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You might have thought – or hoped – you’d left cavities behind once you reached adulthood. Unfortunately, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases, second only to the common cold. And decay isn’t the only culprit that can damage our teeth: an accident, habits such as teeth grinding, and even age can cause teeth to crack or become compromised, wearing down the outer enamel covering the nerves and leading to pain.
Not all tooth damage is painful. Some shows up just as a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth, or an entire tooth that’s discolored. But when a tooth becomes sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages, or when you feel a sharp pain as you bite, that’s definitely a sign of trouble.
We sympathize that people are reluctant to visit the dentist at such times. But tooth problems that aren’t identified and repaired lead to greater problems – typically, more pain and lost teeth. If a tooth is so damaged that it has to be extracted, you’ll have a hole in your smile that can affect how you speak and what you can eat. Such gaps even can cause your surrounding teeth to shift out of position, leading to other issues.
The good news is, our dentists in Aventura, FL, have solutions for these issues that can return your smile to
its healthy best.
As more adults keep their natural teeth longer, cavities become a problem for them, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says that more than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity, and 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities.
The pain from untreated cavities can affect our ability to eat and sleep – and our appearance as well. When a tooth hurts, we tend to look as miserable as we feel! Fortunately, a dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to repair tooth decay.
Older amalgam (silver-looking) fillings used to require that a dentist drill away healthy tooth structure for them to fit properly. But now if a tooth has a cavity, our dentist in Aventura will remove just the decayed area, filling it with composite filling. This tooth-colored material is tough, resistant to fracture, and best of all, bonds chemically to your tooth. So once repaired, your problem tooth will be stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Fillings are used when decay affects just 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. Completely covering the tooth down to the gums, a crown 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 durable as it is comfortable.
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. If you have very little natural tooth left, the dentist will do a core build-up, using filling material to support the crown. Otherwise, some natural tooth enamel (at least 2 mm) will need to be removed.
But 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 next appointment, when the permanent crown will be adhered in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Both crowns and fillings repair and restore damaged teeth. But if you have a gap in your smile because a tooth is missing, you’ll need a dental bridge.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is similar to a partial denture in that it fills the gaps of missing teeth and reestablishes your bite. But a partial denture is removable, whereas a dental bridge is fixed permanently in the mouth.
A bridge consists of two crowns that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These crowns attach to an artificial tooth called a pontic, which fills in the gap and also looks just like a crown. One missing tooth typically requires a three-unit bridge – two crowns and one pontic – to fill the space. But bridges can be created in longer sizes: four units (two crowns supporting two pontics) for a space spanning two missing teeth, and so on.
Our office in Aventura will be glad to answer additional questions about dental bridges, crowns, or fillings. Call us at (305) 921-0539 today to schedule your appointment or book an appointment online.