Thursday, December 02, 2010

Take Care Of Your Teeth

A few years ago I switched dentists and was presented with a "comprehensive plan"as to how I should care for my teeth..."if I'd like to keep all of them." Having been a victim of the large amalgamate fillings that seem to have been so popular in the 1970s, a few of my molars are weak and showing signs of hairline cracks. Suggested crowns here and there sounded like a good idea but valuing new choppers at around 8K (including whitening, of course) was a bit (or a bite) out of the question. In the meantime, a few replaced fillings (in white!) would hopefully hold things over so that those crowns could be introduced over a few years.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. While chomping on a chip at Baja Fresh, I heard a sound that was out of the ordinary. Like a strong magnet, my tongue was drawn to the space where a quadrant of my molar had left its rightful spot. A sinking feeling in my stomach ensued...

Now what? Of course it was time to face the music and make a call to Dr. Dechter's office:

"Reason for visit?"
"Broken molar."
"See you tomorrow."

Insert Darth Vader theme music here!

So I walked into the office fully expecting a lecture about the preemptive care I refused to take. What I got instead was, "well, you dragged your feet and technology caught up with you."


It turns out that Dr. Dechter is boasting a new technique in tooth repair (and I'm ecstatic about it!). It's called CEREC and involves preserving as much of the remaining tooth as possible by removing only the leftover filling and accrued decay. Then a dust is sprayed on the tooth so a special photo can be taken. A computer-generated image appears on the screen so the dentist can form a perfect match for the missing piece. The message is then sent back to a machine in the lab which cuts a piece of porcelain to the exact specifications. Just minutes later, incredibly strong adhesives lock the new piece in place.

Besides the beauty of preserving most of the tooth (rather than grinding it to a nub so a crown can be applied), the cost is only about $100 more than a crown. Plus it is all completed in 1 1/2 hours!

I'm a believer!



At 6:32 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

lol - all I can think of is not to tell Lillian cuz then you'll hear all about her myriad tooth problems and get her analysis of technology and its pros and cons. :) I'm glad your tooth is OK!


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