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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 tooth that is sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages, or a sharp pain in your mouth when you bite.
Age, cavities, 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 is one of the most common of all diseases, second only to the common cold – and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. 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 with a hole in your smile but affects how you speak and what you eat. Such gaps 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 think cavities are just for kids, but they’re also a problem for adults, especially as we keep our natural teeth longer. More than 90 percent of Americans has had a cavity, and 1 in 4 adults has untreated cavities, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The pain of untreated cavities hampers our ability to eat, sleep, and concentrate. Fortunately, a dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to repair a tooth damaged by decay.
Many people are nervous about visiting the dentist to treat a cavity and shudder at the thought of the dental drill. But modern dentistry has improved this process. If a tooth has a cavity, our dentist in Miami only needs to remove the decayed area, not create a hole big enough for the filling, as older amalgam (silver-looking) required. Nowadays, dentists use a tooth-colored material called a composite filling, which chemically that bonds to your tooth. Composite fillings look natural, and they’re quite durable, even making your tooth stronger.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Dental fillings are meant to treat decay that has affected just a small part of your tooth. If you have more severe decay, leaving less healthy enamel to bond to a filling, then the dentist will recommend a crown.
A dental crown acts as a cap for your tooth. It’s crafted from dental porcelain that’s as natural in color as your own teeth and completely covers the affected tooth down to the gums, making it stronger and restoring its normal function. Only you and your dentist will be able to tell that it’s not your natural tooth once it’s in place.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits. First, our dentist in Miami will prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown. This might involve removing some of the natural tooth enamel (at least 2 mm). If you have very little natural tooth left, the dentist may build up what remains with a filling material to support the crown. This is called a core build-up.
After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression of your tooth to send to the dental lab. Before you leave, the dentist will attach a temporary crown to your tooth to protect it until your next visit, when the permanent crown is ready.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A crown or a filling repairs and restores a damaged tooth. If you have a space in your smile because of a missing tooth, you’ll need a dental bridge to remove the gap and reestablish your bite.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is adhered permanently in the mouth (unlike a partial denture, which is removable). A bridge is composed of two crowns that fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These crowns support an artificial tooth called a pontic, which fills in for the missing tooth. The pontic looks and feels as natural as a crown, except it doesn’t have a real tooth beneath it.
Bridges are created in varying sizes to meet your needs. One missing tooth typically uses a three-unit bridge as described above (two crowns and a pontic in the middle). Two missing teeth can be replaced with a four-unit bridge composed of two crowns supporting two pontics.
Have additional questions about fillings, crowns, and bridges? Call our office in West Kendall today to schedule an appointment. We’re glad to help you.