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Our teeth can become damaged in so many ways. Cavities, injuries, age, and habits such teeth grinding, also called bruxism, all can take a toll. If you’ve seen a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on your tooth, a discolored tooth, or receding gums, our dentist in Altamonte Springs can diagnose what’s wrong so you can get your healthy smile back.
Not all tooth damage is visible. You might have felt a wiggly tooth. Maybe some of your teeth are now sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or drinks. That could mean the enamel covering the nerves in those teeth might be receding, cracked, or compromised because of dental decay. Perhaps you’ve felt a sharp pain in your mouth when you bite – one sure sign of a cracked tooth.
Such symptoms need attention. They might seem like small inconveniences, but tooth problems that aren’t identified and repaired only worsen. For instance, tooth decay that’s ignored can lead to infection in other parts of the body – it’s bacteria, after all. Severely decayed or damaged teeth often need to be extracted, which can affect your self-esteem as well as how you speak and the kinds of foods you can eat. Missing teeth also can cause your surrounding teeth to shift out of position, which affects your bite and triggers other problems.
Fortunately, our dentists in Altamonte Springs, FL, can address all of these issues and help restore your smile again.
As we keep our natural teeth longer, we become more prone to cavities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta notes that more than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity and that 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities.
Aside from signaling tooth decay, painful cavities make it tough to sleep, eat, or concentrate. The good news is, a dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to repair tooth decay.
The days of drilling away healthy tooth structure to fit a silver-colored filling are over. Our dentist in Altamonte Springs uses composite fillings, made of a tooth-colored material that requires the dentist to remove only the decayed area. Composite fillings look natural and are highly durable. What’s more, they chemically bond to your tooth, making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings treat decay that affects just a small part of a tooth. If you have a large amount of decay or a tooth that’s so damaged that there’s not enough healthy enamel to attach a filling, the dentist likely will recommend a crown.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. Custom made from dental porcelain, it completely covers the tooth down to the gums, matching the color, translucency, shape, and feel of your other teeth. Best of all, it strengthens the underlying tooth, restoring its function, so you can eat foods again that might have been problematic.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, our dentist must prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown. Either the dentist will remove some tooth enamel (at least 2 mm) or build up the remaining natural tooth material to support the crown.
Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist will create a mold of your tooth to send to the dental lab. Then the dentist will attach a temporary crown to your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready to adhere in place at your next appointment.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Fillings and crowns fix problems in damaged teeth. But if your tooth must be extracted, or if you already have a space in your smile because of a missing tooth, restore your smile’s beauty and function might require a dental bridge.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is similar to a partial denture in that it replaces missing teeth, but it’s fixed in the mouth. A bridge includes two crowns that fit over healthy teeth on either side of a gap in your bite. These crowns then attach to an artificial tooth called a pontic that fills in for the missing tooth. Made of the same dental porcelain as a crown, a pontic blends in with the rest of your teeth.
Bridges come in varying lengths, depending on your needs. If you have one missing tooth, a three-unit bridge (two crowns and one pontic) can fill the gap and restore your bite. Two missing teeth need a four-unit bridge consisting of two crowns supporting two pontics.
If you have additional questions about fillings, crowns, or dental bridges, call our office in Altamonte Springs today at (407) 278-1210 to schedule an appointment. We’re glad to assist you.