By Dr. John White
Any time a dentist changes the size, shape or position of even a single tooth, it can affect the entire mouth. If you get dental work that is “oversized,” it can cause the jaw to change position and force the other teeth to adapt to that one tooth. On the other hand, if the restoration is smaller in size and the opposing tooth doesn’t touch it, that one tooth may shift and cause the other teeth to shift along with it. Therefore, it is important that a filling, bonding, crown, veneer or implant be neutral both when you bite down and when you move your jaw from side to side.
While the change in bite may seem minor, when a new restoration makes the jaw change position, even slightly, everything moves to adapt to it and the natural wear and tear on your teeth may be accelerated. This may also cause movement in the positioning of the teeth, over time.
I tell my patients if they have dental work done, such as crowns or even just a filling, and their bite doesn’t feel the same, to tell their dentist so he or she can continue to modify it. I also suggest people check back with their orthodontist, because there is usually something that can be done to compensate for the new dental work. This may include a solution as simple as making a new retainer, or it may be more complex and require modifications to the size and shape of the new restoration to get it just right.