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You might have thought – or hoped – you’d left cavities behind once you reached adulthood. Unfortunately, tooth decay is second only to the common cold in terms of how often it occurs. And decay isn’t the only culprit that can damage our teeth: an accident or injury, habits such as teeth grinding, and even aging 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 as an entire tooth that’s discolored, or simply a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth. But when you feel a sharp pain as you bite, or when a tooth becomes sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages, 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 remedied eventually lead to greater problems – such as 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 impact how you speak and what you can eat. Such gaps also can cause your surrounding teeth to shift out of position.
The good news is, our dentists in West Palm Beach, FL, have solutions for these issues that can return your smile to its healthy best.
As we live longer, our teeth are susceptible not only to age but cavities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta states that more than 90 percent of Americans have had a cavity, and 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities.
The pain from untreated cavities hinders our ability to concentrate, eat, sleep, and carry on in our daily activities. Fortunately, a dental filling is an easy and cost-effective treatment.
Some patients’ anxiety about visiting the dentist stems from worry about drilling. But modern dentistry has made fillings a lot easier. No longer does a dentist have to drill away healthy tooth structure to make room for a filling, as with silver-colored (amalgam) fillings. Rather, our dentist in West Palm Beach will remove only the decayed portion and use a composite filling. This tooth-colored material is fracture-resistant, durable, and bonds chemically to your tooth, actually making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings are designed to treat decay that has affected only a small part of your tooth. If there is not enough healthy enamel to bond to a filling, the dentist will suggest a crown instead.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. It restores a tooth’s normal function and makes it stronger by completely covering the tooth down to the gums.
Our dentists in West Palm Beach will create a custom crown that matches the shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. Only you and your dentist will be able to tell that it’s not your natural tooth once it’s in place.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, we’ll prepare the tooth by shaping the remaining tooth structure or, if you have very little natural tooth left, building up the tooth with a filling material.
The dentist then will take an impression of the prepared tooth to send to the dental lab. Before you leave, the dentist will attach a temporary crown to your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready. At your next appointment, the dentist will adhere the permanent crown, made from dental porcelain.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Fillings and crowns help repair and restore damaged teeth. If your tooth needs to be extracted, or 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 adhered permanently in the mouth (unlike a removable partial denture). A bridge is composed of two crowns that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These crowns support a pontic, an artificial tooth made from the same material as a crown. The pontic looks and feels natural as it fills in the gap.
Bridges are created in varying sizes to meet your needs. One missing tooth typically uses a three-unit bridge as described above (two crowns and a pontic in the middle), for example. Two missing teeth can be replaced with a four-unit bridge composed of two crowns supporting two pontics.
Have additional questions about bridges, fillings, and crowns? Call our office in West Palm Beach today at (561) 459-1488 to schedule an appointment. We’re glad to help you.