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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 a tooth that is sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages.
Cavities, aging, accidents 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 shouldn’t be taken lightly – it’s one of the most common of all diseases, second only to the common cold. If decay or other tooth problems are not identified and fixed, 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 in your smile also can make your surrounding teeth shift out of position, causing more problems.
The good news is, our dentists in Miami, 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 notes that more than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity, and 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities.
Left untreated, cavities can cause pain that affects our ability to sleep, eat, and concentrate – and that’s just for starters. One quarter of adults over age sixty have lost all their teeth primarily because of decay. This impacts not only self-esteem but can lead to poor nutrition.
Even though people dread treating a cavity, a dental filling is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways 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 Miami 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 made of tooth-colored material. These types of fillings don’t require the dentist to drill away healthy tooth structure to make room for the filling, as amalgam (silver-looking) fillings did. Rather, composite fillings bond chemically to your tooth, strengthening it and stabilizing it.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Fillings are used when decay affects only 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 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 and completely covers the tooth down to the gums. Once in place, a crown reestablishes a damaged tooth’s function as well as its appearance. It’s as comfortable as it is durable.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, the dentist will prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown. Sometimes, natural tooth enamel (at least 2 mm) will need to be removed. If you have very little natural tooth left, the dentist will do a core build-up, using filling material to support the crown.
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.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Crowns and fillings restore and repair damaged and decayed teeth. But what if your tooth needs to be removed, or is already missing and now affecting your bite? A dental bridge is one method to replace a missing tooth, closing a gap in your smile and reestablishing your teeth’s function.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge, like a partial denture, replaces missing teeth. But a partial denture is removable, whereas a dental bridge is fixed permanently in your mouth. 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. The pontic is crafted from the same dental porcelain as the crowns and fits naturally in the empty space.
Depending on your needs, bridges can be made in varying lengths. 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 Miami today at (305) 403-9711 to schedule an appointment.