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Sometimes problems with our teeth are painfully visible: an entire tooth that’s discolored, or a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth. Other times, they’re just painful: a tooth that is sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages, or a sharp pain in your mouth when you bite.
Habits such tooth grinding, cavities, accidents, and aging all can damage our teeth. If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, you’re likely in need of a filling because of tooth decay. Second only to the common cold, tooth decay is one of the most common of all diseases – and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If such tooth problems are not identified and fixed, your tooth might have to be extracted. This causes not only an aesthetic issue with a hole in your smile but impacts how you speak and what you eat. Such gaps also can make your surrounding teeth shift out of position, causing more problems.
The good news is, our dentists in Bonita Springs, FL, have several solutions to address these issues and help restore your healthy smile.
You might have thought that you left cavities behind you when you entered adulthood. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta notes that more than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity, and 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities.
Left untreated, cavities can cause pain that hurts our ability to eat, sleep, and concentrate – and that’s just for starters. One quarter of adults over age sixty have lost all their teeth primarily because of decay. This affects not only self-esteem but contributes to poor nutrition.
Even though people dread treating a cavity, a dental filling is an easy, cost-effective way to repair a tooth that’s been damaged by decay.
If your tooth has a cavity or if you have an old filling that needs to be replaced, our dentist in Bonita Springs doesn’t have to drill as much as you might think. The dentist will remove the decayed or affected area and fill it with a composite filling, made from tooth-colored material. These types of fillings don’t require the dentist to drill away healthy tooth structure to make room for the filling, as amalgam (silver-looking) fillings did. Rather, they chemically bond to your tooth, stabilizing it and strengthening it.
What Is a Tooth Crown
Fillings are used when decay affects a small part of your tooth. If tooth decay hasn’t left enough healthy enamel to attach a filling, or if your tooth is cracked, the dentist likely will recommend a crown.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. A crown completely covers the tooth down to the gums and is custom made from dental porcelain that matches the shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. Once in place, it reestablishes a damaged tooth’s function as well as its appearance. It’s as comfortable as it is durable.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, the dentist must prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown. If you have little natural tooth left, the dentist will use build up the core with filling material to support the crown. Otherwise, some natural tooth enamel (at least 2 mm) will need to be removed.
Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression of it to send to the dental lab for your custom crown. Before you leave, the dentist will attach a temporary crown to your tooth to protect it until your permanent crown is ready at next appointment, when it will be adhered in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Fillings and crowns repair and restore decayed and damaged teeth. But what if your tooth needs to be removed, or is already missing and now affecting your bite? A dental bridge can replace a missing tooth, closing a gap in your smile and reestablishing your teeth’s function.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
Like a partial denture, a dental bridge replaces missing teeth. But unlike a partial denture, which is removable, a dental bridge is fixed permanently in your mouth. A bridge is designed from two crowns that fit over healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth and support an artificial tooth called a pontic. Crafted from the same dental porcelain as the crowns, the pontic blends in naturally with your other teeth.
Depending on your needs, bridges can be made in varying lengths. One missing tooth can be replaced by a three-unit bridge composed of two crowns and one pontic, for instance. Two missing teeth might need a four-unit bridge made of two crowns supporting two pontics.
If you have additional questions about dental bridges or crowns, call us today at (239) 494-4720. Our office in Bonita Springs is glad to help schedule an appointment.