Category: San Antonio Dentistry

Crowns, why they break

Ever look at that new crown put in less than 5 years ago and see that half of it is missing? This is especially true in the back of the mouth (posterior) where the forces that you bite with can sometimes overcome the strength of the materials used. This is often true of the “full ceramic” crowns, and the new “Zirconia” crowns. In a study presented at the recent American Association of Dental Research it was reported that after just 2 years almost 40% of this type of crown failed usually splitting in half and necessitating complete replacement. It’s generally due to surface cracks that grow (that’s called crack propagation), connect and then the crown fails. The cracks are from the manufacturing of the crown by the lab or when we have to make adjustments before seating the crown in your mouth. In our practice we use a metal re-enforced crown called a PFM (porcelain fused to metal) which helps avoid these cracks and fractures. Any porcelain can crack and fail, but generally PFMs last longer in the back potions of the mouth. We tend to want to use the conservative method, the PFM, in our practice but always want to give options and respect the wishes of our...

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So, How did I get this Broken Tooth?

We get patients from time to time who say, “I was eating breakfast this morning, oatmeal, and suddenly there was something crunchy and half my tooth is missing.  How did that happen?”  Well it is pretty simple.  Teeth are brittle and a property of brittle materials is that they are subject to fracture.  It’s like the windshield of your car.  You get a small nick or crack from a rock, and the crack grows until, if you don’t replace the windshield first, the windshield will break.  This is called crack propagation, or simply the crack grows.  In the mouth we sometimes chew things that crunch and when they do crunch can place a great deal of force on the teeth.  Things like chewing on ice, the un-popped popcorn kernels in the bottom of the bowl, or the last little pea size bit of candy left over when you suck on a jaw breaker or atomic fireball.  When we chew, we compress our food between our teeth and stress builds up and if what we are compressing is exceptionally hard, all the stress built up will release all at once and the teeth will actually slam together.  This will produce sometimes a flaw or crack in the enamel of the tooth, the outside hard material called the crown.  As we chew and force is applied daily, the cusp of the...

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Are All Dentures The Same?

Not all dentures are made the same way.  Many new materials have been developed to make dentures stronger and to make them look better longer.  That’s good for everyone, but for most people, they just want a great fit; they want to be able to eat better.  They want the denture to stay put on their ridges and not wobble around. In our practice, we have taken a page out of the past in many respects.  We do things a little bit different.  Whether like the “immediate” denture described below or one made after healing has been allowed or even for the next pair of dentures made after the old pair has worn out.  It’s how we take impressions.  I am old school.  I use a technique and an impression material that is well over 50 years old.  Well the impression material is not 50 years old, but this impression material was developed first over 50 years ago.  Most dentists will use “stock” trays; they fit anyone!  We use custom trays made from an initial impression.  We use “green stick” compound to develop the boarders of the denture to fit your mouth and only your mouth.  Then we use the special ingredient.   We use the only muco-static impression material ever marketed, zinc oxide paste.  Muco-static is a big word for the material does not displace or move the soft...

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My Blog On All Things Dental

  People have always tended to look to an “expert” to answer their questions.  They just did it much more slowly back in the day.  These days blogs have become the instant fix for everything unknown…big business really. Unfortunately, not everyone on a blog site would qualify as an “expert.”  Reader beware, I guess. So, though I’m not too fond of the term “expert,”  I figured I’d better keep up.  I’d be happy to answer any questions and discuss any issues posed to this site with what little knowledge I’ve acquired over the last 35 years of practice.   You’re welcome to email me at and I’ll do my best to live up to the term “expert.”...

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Wednesday 8am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 2pm
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