What does road work have to do with fixing teeth? …. Well…. let me tell you!
I am often looking for simple ways to explain some of the things I do as a dentist. Here is an analogy that I find helps to explain the importance of a ‘crown’ over a ‘filling’ when treating a problematic tooth.
In the spring time, especially here in Canada, we often deal with the dreaded ‘potholes’ or ‘cracks’ in the roads that seem to grow over the winter and wreak havoc on our vehicles’ suspension and tires. The simple fix for a pothole or crack, is to fill it in with fresh asphalt to seal off the area from further water leakage and growth. These repairs are sufficient and can last several months to years, depending on the traffic and weather.
When the road has experienced extensive damage over the years and various potholes and cracks have already been treated, but problems still persist, a better solution is required. At this point, a road crew will bring in the big machinery to actually remove about 2-3 inches of the road surface and then place a complete new layer of asphalt over the road foundation. Driving on these roads is an absolute pleasure, as they are so new and smooth. This road will now last for many years and is the best long-term fix for a rough road surface.
With our teeth, we have similar problems….only on a smaller scale. When small ‘holes’ (cavities) develop in our teeth, a simple fix like a ‘filling’ is usually sufficient. This repair can last a long time, depending on the chewing strength and future decay potential.
However, for teeth that already have very large fillings placed on them, sometimes, just placing another ‘filling’ will not be the best solution. This is when a ‘crown’ is required. To do a crown, the tooth also needs its top layer smoothed off so that the new crown can fit over the remaining foundation. This results in a completely new and smooth covering over the entire tooth that is a pleasure to chew with and show off for many years to come.
Just how all roads cannot be fixed with simple pothole repairs, teeth cannot be restored with only white or silver fillings….sometimes a complete new covering is required, like a porcelain or gold crown. Hopefully this explanation can help you understand how some dental treatments are better than others.