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We all know that tooth pain signals a problem. A sharp pain when you bite or chew or sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods or beverages can indicate a cracked tooth, damage in the outer enamel covering a tooth’s nerves – or tooth decay.
Tooth decay has other symptoms, too. You might not have pain in your teeth, but if you’ve noticed a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth – or an entire tooth that’s discolored – you could have a cavity or decay.
We understand that people often are reluctant or nervous to address such tooth problems. But tooth decay is quite common, affecting more than 90 percent of adults over age 40. Unfortunately, ignoring it leads to more serious issues, such as losing your tooth. One quarter of adults over age 60 have lost teeth primarily because of decay, which affects not only self-esteem but general nutrition and quality of life.
The good news is, our dentists in Tamarac, FL, can address all of these issues and present you with the best way to repair your tooth and restore your healthy smile.
As we live longer, our teeth are susceptible not only to age but cavities. More than 90 percent of Americans have had a cavity, and 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta notes.
The pain from untreated cavities impacts our ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, and carry on in our daily activities. Fortunately, a dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to repair such a damaged tooth.
Some patients’ anxiety about visiting the dentist stems from worry about the process of getting silver-colored fillings. But modern dentistry has made fillings a lot easier. No longer does a dentist have to drill away healthy tooth structure to make room for a filling. Rather, our dentist in Tamarac will remove only the decayed portion and fill it with a composite filling. This tooth-colored material is durable, fracture-resistant, and bonds chemically to your tooth, actually 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, the dentist likely will recommend 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 shape, color, 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 removing some tooth enamel (at least 2 mm) or building up the remaining natural tooth material to support the crown.
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 your next appointment, when the permanent crown will be ready to adhere in place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Crowns and fillings restore and repair decayed and damaged teeth. But what if your tooth needs to be removed, or is already missing and now affecting your bite? A dental bridge is one way 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 unlike a partial denture, which is removable, 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.
Crafted from the same dental porcelain as the crowns, the pontic fits in the empty space.
Depending on your needs, bridges can be made in varying lengths. For instance, 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 dental bridges or crowns, we’re here to help. Call our office in Tamarac today at (954) 246-4835 to schedule an appointment.