Straight Teeth Talk: How do crowns work?

By Mac Lee
Oct. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.

Large filling, broken, decayed and packing food.

Large filling, broken, decayed and packing food.

This month's topic is about one single dental service: saving a tooth with a crown.

The hostile mouth

Teeth live in hostile territory. They are subject to acid, bacteria attack, physical forces and all kinds of nasty things.

Not only is PSI (pounds per square inch) a measurement for your car tires, it is also a measurement for the forces applied to back teeth. The normal PSI biting pressure for an adult is around 250 but it can get up to 900 in some individuals, especially in REM sleep.

Small fillings in small holes in teeth are fantastic. Very large fillings can create future problems because they can't take the pressure. If too much air is placed in a tire, there will be a big blowout; and the weaker the tire, the bigger it will be. Teeth with big fillings do the same.

Crowns versus fillings

Small fillings are like nail holes in tires which are easily plugged. The old, large, red patches I used to see on old tires as a kid just didn't cut it for long-term use. There comes a time when new tires are needed, and it is essential that those new tires be balanced so the forces are even.

Crowns make the tooth new and strong again. They fit over the tooth and hold the tooth together in a very natural way.

It is always a good idea to ask your dentist which dental procedure they would have in their mouth.

Dr. Mac Lee practices in Edna. He is a international speaker to dentists and is an adviser to Dr. Mehmet Oz. To learn more, visit or call 361-782-7191.



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