By Dr. Michael Herndon, DDS
Your teeth are your ivory! While we can replace teeth with dental implants, our teeth are still much more desired, right? I have been surgically placing implants and restoring them for over 35 years yet I still prefer to save teeth whenever possible because a good tooth is better than an implant. While implants are a wonderful replacement for teeth when needed, your teeth are your ivory.
So I will take a moment and regrind the ax once again: If you have teeth that have crowns and the gums around the crowns are puffy, bleed easily, or is redder than the gums around your natural teeth and if the teeth with crowns are sore when you floss then there is a very high probability that the crown itself does not meet the criteria for working well with your gums.
I once read a cartoon book titled “Don’t Eat Anything Larger Than Your Head”. Well, in regards to teeth, “Don’t Put Anything Larger On A Tooth Than What Was Originally There”. The edges of where the crown meets the tooth should be smooth, not big and bulky. Gaps and excessive size can harbor bacteria that negatively affect the surrounding tissues. In addition, and perhaps even more important, don’t put a crown edge below the gum line unless it is done very carefully and for esthetic reasons and never put the edge deeply below the gums for whatever reason. The result of doing this is called Latrogenic Periodontitis, which means the gum inflammation is caused by the dental work.
When we encounter such a condition, the correction often requires surgery, reshaping of the tooth, and a new crown. But this can be prevented by not putting the crown edge below the gum line unless, as stated above, it meets certain specific criteria and never ever put the edge deep into the gums.
Periodontal disease is a serious condition and Latrogenic Periodontitis should be prevented from happening. I’m grinding the ax again because it is so important!