Dental Center at Baptist
8940 N Kendall Drive, Suite 1005-E, Miami, FL 33176
Some of us expect our teeth to grow a little dingy as we age – isn’t that what whitening treatments are for? – 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 of the symptoms is a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth, or an entire discolored tooth.
Decay, or cavities, also announces itself through pain. If you have a tooth that is sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages, decay might have cracked or compromised your tooth’s outer enamel, exposing the nerves in your teeth. A sure sign of a cracked, damaged, 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.
Although we understand the reluctance to deal with such symptoms, they shouldn’t be ignored. A tooth problem that’s not identified and repaired usually leads to a bigger problem – like losing one or more teeth. This will 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 problems.
Fortunately, our dentists in Miami, FL, can address these issues 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 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities, and more than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity.
Aside from signaling tooth decay, painful cavities make it tough to eat, sleep, 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 Miami uses composite fillings, tooth-colored material that requires the dentist to remove only the decayed area. Composite fillings look natural and quite durable. What’s more, they chemically bond to your tooth, making it stronger.
When decay affects just a small part of your tooth, dental fillings are the best treatment. But a tooth that is severely cracked, damaged, or decayed doesn’t leave enough healthy enamel to attach a filling, requiring another option, such as a crown.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. It’s custom-made from dental porcelain that matches the shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. By completely covering the tooth down to the gums, it also strengthens the underlying tooth and restores its normal function.
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, our dentist in Miami must prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown, either by shaping the healthy tooth material or building up the part that will support the crown with the same material used for dental fillings.
After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will make a mold of your affected tooth to send to the dental lab. Then 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.
Both crowns and fillings repair and restore damaged teeth – but what if you’ve already lost a tooth to an accident or decay? If you have a space in your smile that’s causing problems, a dental bridge can fill it and restore your bite so you can smile with confidence and eat your favorite foods without worry.
Like a partial denture, a dental bridge replaces missing teeth. But it’s adhered permanently in your mouth, unlike a removable partial denture. A bridge includes two crowns that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth to support an artificial tooth called a pontic. A pontic is made from the same dental material as a crown; it just doesn’t have a real tooth beneath it.
Bridges come in varying lengths, depending on your needs. One missing tooth can be replaced with a three-unit bridge (two crowns and one pontic). A larger gap might need a four-unit bridge or larger.
Our helpful staff in Miami will be glad to schedule an appointment if you have additional questions about fillings, dental bridges, or crowns. Call us today at (305) 921-0511.