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Our teeth become damaged in so many ways. Cavities, age, injuries, and habits such teeth grinding, also called bruxism, all can take a toll. If you’ve seen a yellow, white, brown, or black spot on your tooth, a discolored tooth, or receding gums, our dentist in Miami Beach can determine what’s wrong so you can get your healthy smile back.
Not all tooth damage is visible. You might have felt a tooth wiggle a bit. Maybe some of your teeth are now sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet food or drinks. That could mean the enamel covering the nerves in those teeth might be receding, cracked, or compromised because of dental decay. Perhaps you’ve felt a sharp pain in your mouth when you bite – a sign of a cracked tooth.
Such symptoms need attention. They might seem like small inconveniences, but tooth problems that aren’t identified and repaired only become worse. Tooth decay that’s ignored can lead to infection in other parts of the body, for instance – it’s bacteria, after all. Severely decayed or damaged 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 surrounding teeth to shift out of position, affecting your bite and triggering other problems.
Fortunately, our dentists in Miami Beach, FL, can address these issues and help restore your smile.
As we keep our natural teeth longer, we become more prone to cavities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta notes that more than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity and that 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities.
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 repair tooth decay.
The days of drilling away healthy tooth structure to fit a silver-colored filling are over. Our dentist in Miami Beach uses tooth-colored material called composite fillings that require the dentist to remove only the decayed area. Composite fillings are quite durable and look natural. What’s more, they chemically bond to your tooth, making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings treat decay that affects 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, you’ll likely need 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 color, shape, translucency, 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, either by building up the remaining natural tooth material to support the crown or removing a small amount of tooth enamel.
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 the permanent crown is ready. We’ll adhere the permanent crown in place at your next appointment.
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 fill the gap.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is similar to a partial denture in that it replaces missing teeth and restores the function of your bite, 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. A pontic is made from the same dental porcelain as a crown and 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) is best. 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, call our office in Miami Beach today at (786) 838-4176 to schedule an appointment. We’re glad to help.