This is a question I’m frequently asked, especially when a patient is considering a significant investment of time and money into some form of cosmetic dentistry, such as:
- Porcelain veneers
- Bonding (tooth-colored fillings)
- Porcelain crowns and bridges
- Teeth whitening
- Even Six-Month Braces
It’s a very understandable question, and the simple answer to the question, “How long will my dental work last, Dr. Payet?” is “It depends.”
Just like a car, your teeth and gums require regular care to ensure that they are working properly. Sure, you can go 10-20,000 miles between oil changes given how improved cars are nowadays, but do you really want to take the risk? Same thing with teeth……….some people go for 5-10 years with no dental check-ups and are fortunate when they come in to find no problems, such as cavities or gum disease. But it’s not many people that are so lucky!
I always remember a quote from some lecturer at a dental conference years ago telling us his response whenever a patient asks the question, and it’s really the most honest, best answer that can be given, “Clearly the teeth that God gave you haven’t lasted your entire life, and since I can assure you that my work is not nearly as good as God’s, unless you die first, the work I do (no matter how excellent) will not last forever either.”
So what can cause your dental work to fail?
- Grinding your teeth — when the human jaw clenches, it can create an amazing amount of force, and over time, enough clenching will cause teeth to crack and break.
- Acidity — anything that increases the acidity in your mouth is good for the bacteria that cause cavities in particular, including Acid Reflux, Sodas, Power drinks (Monster, Red Bull, etc), Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc).
- A very sugary diet — the bacteria that cause cavities love sugar. High sugar content means the bacteria feed like crazy, produce acid, and the acid is what eats away the teeth to cause cavities.
- A compromised immune system — your saliva contains important antibodies that help keep the cavity-causing bacteria under control. If your immune system is knocked back due to a disease or some medication, those antibodies will be decreased, allowing the bacteria to grow uncontrolled.
- Decreased saliva (dry-mouth syndrome) — again, due to medications or illness, the amount of saliva may be decreased. With less saliva, there is less “washing” action of the teeth.
- Trauma — obviously. LOL One of my patients a few years ago fainted and fell face-first into a brick wall, shattering a front tooth. Another ran into a pole, shattering another front tooth. Clearly, if you are injured in such a way that your natural teeth would break, any dental work will break, too.
- Bad habits like chewing hard candy or ice regularly — hard candy and ice are just that — HARD! Ice, in particular, is easily as hard as your enamel and as porcelain or bonding. So if you bite down on ice frequently enough and/or hard enough, you can break your teeth and dental work.
That covers most of the major causes of dental work failing. With regular care, use of appropriate mouthrinses and toothpastes, proper brushing and flossing, regularly scheduled check-ups and dental x-rays, using a nightguard, and being aware of diet, etc, your dental work can and should last a very long time.
But always remember — my dental work isn’t as good as the natural teeth God gave you, so my work probably won’t last forever either. 😉
OK, I know that most people don’t think that going to the dentist is fun, but it sure can be a lot more interesting than it used to be for sure. The advent of digital dentistry, particularly CAD/CAM dentistry that allows us to make all-porcelain crowns in just 1 visit, is just pretty darn cool, and that’s even according to my patients who’ve benefited from it. We brought the CEREC 3D system into our office at the end of December 2007, and in that time we’re approaching our 200th CEREC crown. In the beginning, I didn’t take many pictures because I was really concentrating on learning how to make the crowns beautiful, fit well, and happen smoothly and quickly. Now that we’ve become more comfortable with the technology, I’m taking the time to really take quality photos to show off just what we can do, and yesterday just was the perfect opportunity.
This gentleman had these porcelain-to-metal crowns placed about 4-5 years ago, but he is a major grinder and started breaking the porcelain off within a year. That’s one of the potential problems of adding porcelain on to metal like that. They obviously needed to be replaced, and he drove all the way from Asheville, NC for us to do this in 1 appointment; since we clearly needed very strong porcelain, we chose EMAX, which has truly remarkable strength. Take a look and see the results for yourself after the crowns were glazed in our oven:
As I mentioned in a previous post on dental photography, I’ve been working to create Before/After videos of the different procedures we offer, and while they do take some time to put together, I am getting more of them completed. Here’s one that describes a little more about the process of Six-Month Braces and what we can do for you to create a more beautiful smile.
I count myself very fortunate to have known Dr. Boyd for about 4 years now, and it was through online communication with him that I originally began learning about the NTI and the remarkable abilities it has, in the hands of a properly trained dentist, to provide amazing relief to so many patients who’ve suffered from migraines, chronic tension headaches, TMD, jaw pain, etc. Quite honestly, he’s been a tremendous mentor and influence during that time, and I am grateful for all the hard work he has put in to educate both doctors and patients on what we call “Parafunction,” more commonly referred to as bruxism, grinding, or clenching. I’d like to share with you a video that he has posted on YouTube for both professionals and the public, in which he explains so clearly why he developed the NTI protocol and how it works and why it works so amazingly well. If you’d like a Complimentary Consultation to if you think the NTI might help you, please call us at 704-364-7069 or Request an Appointment through our website.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported today that more Americans are choosing to cut back on visiting the dentist due to the current economic downturn……….with potentially far more expensive consequences than most think.
Click HERE to read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.
We understand the tempation to skip a regular check-up at your dentist’s office when times are tough and budgets tight. We also hope you understand that staying on track with regular check-ups could literally save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in dental treatment later. Think about it this way:
- Skip an appt. now or decide to wait to get the filling done for $1-200……..and when the cavity gets much bigger, you might need a build-up filling and crown for $900-1300.
- Skip getting the build-up filling and crown now for $9-1,300 and you may end up needing a root canal, too, which could add another $800-1100.
- Wait too long entirely and your tooth may not even be fixable and have to be extracted, and getting teeth replaced can be FAR more expensive than saving them. Just 1 dental implant and crown in Charlotte can cost $3500-5000; what if you need more than 1?
- Wait too long and multiple teeth that before only needed fillings, now need crowns and root canals?
- Wait too long and the early-stage gum disease that can be easily controlled now might progress to the point that they can’t be saved and you end up in dentures.
I know that I’m dramatizing the potential risks a bit here, but the thing is…..those risks are real and happen every day. It makes us really sad when patients put off the inexpensive treatment now and then have to pay a lot more, maybe even suffer a lot of pain, because they waited.
At Smiles by Payet Dentistry, we offer several options to help you afford your dentistry now, and of course we are glad to help prioritize your treatment to get the most urgent items taken care of first. Some options:
- CareCredit Interest-Free Financing for 3-, 6-, or 12-Months.
- Smiles by Payet Dentistry In-House Discount Plan
- And we have a couple others – Download our Payment Options worksheet for details or call 704-364-7069 for details.
The most important take-home message is simply this: don’t wait, because it will only get worse.
I just can’t say it enough – if you grind your teeth, you need a properly made and professionally adjusted nightguard!
Perfect situation this morning: a young lady of only 29 years age came in for a root canal and crown on a lower molar because of a badly cracked tooth. It didn’t look all that bad on the outside, and seeing how small the previous filling was, you’d really think that the chances of this are practically non-existent……..but you’d be wrong. Take a look:
And let me tell you – it is NOT a coincidence that this young lady has suffered from chronic migraines for years, but we haven’t addressed that for her quite yet. First we had to get her out of the terrible pain she had every time she bit down.
If you grind or clench your teeth (and notice that this tooth doesn’t even look worn down or flattened), please be willing to spend a little money, even if your insurance doesn’t cover it. It could literally save you THOUSANDS of dollars in dental treatment, lots of time in the dentist’s chair, and even pain.
For ages, it has been commonly accepted by patients that their dental insurance covers 2 cleanings, 2 exams, and 2 sets of x-rays every year. However, I have to warn you about something, and you should seriously look into talking with your Human Resources Department about this to see if it may be happening at your company — this is not always true any longer!
It really shouldn’t be surprising, but with employers looking to cut costs, and insurance companies looking to find ways to keep from paying out as much, but in just the last several months, we have run across this situation with SEVERAL companies, and it seems to be occurring more frequently. So just what is happening with your dental insurance coverage?
1) Just last week, we found 1 insurance company that now only pays 75% of the exam and cleaning, and that’s even if you see a dentist who is in-network. It seems crazy, but true. Even if you go to a dentist who is in-network for this plan, they don’t cover 100% of the exam and cleaning. Surprisingly, they DO still cover 100% of x-rays, but I expect to see that change soon, too.
2) In the last 3 weeks have found 2 insurance companies that now make you pay your deductible (usually $25-50/year for an individual) on your exam, x-rays, and cleaning! This means that – EVEN IF your plan covers 100% of the cleaning, exam, and x-rays, they still make you pay your deductible on that. This is fairly new; it used to be that deductibles would only apply to things like fillings, crowns, non-surgical gum therapy for gum disease, root canals, etc. Before this, if all you needed was the exams, x-rays, and cleanings every year, you never paid anything out-of-pocket. Not any more!
So a little warning…….CHECK YOUR BENEFITS and BE AWARE. It’s not bad enough that the amount of insurance coverage you get hasn’t changed since 1970 (did you know that? Yes, in 1970 dental insurance typically covered $1,000-1,500 per year — the same as they do today. Shameful, isn’t it?), but now they’re cutting it back even more. Don’t be surprised to hear that you have to pay for your cleaning, exam, and x-rays.
Obviously, the single biggest advantage for patients with our CEREC machine is the ability to have beautiful, all-porcelain restorations completed in a single visit. Here’s an example of how nice that can be. This patient had 10 porcelain veneers done about 2 years ago; due to her grinding habit, she had knocked off and broken one of the veneers. Rather than make a yucky impression and send it to the lab, while she had to wait several weeks with a temporary veneer, we made it right in the office. One visit porcelain veneer, no temporary, no second visit, and her smile was back to beautiful! See if you can guess which one was done by us on CEREC and which were done by the lab?
If need your any tooth fixed, not just if it’s a porcelain veneer, CEREC CAD/CAM can do it for you. Call our office 704-364-7069 or Request an Appointment Online.
NPR aired a story this morning (March 5th, 2009) that has to do with snoring, sleep apnea, and the wide-ranging effects that they can have on behaviour, brain function, etc. This is something I”ve been studying and talking to patients about for several years now, but it’s gaining wider acceptance in the medical fields. On the most basic level, sleep disorders cause a decrease in oxygen levels to the brain, which results in various decreases in function and can have significant effects on your overall health.
Please take some time to listen to the reports and read the articles – wonderful information!