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Our teeth can become damaged in so many ways. Age, cavities, injuries, 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 Miami can determine what’s wrong so you can get your smile back.
Not all tooth damage is visible. You might have felt one or more of your teeth wiggle a bit. Maybe some of your teeth are now sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or drinks. That could mean the outer enamel covering the nerves in those teeth might be cracked, receding, or compromised because of dental decay. Perhaps you’ve felt a sharp pain in your mouth when you bite – a sign of a cracked tooth.
Such symptoms need attention. They might seem like small inconveniences now, but tooth problems that aren’t identified and repaired only become worse. Tooth decay that’s ignored, for instance, 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, affecting your bite and trigger other problems.
Fortunately, our dentists in Miami, FL, can address all of these issues and help restore your smile again.
You might have thought that you left cavities behind you when you entered adulthood. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, 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 affects 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 impacts not only self-esteem but contributes to poor nutrition.
Even though people dread treating a cavity, a dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways 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 Miami 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 tooth-colored material called a composite filling. 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, composite fillings chemically bond to your tooth, stabilizing it and strengthening it.
Composite fillings behave much like natural tooth material in how they withstand the pressure of biting and chewing, and they look natural as well.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings are the best choice when decay has affected a small part of your tooth enamel. If the decay has progressed toward the inner part of your tooth, called the dentin, or if there isn’t enough healthy enamel to attach a filling, the dentist likely will recommend a crown.
A crown acts as a cap for your tooth. Made of dental porcelain, it completely covers the tooth down to the gums. Once in place, a crown strengthens the underlying tooth and restores its normal function.
Our dentists in Miami will create a custom crown that matches the shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. No one but you and your dentist will be able to tell that it’s not your natural tooth.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, the dentist will prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown. In some cases, more natural exterior enamel — at least 2 mm – must be removed for the crown to fit properly. This step might not be necessary if you don’t have enough natural tooth material left to support the crown. In this instance, the dentist may build up the tooth with filling material for added support, a process called core build-up.
After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression to send to the dental lab, then attach a temporary crown to protect your tooth while the permanent crown is made. You’ll receive the permanent crown at your next visit, where the dentist will adhere it in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Fillings and crowns help repair and restore damaged teeth. If you’ve lost a tooth because of an accident, an injury, or decay, you’ll likely need a dental bridge.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is fixed permanently in the mouth, unlike a partial denture, which is removable. A bridge is constructed by two crowns that are custom-made to fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These crowns then attach to an artificial tooth called a pontic, which fills in the space.
Bridges can be three units, four units or more, depending on your needs. For instance, a three-unit bridge (two crowns and a pontic) is used to replace a missing teeth and restore your bite. A gap from two missing teeth would need a four-unit bridge (two crowns supporting two pontics).
Our office in Miami is glad to answer any additional questions you have about fillings, crowns, or bridges. Call us today at (305) 459-3204 to schedule an appointment.