Q: I have pretty good-looking teeth. I’ve been happy to smile all my life, I have no problem eating or chewing anything. When I went to the dentist last, it was a first time after several years but I’m not feeling any pain so I expected a “good check-up” and I’m on my way.
But that didn’t happen. What I heard was, “There is a lot of recession on these back teeth – more on the top than the bottom. We’ve got to get you back for more information gathering.” That didn’t sound good but I said sure.
When I went back, x-rays, moulds, pictures, measurements – stuff I’d never seen before was pulled out and I felt like I was being blue-printed.
A week later I went back to get the news. It was something I’d never heard before. The dentist explained that I had the type of bite that was causing a lot of wear and tear everywhere – on my teeth, on my gums, on the bone around my teeth. He showed me how much bone I’d lost around my teeth and showed me that my bite, along with my smoking, was destroying the bone faster than normal. In fact, my bite was destroying itself when I ate, when I grind in the night, when I’m tense and grind in the day.
I’ve never heard of this before. He said my bite was an end to end bite where the edges of the lower teeth hit the edges of the upper teeth. He showed me how the teeth destroy themselves and the bone. He also said there were several solutions. I want to keep my teeth so I guess I’ll go ahead but it’s a lot of work and quite expensive. Are there any less expensive routes to take?
A: Edge to edge bites are complex. If you want to keep your teeth, the work is exact and expensive. Not all edge to edge bites can be fixed so as to save all your teeth. Most of the time a great deal of bone support has been lost around posterior teeth.
In truth, I see those with this type of bite after they have lost one or all of their molars.
When the bite can be corrected, front teeth of the lower and upper jaw must receive crowns to get the position, angulation and length right. When the front teeth are in the correct position (meaning a good overbite established), the forces causing wear on all your teeth and bone are dramatically decreased. This also reduces the strain on muscles of the jaws and the joints.
If you’ve had a good analysis and seen a work-up of the final result, you should get a good result and save many teeth in the process.