Failed crown, now a TMJ mouth guard? What’s next?

My very last molar on top, in the back was really tender for months. It was really sensitive to hot and cold and sometimes it gave me a “shock” when I ate. I finally went into the dentist and he did a crown. He said it was good that I came in because the tooth was cracked and the back half of it fell off while he was doing the crown. All was fine at the appointment and a couple weeks later the permanent crown was placed. I forgot to mention that my jaw on that side was also hurting, along with the tooth pain. Well, it was a Friday night and over the weekend my tooth was absolutely killing me! I have never been in that much pain. I tried to see my dentist as an emergency, but he didn’t get back to me so I made an appointment with the oral surgeon. The tooth was pulled on Monday morning and the pain was gone! Yay!!! But then, the jaw pain is sill there. What now? I’m so sick of the dentist right now. The dentist is mentioning a TMJ mouth guard?

– Jo in Wisconsin


It sounds like it was probably necessary that root canal treatment was done on the back molar. That’s easy to say now, but in many cases it is difficult to make that assessment from an x-ray and it needs to be monitored after the placement of the crown. So your dentist didn’t do anything wrong. If the condition of the tooth was not salvageable (which the oral surgeon likely confirmed) then of all the teeth to have removed, the back molar is probably the best. Under most circumstances it is best to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant. This is because it will prevent any of the other teeth from shifting around or causing any discrepancies with your bite. One thing that can be learned from your story is that a toothache is often an early indication of a more serious problem. The earlier the symptoms are treated, the less invasive and in most cases more economical your needs can be treated.

The problem with your jaw may be from grinding or clenching your teeth at night. It may be something that you may not even realize that you do while you are sleeping. If the dentist noticed signs of TMJ or clenching, then it makes sense for him to recommend a TMJ mouth guard. TMJ disorder is a very serious condition that causes all kinds of pain, problems, headaches, in some cases lock jaw – the list goes on. Since you mention that the back molar was cracking, it could mean that other teeth may be cracking too which is a sign of this behavior. You can always seek another opinion from a different dentist, but if this jaw pain has been going on for some time, the recommendation of your dentist sounds legit.

Hoping things level out for you and these problems are a thing of the past.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

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