Poudre Valley Family Dental
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  • “So glad that my husband and I have Dr. Gray and his staff for our dental care. We have been under Dr. Gray's care for minor and not-so-minor procedures for the past 2 years and have been very happy with the excellent, up-to-date dentistry and compassionate care. Dr. Gray's friendly and efficient office staff and dental assistants contribute to our confidence in what has been outstanding dental care.” - A

  • “Wonderful office and great experience! Everyone was so nice and knowledgeable and explained everything! Exactly what I was Looking for in a dentist!!” - A

  • “Always a pleasure to visit Dr. Gray's office. Cleanings are thorough and comfortable and the staff is friendly and professional. Desired appointments are easy to obtain and kept on time.” - D

  • “Poudre Valley Family Dental Rocks. They are always personable and friendly. The staff all call me by name when I walk in the door and they ask me about my family and work. I never feel rushed out the door, and yet they are always prompt and timely. It's like visiting with friends every 6 months. I highly recommend making these guys your dental team!” - E

Is Your Bite Cracking Your Teeth?

April 26, 2018
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Posted By: Richard Gray, DDS

This patient presented with persistent pain her previous dentist was unable to diagnose.

Looking at the contact points between the upper and lower teeth, it was apparent that there were non- ideal forces on the bottom back tooth. In addition, the tooth in front of it had a very large metal filling with signs of leaking.

Close up of tooth | Dentist Fort Collins CO

When both molars were tested for cracks, the very back tooth showed symptoms consistent with a significant crack, which indicated that the very back tooth was most likely the one causing the patient’s pain. In cases like this, the cracks are rarely due to one catastrophic or traumatic event, but rather due to non-ideal or excessive forces placed on the tooth numerous times over the course of years. These non-ideal or excessive forces can be generated by an imperfect bite and-or by clenching and grinding.

Treatment Options

Dr. Gray discussed treatment options and possible outcomes with the patient and she decided to place crowns on both teeth. When the cracked tooth was prepared for a crown, the crack at the back side of the tooth was still visible. Sometimes it is not possible to remove all the cracked tooth structure as part of a crown preparation.

Tooth before crown | Dentist Fort Collins CO

Following placement of the temporary crowns, the patient experienced complete relief from her symptoms. This gave us a high degree of confidence that we had provided the correct treatment and that the problem was not related to infection or nerve irritation. It also gave us confidence that the crack in the tooth was small enough so that placement of a crown could effectively hold the tooth together.

Once a tooth becomes symptomatic (hurts) due to a crack, the long-term prognosis becomes guarded. For this reason, we prefer to treat cracked teeth before they become painful and before they break. When a tooth breaks, it may break in a way we can repair, or it may break in such a way that it cannot be repaired.

This patient will probably enjoy a pain-free tooth for many years to come, but eventually, the cracked tooth structure under the crown may still propagate (albeit slowly) and cause problems sometime in the future.

Additional damage to these teeth, and the other teeth in the mouth, can be reduced by an analysis of the bite and slight reshaping of the teeth to reduce or eliminate non-ideal contact points and forces.

The good news, in this case, is that we’ve bought the patient time with conservative and effective treatment. Typically, the last resort for restoring a tooth is an extraction and implant, and the longer we can delay implant treatment, the better.

Before and after of teeth with white fillings | Dentist Fort Collins CO

 

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