain” as a checkpoint. Just saying…
Occlusion, the term for how your teeth meet together, is an advanced subject. It takes post-doctoral training to understand this properly. It is very possible that your dentist does not have enough training in this area.
Getting a Real Second Opinion
I’m not surprised you didn’t have much luck with your second opinion. One of the cardinal rules in getting an unbiased second opinion is to not tell them who your dentist is. Just ask them about the way the crowns are meeting together and explain you’re in pain. If they ask before giving you their diagnosis, tell them you want an unbiased opinion so don’t want to tell them. They should understand that. When you get that second opinion, make sure you go to a dentist with the training you need. Unfortunately, there is not a recognized specialty in this type of work so you will just need to look for the right training. Two great post-doctoral institutes that instruct on TMJ and occlusion are the Dawson Academy and the Pankey Institute. Any dentist who has studied there, will be able to give you a truly educated diagnosis.
This blog is brought to you by Philadelphia Dentist Dr. Michael Weiss.