Fixing decayed and fractured teeth has been attempted for a very long time. Skulls from 15,000 years ago show attempts to fix bad teeth. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and other ancient societies all had procedures to fix bad teeth. The ancient Assyrians would place a wooden bowl on someone’s head and give hit a sharp rap with a wooden hammer to induce a concussion and fix cavities while the person was “sleeping”. It was most common for thousands of years to extract painful teeth rather than attempt to fix them. The problem is that dental pain can be some of the worse pain a person can experience. There are accounts of decision-making in the “heat of battle” that changed history due to tooth pain. As late as WWII, pilots at high altitude were stricken with incapacitating pain when they had bad teeth. But today, it’s more than freedom from pain that is important. Decayed, fractured, and painful teeth alter a person’s lifestyle, health, and longevity. People with a healthy complete dentition live an average of ten years more than people without a healthy mouth and teeth. That represents a 10% increase in lifespan just by having healthy teeth.
Many materials have been used to restore decayed and fractured teeth. In ancient times, beeswax, concoctions of herbs and, in some cases, even precious metals like gold were used. In the 1700’s, silver amalgam (combination of powdered silver and mercury) was introduced as a metal restoration. By the early 1800’s, amalgam had become the material of choice for fillings. Gold was used sparingly because of cost and also presented procedural difficulties at that time. Modern technology, materials, and techniques have tremendously improved our ability to restore bad teeth. Porcelain, in many forms, is the material of choice today because it most ideally restores the strength, appearance, and function of tooth enamel. This can be in the form of composite filling material (86+% porcelain with light initiated polymerizing bio-compatible acrylic), pressed high strength porcelain for thin veneers and inlays, and milled porcelain for crowns and bridges, all of which can be bonded with high strength to tooth enamel and dentin.
Restoration begins with detecting problems as early as possible. Early detection of decay, fracture, and wear leads to less invasive procedures, less stress on the teeth, less irritation and inflammation of the nerve within a tooth, and less need for additional repair in the future.
Better than having to restore teeth is the prevention of dental problems. Our office is focused on dental wellness for our patients in an attempt to prevent problems as much as possible. Our comprehensive examinations include:
- Oral Hygiene Instruction with assessment of risk factors
- Laser detection of decay
- Light diffusion to find beginning fractures
- 3-dimensional scanning to assess wear and decay
- 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional digital x-rays
Let us help you achieve the healthy mouth and beautiful smile you deserve!