I’m in my forties and always thought my teeth and jaw were fine. However, my dentist told me something was wrong with my bite, and suggested a full-mouth restoration to re-align it. He said this was necessary to prevent me from developing TMJ disorder, which sounds very serious. However, my dentist wants to cap every tooth, which is extremely expensive for me. Since I’m not having any problems with my jaw at the moment, do I really need all this work done? Or is my mouth a ticking TMJ time bomb?
Nick, from Kansas City
Hi there Nick,
You are correct, TMJ disorder is very serious. an unaligned bite can be a sign of it, and if left untreated, it can cause painful headaches and excessive wear-and-tear on your teeth. A full-mouth restoration is a way to treat TMJ, which is probably why your dentist suggested it.
However, your bite being out of alignment does not necessarily mean you have TMJ. Most people have bites that do not line up 100% in their mouths, yet they do not need full-mouth reconstructions. You would only need this much work done if your bite is causing you daily distress and discomfort. Since your bite is not causing any TMJ symptoms, you probably do not need caps placed on all your teeth at this time, if at all.
If you would like your bite treated, seek a second opinion. Treating TMJ is complex, and you should look for a dentist with specific post-graduate training in TMJ treatment. Dentists trained in treating TMJ would suggest a less permanent form of bite realignment as a first line of treatment. Dentists who have studied TMJ treatment at the Las Vegas Institute, such as Dr. Rota, would be your best option.
This blog post is brought to you by the office of Colorado Springs TMJ dentist, Dr. Joseph Rota. Please note that Dr. Rota is licensed as a general dentist. He has received extra training in TMJ, but TMJ is not a specialization recognized by the ADA.