I inherited the trait for weak teeth so I am a frequent visitor to my dentist. I’ve used the latest toothpastes, gels and brushing systems. Different types of flosses and rinses have graced my medicine cabinet, too. I tried the all natural methods to a disappointing outcome. I feel like the proverbial Dutch boy plugging up the leaking dike. All that can be done is to brush and floss several times each day and visit the dentist’s office a couple of times per year for maintenance and cleaning.
Recently, I lost one of my gold crowns. I figured it could just be recemented in place and I’d be back on my merry way. I was shown, though, that there was some structural damage to the tooth because of age related changes to the gum and mouth tissue. The diagnosis was for crown replacement on two teeth plus some other work.
I had been under the impression that my first crowns were permanent repairs. Evidently that was not the case for me. Appointments were arranged for a series of repairs. The first step happened last week.
Dr. Adam Langan first drilled away the temporary crown that he had put in place last month. The usual poking, prodding and scraping took place. Arcane temporary devices were installed and a substance was squirted into the repair area. After more smoothing and scaping, digital photographs were taken from several angles inside my mouth. The result was a three dimensional image of the approximate shape of the repair.
I was shown this image on a computer monitor right next to the chair. Dr. Langan manipulated the 3-D image and allowed me to watch him make refinements to the design. He then compared that image to that of the rest of my teeth in that area of my jaw. The CAD image of the new crown was then tweaked to allow for a perfect replacement and fitting. The machinery he used is called a CEREC. The letters stand for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics.
When the digital model of the crown was finished to Dr. Langan’s satisfaction, the data was sent to a milling machine in another room. Less than half an hour later the crown was readied for a test fitting. There was more poking, prodding and scraping. The crown was then removed from my mouth. It went to a small kiln to fire the porcelain material into the final product.
The final step was the cementing of the crown onto the damaged tooth. It was carefully checked, put in place, removed, adjusted a few times then the resin cement was applied to the tooth and to the inner surface of the new crown. That was slipped into position and squeezed into place. After some clean up and checking, the new crown was ready to use for supper that evening.
I was so amazed at how digital technology is used for such things as dentistry.
I was able to have that crown modeled, sized and installed in the space of one office visit.
The Blue Jay of Happiness says any oral problems he has are as scarce as blue jay teeth.