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Dentistry/Jaw pain after crown and filling (ongoing for a year)


I had a crown (no rood-canal) on a second-to-back molar put in one side of my mouth and a filling on a second-to-back molar on the other side of my mouth a year ago.  I almost immediately noticed that my bite was off, and my dentist did several adjustments on my teeth since then.  Nothing has made my bite feel better.  My back teeth on both sides feel like they don't touch down correctly.  My bite has moved from sitting comfortably in the back of my mouth to where the front teeth are the ones that touch.  My jaw is sore every day now and I have never had jaw pain before.  I massage it daily, but it doesn't really help.  My dentist sees no problem with my bite and suggests it is an orthodontic problem now.  
I don't know what to do about this pain.  I also feel like I need to do something to help my bite feel more comfortable, but the dental advice now is that I need to get braces to get my bite to fit again.  
I use a night guard now, but when I wake up in the morning, it makes my bite feel really off all day.  
I didn't need braces or have jaw pain before this procedure.  I would love any advice on what is wrong with my mouth and how to get the help I need.  


ANSWER: Dear Veronica,

This is very uncommon.  Whenever we make a crown or a filling, we always try to build that restoration to the level of your natural bite.  Occasionally, after we've done our best, the tooth may move as a result of the treatment.  Usually it will elevate out of the socket slightly due to inflammation in the nerve.  When the patient notices that the bite feels high, we adjust it back even with the patient's natural bite.  Usually this does the trick.  Sometimes not.

With a person who clenches (I'm guessing you do), in order to protect the new restoration, sometimes we may adjust it so that it does not hit when the other teeth hit.  This is an effort to protect the tooth from the clenching.  A rare patient may notice that the restoration no longer touches.

You are that rare patient.  I wish I could help you.  But you're there and I'm here.  It may help if your dentist is willing to build these teeth back into your bite with composite material, then allow you to wear this for several weeks or months to see if this works.  If it does, your dentist can use the composite as a matrix to rebuild your restorations back into your bite, if this is necessary.  If the composite material is soft and resilient, it may wear slowly, allowing your teeth to naturally grow back into your bite as it wears away.

While this is not a commonly used technique, it has and can be done.  This may be a better choice for you than having to wear braces.

Let me know what your dentist thinks and what you do.

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Thank you so much for your response.  

The information you provided is similar to a hypothesis that I have considered - and seems to make sense to me.

When I place small pieces of paper in my bite - between the top and bottom teeth at the back of my mouth - it seems to balance my bite a little, and provides a small amount of relief.  I provided this information to my dentist - to see if she was interested in trying to add on to my teeth so that the back teeth in my jaw can touch - she did not think it was a good idea.  She told me she would need to put crowns onto all of those teeth.  I was - clearly - not interested in all of those crowns.

She did not offer another solution related to the idea of creating composite additions to my back teeth - to restore the way my jaw rested before all of these procedures ever happened.

Based on what I continue to feel and believe, and your helpful response - how would you suggest I encourage my dentist to consider this option again, and re-evaluate the possibilities for restoring my "jaw-at-rest" to how it was before?  I hope and believe this may help relieve my terrible jaw pain.

Can you refer me to any dentists in the Austin, Texas area who may be able to help me investigate these "composite" options?  I'll try - but I'm not sure I can convince my dentist to consider this option.

I really do appreciate your responses to my issue.  Thanks again,

Ask if she would try placing a flowable composite on the crown to see if it helps.  Your dentist can contact me if she wishes, and I will give her instructions.  As I said, this technique is not commonly performed, is not taught in dental schools, and so not many dentists are willing to try it.

The worst thing that can happen is the composite will wear off or fall off, and you'll be no worse off than you are now.

Sadly, I know no dentists in Austin or Dallas.  Check to see if UTA has a dental school.  They may provide you with more helpful ideas.  I just checked, and Baylor has a dental school in Dallas.

Good luck.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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