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Sometimes problems with our teeth are painfully visible: an entire tooth that’s discolored, or a yellow, white, brown, or black spot on a tooth. Other times, they’re just painful: a sharp pain in your mouth when you bite, or a tooth that is sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages.
Accidents, aging, cavities, and habits such teeth grinding all can damage our teeth. If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, you’re likely in need of a filling because of tooth decay. Tooth decay is such a common disease, it’s second only to the common cold – and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If decay or other tooth problems are not identified and fixed, your tooth might have to be extracted. This causes not only an aesthetic issue but affects how you speak and what you eat. Such holes in your smile also can make your surrounding teeth shift out of position, causing more problems.
The good news is, our dentists in Hialeah, FL, have several solutions to address these issues and help restore your healthy smile.
You might have thought that you left cavities behind you when you entered adulthood. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says that 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities, and more than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity.
Left untreated, cavities can cause pain that affects our ability to concentrate, eat, and sleep – and that’s just for starters. One quarter of adults over age sixty have lost all their teeth primarily because of decay. This affects not only self-esteem but proper nutrition.
Even though people dread treating a cavity, a dental filling is a simple and cost-effective way 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 Hialeah 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 composite filling. Unlike amalgam (silver-looking) fillings, this tooth-colored material doesn’t require the dentist to drill away healthy tooth structure to make room for it. Rather, composite fillings chemically bond to your tooth, stabilizing it and strengthening it.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Fillings are used when decay affects a small part of your tooth. If your tooth is cracked, or if tooth decay hasn’t left enough healthy enamel to attach a filling, the dentist probably 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 color, shape, and translucency of your other teeth. Once in place, it reestablishes a damaged tooth’s appearance as well as its function. It’s as durable as it is comfortable.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, the dentist must prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown. If you have little natural tooth left, the dentist build up the core with 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 a mold 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?
Crowns and fillings repair and restore decayed and damaged teeth. But what if your tooth needs to be removed, or is already missing and now affecting your bite? A dental bridge is one way to close a gap in your smile and reestablish your teeth’s function.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge, like a partial denture, replaces missing teeth. But a dental bridge is fixed permanently in your mouth, unlike a partial denture, which is removable. A bridge is constructed from two crowns that fit over healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth and support an artificial tooth called a pontic. Crafted from the same dental porcelain as the crowns, the pontic fits in the empty space and blends in naturally with your other teeth.
Bridges can be made in varying lengths, depending on your needs. One missing tooth can be replaced by a three-unit bridge composed of two crowns and one pontic. Two missing teeth might need a four-unit bridge made of two crowns supporting two pontics.
If you have additional questions about fillings, dental bridges or crowns, we’re here to help. Call our office in Hialeah today at (786) 838-4145 to schedule an appointment.