How to tell if you need crowns

My dentist wants to replace my silver fillings in #3,4,5 with crowns. How can I tell if that is necessary?

Madeline J. from Wisconsin.


In dental school we are taught a few guidelines that can make a dental crown desirable.  Two of the main ones are: 1. The width of the filling: Once a filling gets to to a certain width it weakens the tooth and makes it prone to fracture. 2. There may be fracture lines showing.  Amalgam (silver) fillings tend to weaken a tooth.

Other than this it is really a judgment call on the part of your dentist. That is why it is so important to have a dentist you feel you can trust. Most dentists are trustworthy, but there are a few out there that use pressure sales tactics or try to rush you into a treatment option. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with the decision you can get a second opinion. Just make sure the second dentist doesn’t know who the first dentist is or what treatment recommendation you were giving. It is always best to get a blind second opinion.

You may also be interested in a Mercury-free dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Gum bump with puss

Below my gum there is a pimple kind of bump with puss in it. What should I do?

Kevin J. from Philadelphia


It sounds like you have a fistula. You may have an abscessed tooth. It is common for people to have a tooth infection without realizing it because the infection is draining in the mouth and there is little or no pain coming from the tooth. Sometimes you’ll have pain upon chewing, a mild ache, or sensitivity to hot/cold temperatures, but not always. I advise you go see your dentist. He can evaluate whether your tooth is infected. If it is, you’ll need antibiotics, a root canal, and a dental crown. At our office we can do one appointment CEREC crowns.

Sometimes you can have an infected tooth that causes a lot of pain. If that happens to you, it is perfectly acceptable to get a same day appointment with an emergency dentist. They’ll be able to get you out of pain right then, but may need to schedule the permanent fix for a later date.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert dentist Dr. Matt Roper.