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If your teeth hurt when you bite or chew – or if your teeth feel sensitive when you eat or drink hot, cold, or sweet foods or beverages – you might have a cavity. Cavities affect grownups, too, especially as we keep our natural teeth longer as we age. But even an injury or accident to a tooth or habits such as tooth grinding can damage the outer tooth enamel, leading to tooth pain.
Although pain or sensitivity is a common sign that something’s wrong, tooth decay has other, quieter signs, too. Perhaps your teeth feel fine, but you’ve seen a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on your tooth – or one entire tooth is discolored.
Please don’t ignore such symptoms. Tooth problems that aren’t identified and repaired only grow worse – typically leading to more pain and possibly losing the affected teeth. Aside from sapping your confidence, a hole in your smile can impact how you speak and what you can eat. Such a gap also can cause your surrounding teeth to shift out of position, resulting in more problems.
Fortunately, our dentists in Jupiter, FL, are able to address all of these issues and restore your healthy smile again.
Although you might feel embarrassed having cavities as an adult, they’re quite common. More than 90 percent of Americans have had a cavity, and 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
In fact, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases, second only to the common cold. A dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to repair a tooth damaged by decay.
The good news is, our dentist in Jupiter doesn’t have to drill away healthy tooth structure to make room for a filling anymore, as those old silver-colored fillings required. To treat a cavity, the dentist removes only the decayed area and fills it with a tooth-colored material called a composite filling. Composite fillings look natural, resist fracture, and chemically bond to your tooth, making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings are preferred when just a small part of your tooth has decay. But if your tooth is severely damaged, decayed, or cracked, leaving little healthy enamel where a filling can bond, then the dentist will recommend a crown.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. A crown is custom made from dental porcelain that matches the shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. It completely covers the tooth down to the gums, strengthening the underlying tooth and restoring its normal function.
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. Either part of the remaining enamel (at least 2 mm) must be removed, or the dentist will build up the interior with a filling material to support the crown.
After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will create a mold of your tooth to send to the dental lab. Before you leave, the dentist will attach a temporary crown to protect your tooth until your next appointment, when the permanent crown will be adhered. Once in place, a crown is designed to be permanent.
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 beauty and function.
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 two 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, which fills in for the missing tooth. Made of the same dental porcelain as a crown, a pontic blends in with the rest of your teeth.
Bridges are designed in varying lengths, depending on your needs. If you have one missing tooth, a three-unit bridge (two crowns and one pontic) can fill the gap and restore your bite. If you have two missing teeth, you’ll need a four-unit bridge consisting of two crowns supporting two pontics.
If you have additional questions about fillings, crowns, or dental bridges, we’re glad to help. Call our office in Jupiter today at (561) 459-1399 to schedule an appointment.