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Some of us expect our teeth might grow a little dingy as we age, but not all tooth discoloration occurs just from the passage of time. Tooth decay is one of the most common of all diseases, second only to the common cold, and one symptom is a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth. Sometimes an entire tooth can become discolored from decay.
Decay, or cavities, also announces itself through pain. If you have a tooth that is sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet food or drinks, decay might have cracked or compromised your tooth’s outer enamel, exposing the nerves in your teeth. A sure sign of a damaged, cracked, or severely decayed tooth is a sudden, sharp pain in your mouth while you bite or chew. This causes pressure on a damaged tooth, irritating the nerve inside.
We understand the reluctance to deal with such symptoms, but they shouldn’t be ignored. A tooth problem that’s not repaired usually leads to a bigger problem – like losing one or more teeth. This can affect how you speak and what you can eat, plus make you shy about your smile. It even can cause the surrounding teeth to shift out of position, leading to other issues.
Fortunately, our dentists in Clermont, FL, can address these concerns and help give you a healthy, functional 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 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities.
Aside from signaling tooth decay, painful cavities make it tough to concentrate, eat, or sleep. 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 or amalgam filling are over. Our dentist in Clermont uses composite fillings, which look natural and are quite durable. Made of tooth-colored material, these fillings require the dentist to remove only the decayed area. What’s more, they chemically bond to your tooth, making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings treat decay that has affected just a small part of your tooth. If you have more severe decay, leaving less healthy enamel to bond to a filling, then the dentist might recommend a crown.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. It’s crafted from dental porcelain that’s as natural in color as your own teeth. A crown completely covers the affected tooth down to the gums, making it stronger and restoring its normal function. Only you and your dentist will be able to tell that a crown is not your natural tooth once it’s in place.
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 by removing a small amount of tooth enamel or by building up the remaining natural tooth material.
Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist will create a mold of your tooth for the dental lab to make the crown. The dentist will attach a temporary crown to your tooth to protect it until your next appointment, when the permanent crown will be adhered in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Both crowns and fillings are good methods of repairing and restoring damaged teeth. But if your tooth needs to be extracted, or if one of your teeth is already missing, you can fill that space with a dental bridge to reestablish your smile and your bite.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is like a partial denture in that it replaces missing teeth, but instead of being removable, it remains permanently in your mouth, like a crown. In fact, a dental bridge is made of two crowns that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of your missing tooth. These crowns attach to and support a pontic, an artificial tooth crafted from the same dental material as a crown.
Bridges can be created in various lengths, depending on your needs. If you have one tooth missing, a three-unit bridge (two crowns and one pontic) is a common fix. Two missing teeth might need a four-unit bridge (two crowns and two pontics).
If you have additional questions about dental bridges or crowns, our helpful office in Clermont is glad to schedule an appointment for you. Call us today at (352) 432-1960.