The Tooth of the Matter

The Tooth of the Matter
Dr. Matt Artho

Dr. Matt Artho

Dr. Matt is a practicing
dentist and owner of Country Lakes Family Dental

That all-too familiar feeling is in the air. Homes wrapped in lights, doors covered in wreaths, and Christmas trees seen through the windows. The holidays are here, and who doesn’t recognize those well-known rituals celebrated once a year? However, the holiday season does bring with it some unknowns to be answered, like, What is yuletide? What exactly is in a fruitcake? Is it normal for sugarplums to dance?

Or my favorite, do you really just want your two front teeth for Christmas? Well, I may not be a Christmas expert, but I can at least shed some light on the type of teeth you may get if it happens to be on your dental wishlist.

There are several materials used to restore teeth, depending on the restoration needed. Starting with fillings, the historic material of choice was amalgam, a combination of metals (mainly silver and tin) that handle moisture well, but lack esthetics and can cause fracturing of teeth over time. Composite resins used to lack the longevity because, being polymers, would shrink over time causing recurrent decay. However, advances in filler materials and nanoparticles have improved their durability and make for an esthetic option. Glass ionomers are another material that has the capability of preventing decay and creating strong bonds with teeth, but their lack in tensile strength limit their use to non-biting surfaces.

For crown restorations, the material of choice also depends on the restoration. Gold is a very biocompatible option with excellent longevity, but lacks esthetics. Porcelain fused to metal crowns have an inner metal core with outer porcelain, but can have esthetic issues if the metal core is visible or if metal allergies are present. Advances in materials have produced all-porcelain crowns that possess great esthetics and strength in certain cases. These are often used for front teeth or veneers. Zirconia is a type of full-metal crown that is tooth colored and has incredible strength and durability, but because they are not translucent, can sometimes lack the esthetics of all-porcelain crowns, and therefore are often limited to back molars. A great advantage of porcelain or zirconia crowns is, with digital scanning, can be made and delivered that same day in-office.

Whatever restoration you need, it is to your advantage to ask your dentist what material is best for you. Your dentist can help guide you to choose the best restoration that fits your functional and esthetic needs.

Enjoy your holiday season, Merry Christmas, and happy smiling!

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