Out Of Harmony – Out Of Function
Dear Dr. Crapo: When I was an eleven year old girl, I fell and broke my right front and side teeth. Two hideous crowns were made that I hated for twenty years. Finally I had the money to replace them so I went to a recommended dentist. I told him I thought they were ugly and that they didn’t fit my mouth very well because every time I bit into a sandwich, I couldn’t nip the veggies through. Instead, I’d end up with lettuce, onions, pickles etc. pulling through that side in a stringy mess. He said the new crowns would look better and I’d be able to bite through vegetables, pizza – anything I wanted. Happy, I had the work done and waited for the permanent crowns, so I could finally enjoy the new sensation. The crowns went in and to my great frustration, they didn’t work. I went back and told the dentist. He checked my new crowns and said “they fit right, there’s no problem”. I did that three times. By the third time, he was out of patience. That was twenty-one years ago and nothing has changed. Now, my natural tooth shade has darkened and the crowns are brighter than my other front teeth. I want them changed but I’m afraid to get new crowns and face the same disappointment. Can you suggest anything? Can this be corrected or is it just my mouth? Sometimes I think I’m just uncoordinated and can’t get it together on that side.
Many years ago a gentleman, who was new to my practice, said “the biggest beef I have with these teeth of mine, is that I can’t bite things off with my front teeth”. He said he hated sandwiches with meat and veggies because once he sank his teeth into the sandwich, he knew he was going to pull everything out of the sandwich down his chin and onto the floor. “When I order a burger” he said, “it’s ‘Put cheese on that and hold the veggies!’”
When I examined him, I found that as his front teeth came together edge to edge, he in fact had a small gap between them so he couldn’t bite things off. With his front teeth edge to edge, I saw the cusp tips of his posterior teeth hitting where they shouldn’t, preventing the front teeth coming completely together. A bite analysis and a relatively easy bite adjustment closed his gap and his problem was gone.
In your mouth it may be a combination of things, but a good bite analysis will discover your problem. It’s not always as easy as the gentleman above, but there’s a solution-so-you can have your sandwich and eat it too.