Hi, I'm Dr. Janet Glenn. Just like many of my patients, I had a mouth full of amalgam (silver/mercury) fillings. I grew up in the 60's and didn't have fluoride in our drinking water and ended up with lots of cavities that were filled with silver. Over time, these big fillings began to deteriorate and the tooth around the fillings began to crack. When I graduated from dental school in 1985, the only option to fix the cracks was with a crown that cut away good tooth structure along with the bad cracked part. I, along with many other dentists felt terrible about cutting good tooth away for a crown, but leaving the crack often lead to the crack getting deeper. Then, the tooth ends up needing a root canal (which I have several.) Or worse than that, the tooth can completely split in half (thankfully, this didn't happen to me.)
Back in the mid 90's, improvements to dental materials made it possible to reliably bond porcelain to teeth. This technology allows dentists to cover the chewing surface of teeth with a strong material that will hold a tooth together. Finally, I had a way to fix cracked teeth without cutting away the healthy part. Now, I could make onlays and crowns that look great and conserve as much good tooth structure as possible.
This was the way that I wanted my own teeth fixed, so this was what I started offering for my patients as well. In 1999, I went to California to have all of my old silver fillings and cracked teeth repaired with all porcelain restorations. It took two visits. One visit for all the preps (on 10 teeth), and one visit for the final seating. During the month between my visits, I wore temporaries made of plastic that came off occasionally and I would re-glue them with temporary cement. I have been very happy with my 10 porcelain restorations. Over the years, I broke one of them by eating something that was too hard and had a new one made. And on another one, a small piece of porcelain chipped, but I was able to have it smoothed.
From 1999 to 2008, I restored many teeth, conserving as much natural enamel as possible. My patients had to put up with temporaries that had a big tendency to come off (just like mine did), because conserving tooth structure means that there is not much mechanical retention for the temporaries. But it was worth it to keep more natural tooth, and at the same time put a covering on the tooth that would help keep it from cracking deeper.
Then, in September 2008, I invested in CAD/CAM technology. This system let me continue to restore teeth the same way that I believed in AND to do it in one visit. Incidentally, in 2009, I had another tooth that needed a porcelain restoration. I was thrilled to get my new restoration made by my associate with our CAD/CAM system in my office, and I did not have to wear a temporary.
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