Rx for readers: Broke my tooth

Enamel, the hard outer protective coating of teeth, is the hardest substance in the body but can still break

Dentist  (photo credit: MCT)
(photo credit: MCT)
I am a 35-year-old man and recently fell and broke one of my front upper teeth. How can it be fixed? I am afraid of very expensive treatments, as I am currently unemployed. Do the various options all last the same amount of time? – B.T., Beersheba
Veteran Jerusalem dentist Dr. Steve Sattler replies: I am sorry to hear about your accident.
There are four ways of dealing with this dental problem.
The cheapest option is a composite filling or cover on the tooth. It lasts only about five years.
The second possibility is a porcelain laminate cover glued over the tooth. This is expensive, but it can be done by a dentist.
Technically it is very difficult and could break. That means it is not a good idea for people with a strong bite, which is more common among men.
You can ask your dentist for a porcelain (or similar) crown, with or without root canal work. This is a very practical and reliable solution that lasts for many, many years.
But the downside is that it is expensive.
The final option is to have the tooth extracted and have a skilled implantologist do an implant, and then have a porcelain crown put in place. This is the most expensive, but it is now very fashionable.
It is essential that the dentist discuss the alternatives with the patient, while preparing a treatment plan.
The range of prices is from NIS 320 for the first to NIS 12,000 for the last.
Our 14-year-old daughter is on school vacation and spending a large amount of her time on Facebook. She hardly does anything else day and night. We worry that this social networking is too much and that once she has to go back to school, she will have difficulty waking up for class on time. Is there anything we can do now to help her? – S.J.D., Ramat Gan
 Dr. Ribi Tauman of the Child Sleep Disorder Center at Dana Children’s Hospital at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center comments:
The summer is a time of many changes in routine and sleep patterns for children. Kids in kindergarten and elementary school find their place in organized frameworks besides school and are usually supervised, but teens in intermediate and high school often find themselves without any framework for two months. The lack of a daily routine is the main risk factor for sleep problems in youngsters, especially teens, who are the main sufferers in this period.
Adolescents also suffer from physiological changes in the structure of their bodies and in their sleep patterns even without the influence of the school holiday. At this age, there is also a gradual reduction in the number of hours they sleep and postponement of going to sleep and waking up.
Even though studies show that teens need nine to 10 hours’ sleep, recent research discovered that 27 percent of this age group gets less than six and a half hours, and only 15% of adolescents sleep over 8.5 hours per night or more.
While physiological changes are involved, psychosocial and behavioral influences are apparently much more influential.
During the summer vacation, when teens are usually home more, they get more sleep – but at the wrong hours. This conflicts with the activity of the brain’s biological clock, which supervises sleep and wakefulness cycles and is influenced by hormones.
Darkness and even eating times give hints to the biological clock on when to be awake and when to sleep.
Regular sleep schedules as during the school year prevent major diversions from sleep times, but summer schedules can cause major disruptions.
Playing computer games and being on computerized social networks before going to sleep and can complicate matters. In some cases, prescription medications may be needed to get disrupted sleep cycles back into whack.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or e-mail it to [email protected], giving your initials, age and place of residence.