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My Dental Work Lasts Forever, Right?!

No, unfortunately, that is not the case. At Gregorich Family Dental and Dental Implant Center, Duluth MN we strive to do the best dental work possible, but even when done perfectly, it usually has a limited life span.

It is a common misconception that a crown, bridge, or filling lasts forever. When we consider the environment we ask dental restorations to perform in, it’s no wonder they don’t. The oral environment is incredibly harsh. Temperatures hold steady just below 100 degrees but can fluctuate routinely to temperatures just below boiling to just above freezing! That means that in any given short time span temperatures can fluctuate 170 degrees! Any material used for a dental restoration faces a challenge to withstand sudden and frequent temperature fluctuations. In addition to extreme temperature changes, a large amount of physical forces are generated in the mouth, specifically on the teeth and the restorations within.

When a dental restoration is placed there always exists a space between the restorative material and the natural tooth. This junction is called the microgap, or margin of the restoration. At the point of restoration placement this space should be as small as possible, and is typically only visible under intense magnification. Under the normal stresses of function and existence in the oral environment, this gap gets larger over time. After a certain point, the gap becomes large enough to allow bacteria into the space. Once this occurs, the gap degradation process speeds up.

Obstacles to longevity of dental restorations are typically structural. These structural issues are a result of damage caused by either microbes or physical stress. At Gregorich Family Dental and Dental Implant Center, Duluth MN  we educate our patients to ensure the work they have and have done lasts as long as possible.

Microbe related degradation occurs the same way on a restoration margin as it does on a natural tooth. Microbes (bacteria) inhabit the surface of a tooth or a restoration margin in plaque. As they exist in plaque, they produce acid as a byproduct of their metabolism. This acid is extremely effective at breaking down tooth structure. As the tooth structure disappears, the bacterial colony invades deeper into the tooth.

Physical stress also contributes to restoration’s longevity. A patient whose diet contains foods difficult to chew will obviously stress their teeth, as well as any restorations within, more than a patient whose diet contains mainly soft foods. Whether it’s brakes on a car, a pair of shoes, or virtually anything else, the more physical stress something is subject to, the shorter its lifespan becomes.

At Gregorich Family Dental and Dental Implant Center, Duluth MN, we focus on providing exceptional care. The work we perform will be to the highest degree of quality possible. Combined with patient education, we expect dental work done at our office to last a long time, even if it is not forever!