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A Collapsed Bite & TMJ

I have a problem with my smile that has gotten worse over the years. It is always hard to see my teeth, even when I smile. When I don’t smile it looks like inside my mouth is just a black hole. In recent months my jaw has started hurting. I do wear a nightguard because of some clenching and grinding I do. When I am wearing it, my jaw feels a bit better and you can see my smile. I spoke to my dentist about this and he said that he could provide me with porcelain veneers to improve the appearance of my smile. I just wanted to make sure this was my best option before moving forward.


Dear Marilyn,

An image showing the connection between muscles, teeth, and joints

It sounds to me like you are dealing with a combination of a collapsed bite along with TMJ Disorder. I am glad you are writing now instead of after you spent a fortune on a procedure which does not help. Your dentist may be well intentioned, but porcelain veneers will not solvoe your problem.

This will require advanced TMJ training so a dentist can build your bite back up properly with dental crowns. Make sure he or she does it first with provisional crowns. These are temporary and can be changed as necessary to get the crowns correct. Take that to mean they are comfortable, you like how they look, you can see your smile properly, and you have no trouble with speech as a result. Once the provisionals are correct, then your dentist can make the permanent crowns.

The dentist you choose will need advanced training in TMJ. There is not a TMJ specialty, so you’ll have to do some homework. Look at Dr. Goebel’s TMJ Credentials in order to get an idea of what you want from the dentist in that regard. Some other good training institutions, in addition to what Dr. Goebel has done are the Dawson Academy or the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.