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Can a Toothache Make Me Feel Dizzy?

Brunette woman portraying dizziness from a tooth infectionI started feeling dizzy last weekend and wonder if it has anything to do with my toothache. I had the dentist look at my tooth about a month ago. She examined my tooth and took an x-ray. She said I need a root canal, but I haven’t scheduled an appointment yet. Do you think the dizziness has anything to do with my toothache, or could it be TMJ? Thank you. Tania from Lansing, MI

Tania– If your dentist recommended a root canal treatment after completing an exam and taking an x-ray, it is because your tooth is infected.

Can a Toothache Make You Feel Dizzy?

An untreated toothache can make you feel dizzy eventually. Dizziness results if the condition reaches the nerves in your ear, causing imbalance. A Healthline article on the symptoms of a spreading tooth infection lists dizziness as a signal that the disease is worsening.

Other signs and symptoms of a progressive tooth infection include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Facial swelling
  • Swollen gums
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

The infection will continue to spread until a dentist treats it. You can prevent other health issues by seeing a dentist right away.

Is Your Dizziness TMJ?

Dizziness is a symptom of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. According to the TMJ Association, jaw-joint disorders can cause ear pain, ringing, and dizziness. Still, if your dentist examined your tooth and took an x-ray, please do not assume that your dizziness is TMJ-related. Follow-up with your dentist for root canal treatment.

What Can You Expect with Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is a painless, routine procedure. If your dizziness is related to your tooth infection, root canal therapy will relieve it. An experienced dentist or root canal specialist (endodontist) will take these steps:

  • Numb your gums and tooth
  • Remove the infection
  • Disinfect the tooth
  • Replace the infected tooth pulp with a root canal filler material
  • Protect the tooth to seal out bacteria
  • Recommend a dental crown if necessary

Call your dentist’s office today for an urgent appointment. Treatment delays allow the infection to spread. Without treatment, you may lose the tooth and need more costly, time-consuming treatment, including a dental implant to replace it.

 

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.

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My Root Canal Tooth Is Turning Dark

Man with an unsure expression about dental crowns and TMJ concernsI am unsure if I should go with my dentist’s recommendation to get a crown for my front tooth. Last fall, after my left front tooth was knocked out in an accident, I made an emergency appointment with my dentist. He reinserted the tooth and bonded it back in place. He also did root canal treatment. I notice that the tooth is darker than the others. When I saw my dentist two weeks ago, he said I might need a crown.

Is a crown the only solution for a front tooth that is getting dark? I do not know if I can trust what I read online, but I read two articles that say a crown might not be the best way to handle the issue. The last time I needed a crown, it took four months for my dentist to correct my bite and get rid of the earaches and the pain I started to experience. Thanks. Lyle from Montana

Lyle,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Although a crown on the front tooth strengthens it from chipping, it weakens the tooth against lateral stresses. The tooth may break off if you have a heavy or forceful bite. You were wise to see your dentist promptly and get the tooth replanted.

Tooth Discoloration After Root Canal Treatment

Tooth discoloration after root canal treatment is not unusual. Your dentist can decrease discoloration without a crown by removing root canal filling materials, including gutta-percha or cement, from the inside of the tooth’s crown (the portion above the gumline). If your tooth is discoloring after several months, your dentist probably left some of those materials in your tooth’s crown.

Internal Bleaching for a Root Canal Tooth

An advanced cosmetic dentist can use internal bleaching to improve tooth color if your tooth is darkening after root canal treatment.

A cosmetic dentist’s process might involve these steps:

  • Clean out the inside of the tooth’s crown
  • Internally bleach the tooth
  • Insert a flexible fiberglass post deep inside the tooth
  • Seal the opening

The tooth should maintain its lighter color for several years. When it begins to discolor, your cosmetic dentist can bond a custom-made porcelain veneer to conceal the discoloration. A quality veneer that a dentist bonds correctly can last 15 years or longer.

If you need a crown for any reason, a skilled cosmetic dentist can provide it without disrupting your bite and causing TMJ symptoms. The technique we described requires a dentist to have post-graduate cosmetic dentistry training. Dentists who focus on tooth aesthetics participate in continuing education to stay current with tools and techniques that produce beautiful results.

An X-ray to Check for External Resorption

External resorption occurs when your body rejects a tooth and eats away at the tooth root and can occur with replanted teeth. An x-ray will reveal any damage to your tooth roots. A cosmetic dentist will explain treatment for a tooth with external resorption.

 

Owasso, Oklahoma dentist Dr. Heng Lim sponsors this post.

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What Kind of Crowns Can Help Me Avoid Wearing a Night Guard?

Diagram of the side of a skull highlighting the temporomandibular joinI’ve had several crowns for 4 years now, but 2 of them broke. My new dentist said I have TMJ disorder and don’t wear a mouth guard, so the crowns broke. Anyway, I lived in Seattle when I got the crowns, and now I am in Indiana. To make a long story short, I need 2 new crowns. My sister says I should get Lava crowns because they are strong. Do you know anything about these crowns? Are they better than others? Will they last with my teeth grinding, or do I really need to wear a mouth guard?  – Natalia, South Bend, IN

Natalia,

If you have TMJ and you grind your teeth, replacing the crowns is not the complete answer to your concerns.

Have TMJ? Protect Your Crowns

Regardless of the type of crowns you receive, you should protect your investment with a night guard. Teeth grinding (bruxism) can wear down your natural teeth and crowns, even if you have high-strength crowns. Bruxism can contribute to TMJ and make symptoms worse. But wearing a mouth guard at night can ease symptoms and preserve crowns.

Lava Crowns

Although a Lava crown is a durable, all-ceramic crown, it is not among the most beautiful and natural-looking crowns available in most cases. The Lava crown has a zirconia framework, and the outside that shows when you smile is baked feldspathic porcelain. Also, other brands are made with the same materials as the Lava crown and have better aesthetics.

If your replacement crowns are for your molar teeth, you will need durable crowns, especially since you have TMJ and grind your teeth. But you will also need to wear a night guard.

Instead of looking for a specific type of crown, it is best to find a skilled cosmetic dentist who will examine your teeth and determine which crowns are best for your needs. The dentist will choose a crown that they are familiar with and experienced using to give you a natural-looking tooth replacement. If you have concerns about the crown’s durability, your cosmetic dentist will be able to answer your questions.

Durable crowns that fit well and a night guard will help you get relief from TMJ and extend the life of your crowns.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.

 

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It Still Hurts to Chew with My New Crown

Two months ago, I received three crowns on the bottom molar teeth. The right second molar still hurts when I chew. The pain feels like a radiating shock. I try not to chew on that side of my mouth, but it is so painful if I make a mistake and bite something slightly crunchy. My dentist adjusted my bite twice but now says the problem is that I chew too forcefully and should focus on lighter chewing. However, I disagree because I did not have the problem before getting the crowns. I am afraid of developing TMJ because of my tension and favoring the left side of my jaw. What could be causing the pain? Thanks. Dakota from Colorado Springs

Dakota,

Thank you for your question.

What Causes Pain When Chewing with a New Crown?

When you chew with a new crown is painful, two likely reasons are that your bite is too high or you have a tooth infection.

  • Bite too high – When a dentist seats your crown incorrectly, your opposing or upper teeth may hit the crown first and harder than other teeth when you chew. And that will increase sensitivity and pain in your tooth.
  • Tooth infection – An infection and inflamed tooth ligament can create a toothache. A ligament connects your tooth and jawbone, so you may feel pain when you chew. Advanced disease can cause the pain that you describe.

If your dentist tried to reduce your bite twice, your tooth is likely infected, and an x-ray will reveal it. Sometimes, tooth infection is subtle and requires a root canal specialist (endodontist). If your dentist cannot evaluate and diagnose the problem, ask for a referral to a root canal specialist.

And you are correct; delaying the problem can result in TMJ symptoms, including jaw, neck, and ear pain, headaches, and jaw stiffness. Please do not delay treatment.

 

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.

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My Top Teeth Don’t Show When I Smile

Man portraying jaw pain from teeth issuesWhen I smile, you can barely see my upper teeth. Sometimes when the weather is cold, my jaw feels tight, and I cannot pronounce certain words. I am self-conscious about it. I want to do something about it. I wear a night guard for teeth grinding and jaw and neck pain. I saw a dentist who recommended crowns, but I would like to know if that is the only option. – Andre from CT

Andre,

Thank you for choosing our office for your question.

Although Dr. Lim would need to examine and x-ray your teeth, your description sounds like your bite collapsed and you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. A dentist may be able to open your bit with crowns, but you need an experienced dentist for an accurate diagnosis.

Opening Your Bite and Restoring Your Smile

Skilled dentists open your bit with a temporary restoration. If successful, they will duplicate the temporary crowns with the final crowns. What determines is your temporary restorations’ success?

  • You no longer have teeth or jaw pain.
  • You love your smile and how it affects your facial appearance.
  • Your upper teeth show when you smile.
  • The restoration resolves issues with your speech.

Choosing a Dentist for TMJ and Bite Issues

A general or family dentist without advanced training in full-mouth reconstruction cannot resolve all the issues with your teeth, bite, and jaw.

In the United States, several high-quality institutes offer advanced training to dentists on occlusion and bite, so your jaw, teeth, and bite are in harmony. Look for dentists with advanced training from one or more of these training facilities:

  • Dawson Academy, Florida
  • D. Pankey Institute, Florida
  • Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, Nevada

We recommend scheduling consultations with at least two dentists with advanced training and experience in full-mouth reconstruction. List your questions and prepare to take notes to compare your options from each dentist.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.

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Why does my mouth look like it’s caving in?

I have no idea what exactly is causing it, but my mouth seems to be collapsing over time and I hate the way it looks.

For one thing, it’s hard to show my upper teeth with a natural-looking smile. I also have a hard time speaking and I experience jaw pain quite often now. My symptoms get worse when it’s cold. It feels like my jaw tightens up, and I feel very embarrassed about the way my mouth looks when I have to force a natural-looking smile. I’ve noticed that my jaw feels better, and it’s easier to move my mouth when I wear a night guard, however.

One dentist suggested veneers to make my teeth look longer and more visible in my smile.

Are there any other options?

— Stefan

Hello Stefan,

Porcelain veneers would certainly be an excellent option if your concern was strictly a cosmetic one.

But as you have clearly stated, what you’re dealing with is a problem that causes you physical discomfort, as well. Dental veneers can’t provide the structural support your jaw needs to move with comfort. If anything, addressing just the cosmetic element of your concern could potentially lead to even more discomfort.

So far, it sounds like you might be suffering from an over-closed bite due to excessive tooth wear. As your teeth wear down, your smile will look more “open” and you will have to lift your lips even farther for your teeth to show. And as your teeth get shorter, your jaw will be strained as it has to close at an unnatural angle for your upper and lower teeth to meet together. This can result in TMJ disorder.

The symptoms you’ve described make it sound like you could already be experiencing some TMJ issues, but you should visit a TMJ dentist who has special training to get a definitive diagnosis.

Once you find out what has caused your bite to feel so off, your new dentist will likely recommend full-mouth reconstruction (something much more extensive and effective than just veneers) to help all of your teeth fit comfortably in your bite.

This post has been published on behalf of Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso TMJ dentist who was trained in TMJ treatment at The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

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After getting new crowns on my front teeth, my bite feels awkward.

I chipped my upper front teeth in an accident when I was younger, and I’ve had the same dental bonding on them that the dentist placed almost 30 years ago. The bonding has held up well all these years, but it was starting to look old and discolored. So when my current dentist recommended crowning my six upper front teeth (from canine to canine), I said okay. I got the new crowns about a year ago, and although they look alright, they feel strange. I must have been back and forth to the dentist almost a dozen times to try to have them adjusted, but nothing seems to make them feel better. My dentist says she doesn’t see anything wrong with them and even other dentists I’ve seen say the crowns look great. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it, but it just feels like my crowns don’t close against my lower teeth correctly. My crowned teeth sort of burn as if they feel itchy unless I chew on something or tap my teeth together.

Is there any hope of relief for me? Will another adjustment help or do I just have to live with this irritating sensation?

—Marjorie from Pensacola, FL

A woman and her dentist both look at the camera. If your bite feels off after getting crowns, getting a second opinion from a dentist with special training in occlusion can help your bite feel better..

Hi, Marjorie

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Although we can’t give you a diagnosis with the limited information we have, it does sound like your bite is off due to the fit of your crowns. When crowns are done well, they should leave your bite feeling so natural and comfortable that you forget they’re even there. You say that the crowns ‘don’t close against your lower teeth correctly,’ and that strongly suggests that your bite is off.

One thing we’d like to make you aware of is that it’s possible for individual crowns to be nicely placed and yet still cause your bite to feel “off.” This is especially true in complex cases like yours where you have multiple crowns in a row on your upper front teeth. There are a few key principles of occlusion (bite mechanics) that dentists need to follow when restoring front teeth, and it sounds like perhaps the dentist who placed your crowns isn’t experienced in those principles.

Here’s an example of some of the principles, or factors, that affect the fit of crowns on upper front teeth:

Centric occlusion – This is when all of your teeth close comfortably together at the same time when you bite down.

Anterior guidance – This means the front crowns need to be shaped in a way that they help open your upper and lower back teeth when you slide your jaw forward.

Canine protection – This means that your canine teeth need to be shaped in a way that they help separate your teeth when you move your jaw from side-to-side.

Besides these, a dentist also has to consider how a row of crowns will affect the way you speak. So as you can see, there are a lot of factors at play, and if something doesn’t line up just right, it can spell discomfort in the form of TMJ pain and tooth sensitivity.

Another worrying point is the fact that your dentist recommended six crowns in the first place when it sounds like just updating the bonding would have done the job. We don’t fully understand your dentist’s rationale for suggesting the crowns, however.

There is good news. You don’t have to live with the discomfort forever—you just have to find the right dentist who is experienced in things like the principles of occlusion, full-mouth reconstruction, and the correction of uneven bites.

Some dentists have post-graduate training from institutions that give them insights into treating complex occlusion problems. A dentist who has completed training at one of these institutes is likely beyond qualified to adjust your bite and help you get relief:

  • The Pankey Institute
  • The Dawson Academy
  • The Spear Education Center
  • The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies

We suggest you search for a dentist near you with such qualifications and schedule an appointment to get a second opinion.

This post was published on behalf of Owasso TMJ dentist Dr. Heng Lim, graduate of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

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How do I find a legitimate neuromuscular dentist?

I’ve had a teeth-grinding habit for as long as I can remember. It got to the point where I had crowns on all of my teeth by the time I was in my mid-twenties. But they weren’t placed correctly and I’ve ground them down, as well. The crowns didn’t look that great to begin with, but now they look even worse because they’re so flat. So obviously, I’d like to replace my crowns and make my teeth look better, but that’s only the beginning of my problems.

Years of grinding my teeth and wearing down my crowns have left me with a painful TMJ that clicks and an uneven bite, so I started visiting a so-called “neuromuscular dentist” for treatment with an orthotic device. As it turns out, he wasn’t a specialist like I thought he was, and the treatment didn’t help. If anything, it made my bite much worse as I now have an open bite and my crowns have worn down even more. I went to an orthodontist to see if braces could correct my bite, but he said I would need the help of a prosthodontist.

A woman in a yellow shirt smiles as she reclines on a white sofa. She is happy and free of TMJ pain because of seeing a qualified dentist for full-mouth reconstruction.
Freedom from TMJ pain is possible!

Right now, I’m trying to find the right doctor to help me because my case is so complicated. Should I see a cosmetic dentist who can make my teeth look better? Or start with a prosthodontist who can fix my bite?

I’ve gotten so many recommendations and I have no idea where to begin. After all the pain and disappointment I’ve experienced, I’m not even sure if I can trust anyone.

— Rhoda from Akron, OH

Dear Rhoda,

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when trying to correct dental problems that you have struggled with for many years. It’s even worse when you’ve gone to multiple dentists for help only to have your hopes crushed.

Not all dentists who claim to treat TMJ problems are truly qualified to do so, which is something you personally and unfortunately experienced. On the other hand, dental specialists like prosthodontists who are capable of creating a balanced bite are not always concerned with providing the most esthetic finish.

So it’s understandable that you may feel torn between visiting two different dentists seeing as you need to accomplish two objectives.

That’s why seeing another neuromuscular dentist could actually be a step in the right direction for you. Your case does sound complex, and you will get the most comprehensive care in the hands of a dentist who has experience in full-mouth restoration and TMJ treatment.

But it’s clear from your last experience with a so-called “neuromuscular dentist” that he did not know what he was doing. There is not currently a recognized specialty for TMJ treatment or neuromuscular dentistry, so it can be a challenge to find a professional who is truly qualified.

However, there’s no need to choose between two different dental specialists, or to choose between function and appearance. A dentist with the proper training and experience in neurologic or physiologic dentistry and cosmetic dentistry can relieve your pain and restore your teeth at the same time with beautiful lifelike crowns.

The next step for you is to locate a dentist near you who truly knows what they are doing and is equally passionate about function and appearance. Start by searching for dentists in your area who advertise their expertise in TMJ treatment and can show proof of their cosmetic skills in an online smile gallery. For example, the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies is a respected post-graduate program that trains dentists in TMJ treatment and neuromuscular dentistry.

We hope this information helps you locate the right treatment provider, Rhoda.

This post was published on behalf of Owasso TMJ dentist Dr. Heng Lim.

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