Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Roads, Teeth and Dentistry

By  0 Comments

Q: Why do you compare our teeth and oral environment to roads in New York State?
A: No material endures a harsher environment than the roads in our state. Some days it is 90 degrees and other days it is 10 degrees. And when we add other factors such as rain and 20-ton trucks, we know the combined effects on our roads; pot holes, cracks and swelling concrete cost the tax payer millions of dollars.

When you think about it, our teeth and our dental treatment must endure a similarly harsh environment as our roads. We drink a hot 120-degree cup of coffee and burn our mouths, so we quickly reach for some 35-degree ice water from the refrigerator. Then we reach for some Jordan nuts, which are hard as a rock, and crack one of our teeth. Once again, the cost of the repairs may be high.

Similarly, some of our road surfaces and some of our dentistry does, in fact, last 20 to 30 years. Eventually all dentistry will fail because the materials that we use in dentistry break, leak or crack necessitating another new filling or crown. Our materials fail because nothing that we use every day can withstand fatigue and failure.

Q: So how long should the dentistry in my mouth last before I need replacement?
A: My opinion is 20 to 30 years. Your dentist is doing you a big favor when he or she recommends replacing your old dental fillings and crowns. And remember that the absence of pain does not mean that there is no problem or that nothing needs to be done.

Often, I find that when a metal filling is removed, the tooth itself is all black on the inside. That means that the metal filling started to leak and let saliva and bacteria to get underneath the filling, which starts new tooth decay and results in the placement of a new filling or a new crown. I often see cracks in the natural tooth. Remember that I told you that temperatures in the mouth could vary by almost 100 degrees in a matter of seconds? And you might also remember your high school science teacher explaining that metals expand when heated and glass doesn’t expand as much? It is the expansion of the metal fillings inside the tooth, which is almost a glass-like material, that caused those small cracks. For your continued oral and overall health, it’s time for new fillings or crowns at that point.

By: Dr. Gerald Benjamin, DDS

Gerald C. Benjamin, DDS, brings tireless devotion to his work, 46 years of experience in restorative and esthetic dentistry and the highest quality service to create extraordinary smiles in the New York Capital District. Dr. Benjamin believes it takes a team to achieve the long-lasting effects of a great smile. His practice is located at 18 Division Street, Suite 205 in Saratoga Springs, New York; call 518-583-1116 for a consultation.