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Sometimes problems with our teeth are painfully visible: a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth, or an entire tooth that’s discolored. Other times, they’re just painful: a sharp pain in your mouth when you bite or chew, or a tooth that is sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or drinks.
Aging, cavities, accidents, and habits such tooth 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 remedied, your tooth might have to be extracted. This causes not only a cosmetic issue but affects how you speak and what you eat. Such gaps also can make your surrounding teeth shift out of position.
The good news is, our dentists in Naples, FL, have several solutions to address these issues and help restore your healthy smile.
As we live longer, our teeth are susceptible not only to age but cavities. One in 4 adults has untreated cavities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta notes, and more than 90 percent of Americans have had a cavity.
The pain from untreated cavities impacts our ability to concentrate, eat, sleep, and carry on in our daily activities. Fortunately, a dental filling is one easy and cost-effective treatment.
Some patients’ anxiety about visiting the dentist stems from worry about the process of getting silver-colored fillings, which required a dentist to drill away healthy tooth structure to make room for the filling. But our dentist in Naples uses composite fillings, which require the dentist to remove only the decayed portion. Composite fillings use tooth-colored material that is durable, fracture-resistant, and bonds chemically to your tooth, actually making it stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Fillings are recommended when decay affects just 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 likely will suggest 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, so it matches the shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. Once in place, it reestablishes a damaged tooth’s appearance and its function. It’s both durable and comfortable.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, the dentist will prepare the tooth to support the crown. If you have very little natural tooth left, the dentist might build up the core with filling material. Otherwise, a bit of natural tooth enamel might need to be removed.
Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression 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 the permanent crown is ready. At your next appointment, we’ll adhere the permanent crown in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Both crowns and fillings repair and restore damaged teeth – but what if your tooth needs to be removed, or you’ve already lost a tooth to an accident or decay? If you have a space in your smile, a dental bridge can fill it and restore your bite so you can smile with confidence and eat your favorite foods without worry.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
Unlike a removable partial denture, a dental bridge is fixed permanently in the mouth. A bridge is constructed by two crowns that are custom-made to fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These crowns then attach to a pontic, an artificial tooth made of the same material as a crown.
Bridges can be three units, four units or more, depending on your needs. A three-unit bridge (two crowns and a pontic) is a common option to replace one missing tooth and restore your bite. A gap from two missing teeth would need a four-unit bridge (two crowns supporting two pontics).
Our office in Naples is glad to answer any additional questions you have about dental bridges, fillings, or crowns. Call us today at (239) 963-1743 to schedule an appointment.