Friday, January 29, 2010

Hi-tech crown

Technology has made the dentist's office an interesting place to hang out. Well, I can think of other places I'd rather be, but as long as you have to be there . . .

Today I had to have a crown put on to replace the inlay that fell out again and broke off a bit of tooth on the way out. You might recall my initial visit to the dentist.

In the photo above is the computer imagery of the designed crown. The dentist took infrared photos of what was left of my tooth (which involved much internal swearing on his part no doubt; "patient" does not describe my attitude in the dentist chair), then manipulated the image with Sirona software. It's a magical process.

His thoughtful assistant showed me how the image becomes a real-life bit of enamel to put in my mouth.

The raw material is composed of different sizes and colors of enamel, to [hopefully] match the other teeth in your mouth.

The perfect piece is placed in a machine (below, right) that carves the enamel to the computer specifications.

The result is a tiny purple piece of tooth; the minuscule handle (left side) facilitates handling of this wee thing.

The enamel is painted much like pottery, with a dab placed in the middle groove to make the crown look more tooth-like. Here the dentist (left) looks on.

The crown is placed in a miniature kiln.

After about 20 minutes, it is finished but still hot. So it is placed on another, cooler surface (here, a mug) to await placement in the mouth.

Within 2 hours of arriving at the dentist's office, I was driving off with a functional tooth. Amazing.

And thus this is another reminder to take care of your teeth so you can enjoy Montana's bounty. If you need a dentist in south central Montana, I can recommend a good one.


  1. Mary I had no idea you were running two blogs!! How in the world do you do it?


  2. I'm actually trying to consolidate both into one project. You've caught me at an awkward transition time when I'm not really giving my all to either one, so I appreciate your patient and loyal support!

  3. Caramel tea cookies, here she comes!