Fillings Crowns and Dentures

Questions about tooth repair or replacement in the specific areas of dentures, fillings, and crowns.

2,796 Questions

What were George Washington's false teeth made from?

Washington wore many partial and full dentures over the course of his life, but contrary to popular belief, none were made out of wood. Instead, they were made from ivory, lead-tin alloy, copper alloy, silver alloy, real human teeth, and probably cow and horse teeth, too.

Dentures made of wood weren't common in his time, and although his false teeth were very uncomfortable, they were also fairly advanced for the late 18th century. The wooden teeth myth probably stems from the fact that as the ivory dentures were used and stained, they developed a grainy look, possibly being mistaken for wood.

Unfortunately, the real human teeth he used were likely purchased from slaves, and they didn’t really have the option to refuse the purchase.

Does any dental insurance cover implants?

More frequently than not, dental insurance per se is not an indemnity policy; in that sense it differs from a major medical policy in the way that it functions. Instead, it pays a fixed sum for stated services by a dentist who participates in its plan.

However, in situations where, for example, reconstructive surgery is medically necessary due to an occurrence, and implants are a part of the reconstruction, a major medical policy may pay for the implants. Naturally, any payment would be subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, including deductibles and copayments.

How do you know if you really have cavities?

Cavities can be categorized in three stages.

  1. Affecting only the enamel. this is usually a small dark spec in the tooth that cannot be brushed away. Normally there is no pain involved. A small filling is normally sufficient. Do not use silver mercury fillings.
  2. The next stage, is a cavity into the dentin of the tooth. This is the second. This layer is much less resistant and can deteriorate more rapidly. At this stage pain is minimal but effected by things that are hot cold or sweet. An x-ray may be needed to determine the depth of the cavity. Normally a desensitizer may be put before restoring with a filling. Or a zinc oxide compound may be placed for about a week then removed and then filled. This will depend on the depth of the cavity.
  3. The last is a perforation of the final layer the Pulpa. This is the nerve center of your tooth. It also contains the blood vessels of the tooth. Once this area is effected the pain can be unbearable. The continuing progression of this situation will result in an infection of the tooth, destroying bone tissue. and causing unbearable pain. At this point you should see a dentist as soon as possible. The dentist may opt to give you medication for the pain as well as an antibiotic for a few days before rehabilitation. The reason for this is that the anesthetic does not work as well when a large infection is present. Draining of the infection is sometimes necessary to quicken the healing process and relieve the pain. This can be done in two ways. Where there is an abscess visible, puncturing the abscess and draining it. Or by doing what is call an access. The cavity is removed the root, or roots are located and filled with a medication to irradiate the infection from the inside of the tooth. The infection can be drained and treated from there.This is part of a root canal procedure. You will need to return to finish the procedure when the infection is minimized.

The other option, and we don't recommend it, is to extract it. This tooth can be used like an implant. But its better because it belongs to you. Save them when ever possible. We charge up to $1,400 dls. here in Mexico, for an implant. And it can take up to 6 months to install. Apposed to $435 for a root canal, post, and crown.

The location of the cavity is important as well. There is more tooth surface on the crown of the tooth. The layers are much thinner, on the sides and base of the tooth. These areas can become exposed when the gums recede. This can happen if you don't go for yearly cleanings, improper hygiene and or, improper brushing.

Preventative measures can be taken. A thin layer of resins such as the ones they use to do fillings, can be placed in the groves and valleys of your tooth to give them an extra layer of protection.

Avoid root canals. Teeth without roots are not living teeth any longer.

So I go to the dentist yesterday and find out I have a cavity. They showed me the x-ray which there was nothing there. So the dental hygienist said I can see it in the back. I was not so sure I saw anything. I have never had anything wrong with my teeth before and they are not hurting, so do I have the "cavity" filled? I think I am going to go to Walgreen's and get a dentist mirror and explorer. He showed me that the explorer stuck a little when he pushed really hard down. I am not convinced that the explorer sticking proves I have a cavity. That instrument could stick anywhere pushing that hard down. I do not want to pay for it and my last dentist told me that because I had not had a cavity up until now (age 25) that I was not likely to ever have one. To fill or not fill, to pay or not to pay, to suffer or not to suffer....that is the question. I guess its only $50 with my insurance, but I do not want a drill or filler in my tooth.

Follow up: So I went to my girlfriend and got a flashlight and asked her to look for my cavity. Sure enough there it was. I was a little shocked but with some effort I saw it too. A black hole in the very back tooth. So I decided to go back and get it filled, which I am glad I did. It cost me $58 with Blue Cross Blue Shield, but I live in Mississippi and that is probably on the low end compared to other states. I recommend you looking for your own cavities. It is really really obvious...there it was. Now it is white and smooth, and compared to my work day, the dentist meeting was actually not stressful at all. Expect a little numbing medicine and occasional drooling for a day.

I'm 25, and I've had one cavity in my life and had to have it filled...but I KNEW I had that cavity. All of a sudden I change dentists, and he says I have a cavity and I need to get it filled. I have no pain in the tooth, no discomfort, and don't see any "holes"...I don't even know which tooth supposedly has the cavity, although he said something about #18.

When you add to that the fact that my regularly scheduled cleaning was $99 when I made the appointment and then when I checked out they charged me $149, saying that his "prices went up", it makes me wonder:

Do I really have a cavity? Or are they trying to squeeze more money out of me? What can I do to be sure I'm not wasting money?

The only way you'll ever know is by waiting until it bothers you. Until then I'll never let another dentist drill another hole in my mouth. Despite brushing my teeth regularly when i was a child - i had many filling put in - those lovely dark mercury ones. Now I'm spending alot of time and money having them replaced b/c they are staining my teeth a bluish tinge. (The metal actually leeches into your teeth over time). My new dentist couldn't believe the state of the work i had done and said that if there had been another dentist watching over my previous dentist this kind of work would never have been done on my teeth. Great eh?! so i suggest - sure have your teeth cleaned but don't have unnecessary work done unless something is bothering YOU. And of course take good care of your teeth.

I am a dentist. An honest (and therefore poor) dentist.

The honest dentist (The proud, the few) only places fillings in the next three circumstances:

There is a visible hole in the enamel. There is a hole in the enamel that can be noted with a dental probe. In a bite-wing dental film, there is a black hole in the inter-proximal surface of the teeth.

I also will give you a piece of advice: Buy Jay W. Friedman's "Complete Guide to Dental Health". I do not agree 100% with this man's views, but this book is an excellent consumer-focused guide to the dark side on the dental business.

I've been in dentistry for 20 years. You can wait until you have pain so bad you want to rip your head off of your neck. Then you will need a root canal & crown to fix the tooth which costs thousands of dollars. Or you can have the tooth extracted & think your problems are all over. In reality, pulling a tooth is equal to cutting off a finger or toe; you can live without it but why would you choose to do so when you can save it??? Once you have that tooth pulled it's like a fence without all of its pickets; it starts to undermine the integrity of the whole system. So then you have to think about replacing the missing tooth and that also runs into thousands of dollars.

Or you can trust a trained dental professional who happened to get into dentistry to help people. Sure, there are some dentists who got into the profession for the money, but like other professions, an educated consumer (one who asks questions & takes part in their own health with the help of a professional)can tell an honest dentist from a greedy one.

Ask your teachers, postman, banker, mechanic--people you trust for referrals to a good dentist in your area. Check with the state dental board in your area for any complaints against the dentist you are "interviewing." But most of all if your dentist says "you have a small cavity," by all means, have that cavity filled before it becomes large.

Okay, I went to the dentist today and I think the guy was being shady. I am 26 years old, never had a single cavity, never had a thing wrong in my mouth, my mother is 55 and has never had a cavity., 30 year old brother also has perfect teeth. I take farily good care of my teeth and went in for a cleaning and routine checkup. So the guy does my X-rays, and he keeps them back in a little corner where I can't see them. He tells me that I have 5 cavities and 4 more developing!!! All are supposedly in between my teeth. So I crane my neck around and ask him to show me and he says I won't be able to see them with a naked eye. My dentists have always showed me my x-rays in the past--they're usually right in front of you. Then I find out it's going to cost me $100 a tooth!

A friend of mine had the same thing happen with this dentist. She had never had cavities before then went to him and he tells her she's got 6. I was a little suspect already.

How can I go from having perfect teeth for 26 years to 9 cavities? I don't believe it. I'm getting a second opinion.

A small hole in the tooth can actually heal itself using our saliva (from the calcium and phosphate it contains). It is similar to the way bones can heal themselves. Some people who have very good saliva don't even need to brush their teeth at all (about 1 in 100)and they still don't get cavities. If you have weak enamel, go to Sillyscarlet on eBay and look at the tooth gel. It contains the same minerals as our saliva in a more concentrated form. After a few days of using it you will find that your teeth look whiter and feel glossier. If they are glossy you know you don't have any pending cavities.

Re: teeth healing themselves.... your enamel (the outer coating of your teeth) cannot repair itself at all with or without saliva. Your saliva CAN remineralize your enamel but it can NEVER repair a cavity. The ONLY way a cavity can be "healed" is by going to your dentist and getting it filled before it gets too big and have to shell out even more $$$!!!

See Related LinksSee the Related Links for "Cavities (Tooth Decay)" to the bottom for the answer.

Can you brush your dentures with toothpaste?

You could, however it is not recommended. Toothpastes normally have abrasives added Into the formula to scrub the stains off your teeth. They work great for teeth, however dentures are made of acrylic - basically plastic. Acrylic is much softer than tooth, and over time toothpaste will scratch up your denture and make it lose it's glossy polish. It is better to scrub your denture with a soft denture brush and dish detergent to remove plaque and food debris, rinse well with water, and then soak in an effervescent denture cleaner over night to kill germs.

Where in Canada can you buy ezo denture liners?

Apparently no where i have driven miles looking, not to be found. I have used them for 30 years, there is nothing on the market that even comes close.

Theories of impression making in complete denture?

I would suggest going to and click on the subtitle "Basic Principals in Impression Taking" you will probably learn more there than any place else on the Internet you could find yourself.

Are dentures better than a mouth full of crowns?

As a general rule it is always better to keep as many natural teeth as possible. Crowns are a great way to protect the remaining structure of a faulty tooth. Bridges can be constructed to fill in the area where teeth had been lost. The benefits of a bridge is that all of the occlusal (biting) forces are placed on the natural teeth. Therefore there is no pressure compressing on the gums like you experience with a denture. The downside however a bridge is the area underneath the bridge where the bone is shrinking down will get bigger and bigger eventually causing a lot of strain on the bridge. This on top of the food build up commonly seen in old bridges will cause the bridge to fail (break). Likewise if a natural tooth used to support the bridge happens to break under strain the entire bridge will need to be replaced.

The Dentures on the other hand are more adaptable as they are removable so that it is easier to clean. They are also easy to fill in the void areas that are formed by the bone shrinkage. The downside to dentures of course are the pressure on the gums when chewing which can limit the amount of chewing force and therefore ability to chew

harder foods. Dentures also have a tendency to move around in the mouth particularly a lower denture that is replacing all of the dentition in the bottom.

All in all neither is better or worse you must first become informed about the benefits and faults then weigh that with the cost against your personal expectation and lifestyle.



I have crowns, three fixed bridges and had (until recently) a partial plate. My teeth have always been very poorly constructed. Although I brush and floss regularly, they fracture from tip to root easily. My crowns have all been replaced several times. Recently, the anchoring tooth for my partial fractured and had to be removed. In the dentist's office, they had to fix my partial to the roof of my mouth for x-rays, so they used a fix-i-dent product. I decided that I would never be able to tolerate that stuff, so getting dentures will be my last resort. Try some of that stuff in your mouth before you get all your teeth pulled. By the way, dentures are not without problems. They shift, click and can be irritating to your gums, even if they are good quality. If you are as vain as I am, you would rather do anything than be seen without your "teeth in."

Here are more opinions and answers from other FAQ Farmers: * Given many individuals' dental woes despite good hygiene, I propound lead poisoning (plumbous ions, Pb+2) as a probable cause of poorly constructed teeth which fracture or decay easily. I refer you to the page on a "Third Set of Teeth", a naturally ugly set of real teeth rather than implants or dentures designed to look good. The diagnosis and treatment of lead poisoning requires a blood lead test and is beyond dentists. On the other hand, physicians may lack access to dental X-ray records which could show roots grown long into the nose or the later resulting third set of teeth, whose most likely function is to store lead(II) ions which would otherwise cause acute lead encephalopathy (narcolepsy?) or death from lead poisoning. If a lead poisoned patient has selected extractions over crowns, any teeth from the third set with room may grow and erupt. They will be quite different in shape, size, and function. * I have had dental problems with my upper teeth since I was 13. I have spent over 8,000 on repairs. I have had 1 root canal but the crown burst within 1 year and the tooth had to be pulled. I got so tired of the toothachs and pain that I had all my top teeth pulled yestarday and a denture put in place. So far eveyone stares and keeps saying I have a great smile. My husband can't stop staring. It does hurt right now and they told me it will for the next month or so, also I am having a difficult time getting use to the feel of them in my mouth and to speak with them (I sound like I have a large wad of gum in my mouth). So far I'm happy and glad I did it. I know it will be painful at times but I'd rather that then haveing a constant toothach. * Dentures are never better. I recently learned that your jaw bone starts disentegrating when there are no natural teeth in it. This means that if some or all of your teeth are missing and you wear a partial or full denture - your jaw bone, both upper and lower, will start receding. This is why dentures end up having to be replaced periodically, because they don't fit right. Your jaw bone can end up being almost non-existant, with no "ridge" on which a partial or denture can sit. The only way to stop bone loss if you're missing teeth is to get implants - which are very expensive. So, keep your own teeth in your head with the help of root canals and crowns for just as long as you can. * Last comment is absolutely right. Even at a young age, people with dentures develop a receeding jaw line and those sad vertical wrinkles at corners of mouth that are typical for old age. The bone mass quickly disappears unless you take dentures out and massage the gums. Also, the dentures come with artificial gum to prevent food from getting trapped at the real gum line. I don`t have dentures but I can imagine it feels like having an octopus in your mouth all day... I actually have crooked teeth with a few not too obvious fillings. Over the years people told me how much they liked to see "natural teeth". So I decided to keep my crooked appearance over a receeding face with pearly fake whites. * I had no choice but to go the denture route. I was in a serious motorcycle accident and ricocheted off the hood of a pickup truck face first. Beyond dentures I also had to have part of my jaw repaired. I can say this, from the day of the accident until the day after the surgery to remove my teeth , I was unable to smile, show much emotion, talk clearly to people, look people in the eye, or enjoy my life… Did it hurt, every day until 1 month after the surgery? I was on pain pills for 4 years. Luckily, I switched pain medication often enough to not become addicted. The first day that I went without my pain pills was a great day. I was actually awake and aware, my face didn't hurt, and I wore a real, healthy looking, brilliant smile. I am worried about my jaw receding and keeping the stupid things in my face, as I do a lot of public speaking, but for the last year, I can say that I am quite willing to deal with the consequences now that I have my life back. At 34 years old, I wouldn't have imagined being in this position, but there are worse things. Oh, and by the way, the truck looked worse than I did. Crowns are used to replace the structure on an existing tooth where as a denture is used to replace the area where a natural tooth used to be. Therefore a more appropriate questions is "Dentures vs Bridges"

Why are my teeth so weak and keep breaking?

If you are under the age of 30 or 25 and your teeth are breaking thats quite odd, unless you have a disease or your really don't brush or care for them. It really depends on how old you really are. You can go to the dentist and they will give you medication or if it is a simple problem then you can just drink high calcium fluids/food and that should decrease the factor of breaking your teeth.

Bone problems and dentures?

dear linda i have the same problem and i am also 49 years old i can t believe that i am not the only one i am having a nervous breakdown over this problem i am going to see a prosthodonist in two months to see wath my other options are i already went to see an oral maxofacial surgeon and was told that i need bone grafthing due to bone lost and should do implants but its a major operation and really have no choices if i want to bea able to eat and things are only going to get worse if i don t do anything about it we have no choice please write to me back i would like to share my opinion with yu later jocelyne test

What do you do about a hole in a tooth?

You will need to be more specific to get a better answer, but most likely you'll have to have a dentist put a filling put in the tooth. What is the hole from? Where is the hole in the tooth? How long have you had it? Any more details you can add will be very helpful in answering your question better. More opinions from FAQ Farmers: * I have two holes in the back of my front teeth!. I am 17 years of age. I was really worried if I would lose the teeth as I am getting orthodontic treatment and still am. I couldn't understand the Orthodontist never said you must go and get them filled. So I went to my normal dentist; he said that they are just knocks off the enamel of my teeth. What a relief. He thought that my retainer had caused the loss of enamel, which i could understand. If you are worried you should see a dentist. He/she will tell you. Hope you don't need fillings. * You should get them pulled. Holes in teeth are a sign of tooth decay which can later on result in an infection. * I would recommend visiting the dentist to make sure it isn't decay, and if it s isn't, a cosmetic dentist to cover it up with porcelain veneers.

Is numbness a side effect of dental implants?

No, residual numbness after dental implant surgery is due to nerve damage - either bruising, swelling or accidental severing during either tooth removal or the implant surgery.

This effect may be temporary or it may be permanent, depending on the amount of damage to the nerve - Swelling near the nerve may take months to completely subside, if this is the cause you should see a gradual improvement.

How much do ordinary dentures cost?

The high end models of dentures will cost you anywhere between $1000 to 5000. You might wonder that this is quite a bit of money; however, what you get in return is worth the investment.

Does dental insurance cover a complete set of dentures?

It depends on the insurance. Your dentists office can call and check on it for you. Or when you sign up for it ask if it does. Most common insurance coverage for dentures is at least 50%. I believe that it should although all may not but i know a plan that would cover all preexisting conditions as well as dentures.

Are human teeth hollow?

No, because when you chip a tooth there is no hollow compartment in the tooth.

Where can you find help if disabled and need help paying for dentures?

Apply for medicaid and when applying ask about any programs in your area that may also assist with dental coverage.

What are the potential negative reactions one could have to acrylic dentures?

Dentures are generally made from 3 parts PMMA (polymethylmethacrolate) powder to 1 part MMA (methylmethacrolate) monomer or liquid. It is mixed into a dough like state where it is then packed into a split flask lost wax technique process. it is then processed in a water bath at 73C for nine hours and afterwards it is finished and polished and presented to a patient. In this particular method it is relatively unheard of to have an allergic reaction to the denture. But not impossible. Some people will still have a reaction to any free monomer that maybe left in the denture after processing. Which may present itself as the "burning mouth syndrome" or a reddening of the tissue that is in contact with the denture.

However this also may be because there are some alternative methods of processing dentures that are shorter and quicker but leave much more residual monomer for the patient to deal with after such methods of processing.

This is basic information that will be made available to the patient through the licensed dental practitioner should the patient know enough to ask. There in also lies a problem. Most people will not question a person with a Doctor in front of the name. Put as in anything that you purchase now-a-days and educated consumer is the best defense against inferior quality in a product, any product.

I DON'T KNOW. I'VE NEVER HAD THAT BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!