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Straight Talk on Teeth

Dental crowns

This latest topic is about one single dental service: saving a tooth with a crown.

Teeth live in hostile territory. They are subject to acid, bacterial attack, physical forces and all kinds of nasty things.

Not only is PSI (pounds per square inch) a measurement for the air pressure in your car tires, it is also a measurement for the forces applied to your teeth. The normal PSI biting pressure for an adult is around 250 but it can get up to 900 in some individuals, especially during REM sleep at night.

Small fillings in small holes in teeth can produce fantastic results. On the other hand, very large fillings can create future problems because they can't take the pressures applied to them. Consider this – if too much air is placed in a tire it is stretched too thin and placed under too much load. There will be a big blowout; and the weaker the tire, the bigger it will be. Teeth with big fillings are the same – thin weak walls of the tooth are all that remain, and they can no longer take the load.

In the first photo you can see that having a large failing mercury metal filling in place further weakened the tooth, and as a result it fractured. The second photo shows the tooth restored with a new crown that looks and functions like a healthy natural tooth. The astute among you will notice that the other molar (large tooth at the bottom of each photo) also has a large failing mercury metal filling in place with fracture lines in the tooth as well. It is likely that given enough time and chewing that it will suffer a similar or worse fate.

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Using our tire analogy again we could say - small cavities/defects in teeth are like nail holes in tires, which are easily plugged (filled). When the plugs start to fail there comes a time when new tires are needed, and it is essential that those new tires be balanced so the forces are even. This is done with a crown, which makes the tooth new and strong again. They fit over the tooth and hold it together. Modern materials are very aesthetic and natural in their feel and function.

Early intervention is key here as waiting for the problem to get worse often means that more treatment is required, pain develops, and/or in some cases the tooth is lost. Every problem I know of gets worse until it gets solved. Make sure you get a comprehensive examination at your next visit to help avoid complications.



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About the Author

Dr. Mark Provencher is a general dentist having graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta in 1997. He is active in numerous professional organizations and is a perpetual student that prefers a proactive, holistic, "why-based" approach to care. He has hundreds of hours of extra training in the areas of neuromuscular dentistry, sleep dentistry/sleep apnea, cosmetic and complex restorative dentistry. He practices in the Pandosy Village area and lives in Kelowna with his beautiful wife and two young children.

Contact Dr. Provencher at [email protected]

Website:  http://www.kelownadentalsolutions.com/

 




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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