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You might have thought – or hoped – you’d left cavities behind once you reached adulthood. Unfortunately, tooth decay is such a common disease, it’s second only to the common cold. Decay isn’t the only culprit that can damage our teeth: an injury or accident, habits such as tooth grinding, and even age can cause teeth to crack or become compromised, wearing down the outer enamel that shields the nerves and causing pain.
Not all tooth damage is painful. Some shows up just as a yellow, white, 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 or chew, 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 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 impact how you speak and what you can eat. Such gaps even can lead to your surrounding teeth shifting out of position.
The good news is, our dentists in Homestead, FL, have solutions for these issues that can return your smile to its healthy best.
As we keep our natural teeth longer, we become more prone to cavities. One in 4 adults has untreated cavities, notes 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 sleep, eat, or concentrate. The good news is, a dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to treat decay.
The days of drilling away healthy tooth structure to fit a silver-colored or amalgam filling are over. Our dentist in Homestead uses composite fillings, which look natural and are quite durable. This tooth-colored material requires the dentist to remove only the decayed area. What’s more, a composite filling chemically bonds to your tooth, making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings are meant to treat decay that has affected only a small part of your tooth. If you have more severe decay, leaving less healthy enamel to bond to a filling, then the dentist likely will recommend a crown.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. It’s crafted from dental porcelain that’s as natural in color as your own teeth. It completely covers the affected tooth down to the gums, making the tooth stronger and restoring its normal function. Only you and your dentist will be able to tell that a crown is not your natural tooth once it’s in place.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, our dentist must prepare the tooth to support the crown properly, either by removing a bit of tooth enamel or by building up the remaining natural tooth material.
The dentist will create a mold of your tooth once it’s been prepared 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 we will adhere the permanent crown in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Both crowns and fillings are good options to repair and restore damaged teeth. But if you already have a missing tooth, or if your tooth needs to be extracted, you can fill that space with a dental bridge to reestablish your smile and your bite.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is like a partial denture in that it replaces missing teeth but it’s not removable; like a crown, it remains permanently in your mouth. Actually, a bridge is made of two crowns that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of your missing tooth. These crowns attach to a pontic, an artificial tooth that blends in with your other teeth, thanks to being crafted from the same dental material as a crown.
Bridges can be created in various lengths, depending on your needs. One missing tooth is often replaced by a three-unit bridge (two crowns and one pontic). Two missing teeth might need a four-unit bridge (two crowns and two pontics).
If you have additional questions about dental bridges or crowns, our helpful office in Homestead is glad to schedule an appointment for you. Please give us a call today at (786) 738-6500.