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Our teeth can become damaged in so many ways. Habits such teeth grinding, cavities, injuries, and aging 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 Fort Myers can determine what’s wrong so you can get your health smile back.
Not all tooth damage is visible. You might have felt one or more of your teeth wiggle. Maybe some of your teeth are now sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet food or beverages. 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.
Such symptoms need attention. They might seem like small inconveniences now, but tooth problems that aren’t identified and repaired only worsen. Tooth decay that’s ignored, can lead to infection in other parts of the body, for instance – it’s bacteria, after all. Severely damaged or decayed 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 leading to other problems.
Fortunately, our dentists in Fort Myers, FL, can address all of these issues and help restore your smile again.
As we keep our natural teeth longer, we become more prone to cavities. One in 4 adults has untreated cavities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, 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 most cost-effective and easiest ways to repair tooth decay.
The days of drilling away healthy tooth structure to fit a silver-colored filling are over. Our dentist in Fort Myers uses composite fillings, which are made from tooth-colored material that requires the dentist to remove only the decayed area. Composite fillings look natural and are quite tough. What’s more, they chemically bond to your tooth, making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings treat decay affecting just a small part of a tooth. If you have a large amount of decay or a tooth that’s so damaged that there’s not enough healthy enamel to attach a filling, the dentist likely will recommend a crown to repair the tooth and reestablish its function.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. Custom made from dental porcelain, it completely covers the tooth down to the gums, matching the translucency, color, shape, and feel of your other teeth. Best of all, it strengthens the underlying tooth, so you can eat foods again that might have been problematic.
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. Sometimes this entails removing some tooth enamel (at least 2 mm) or building up the remaining natural tooth material to support the crown.
Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist will create a mold of your 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. Then the permanent crown will be adhered in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Fillings and crowns fix problems in damaged teeth. But if your tooth must be extracted, or if you already have a space in your smile because of a missing tooth, you may need a dental bridge to restore your smile’s function and beauty.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is similar to a partial denture in that it replaces missing teeth, but it’s fixed in the mouth. A bridge includes crowns that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of a gap in your bite. These crowns then attach to an artificial tooth called a pontic that fills in for the missing tooth. A pontic is made of the same dental porcelain as a crown, so it blends in with the rest of your teeth.
Bridges are designed in varying lengths, depending on your needs. A three-unit bridge (two crowns and one pontic) can fill the gap and restore your bite if you have one missing tooth. Two missing teeth need a four-unit bridge consisting of two crowns supporting two pontics.
If you have additional questions about fillings, crowns, or dental bridges, call us today at (239) 243-9238. Our office in Fort Myers is glad to help to schedule an appointment.