To treat a cavity, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decay was. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).
What Types of Filling Materials Are Available?
Today, several dental filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, or glass materials called composite resin fillings. The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, patients’ insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling that will best address your needs.
How Should I Care for My Teeth With Fillings?
To maintain your fillings, you should follow good oral hygiene practices – visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings, brushing with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, and flossing at least once daily. If your dentist suspects that a filling might be cracked or is “leaking” (when the sides of the filling don’t fit tightly against the tooth, this allows debris and saliva to seep down between the filling and the tooth, which can lead to decay), he or she will take x-rays to assess the situation. If your tooth is extremely sensitive, if you feel a sharp edge, if you notice a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing, call your dentist for an appointment.
A crown, sometimes referred to as a cap, covers a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving its appearance. A crown may be recommended to cover and support a tooth with a large filling. It can be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking, or restore one that is already broken.
A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby “bridging” the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented onto the teeth on either side of the space. Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient.
Who should get a bridge?
If you are missing any teeth and are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you may be a good candidate for a bridge. If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause further tooth loss. Fixed bridges not only correct an altered bite, improve your chewing ability and speech, but they also safeguard your appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
How do I care for a bridge?
With a bridge, it is more important than ever to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. If you do not control the buildup of food debris and plaque–the sticky film of bacteria formed from food acids–your teeth and gums can become infected, requiring further treatment and resulting in possible loss of the bridge. Your dentist may also recommend using floss threaders that help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums.
If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last as many as 8-10 years, or even longer.
Despite improvements in dental care, millions of Americans suffer tooth loss – mostly due to tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), or injury. For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But today dental implants are becoming the standard of care. Success rates vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed. In general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.
Some advantages of dental implants include improved appearance, speech, comfort, and oral health. Eating will be easier and pain-free. Implants are also very durable. With good care, many implants last a lifetime. Also, implants are not removable, so there is no need for the messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.
How Do I Care for My Implant?
Dental implants require the same care as permanent teeth, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.
Root Canal Treatment
A root canal is a treatment used to save a tooth that is badly decayed and/or becomes infected. Nerve and pulp, the soft area within the center of the tooth, can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.
Is this going to hurt?
Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed. The discomfort experienced in the period leading up to dental care is truly the painful period of time, not the root canal procedure itself.
What Are the Signs that a Root Canal Is Needed?
- Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
- Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
- Sometimes no symptoms are present
What Should I Expect After the Root Canal?
The root canal procedure should relieve the pain you feel. Until your root canal procedure is completely finished – that is to say, the permanent filling is in place and/or the crown is placed, it is wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid recontamination of the interior of the tooth and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored. For the first few days following the completion of treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.
As far as oral health care is concerned, brush and floss as you regularly would and see your dentist at normally scheduled intervals. The final step of the root canal procedure is application of a restoration such as a crown, to cover and protect the tooth.
If you’ve lost most or all of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, we can replace your missing teeth and your smile. Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. Without support from the teeth, facial muscles sag, making a person look older. You’ll be able to eat, speak, and look great – things that people often take for granted until their natural teeth are lost.
Dentures: Complete Dentures, Immediate Dentures and Partial Dentures
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position. Complete dentures are either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional denture is placed in the mouth about a month after all the teeth are removed to allow for proper healing, whereas an immediate denture is placed as soon as the teeth are removed.
Who needs a denture?
Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.
How do you care for a denture?
Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue, and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.
A denture is fragile, so it is important to handle it with care. Remove and brush the denture daily, using products designed specifically for cleaning dentures. Don’t sterilize your denture with boiling water because it will cause it to warp. If you wear a partial denture, be sure to remove it before brushing your natural teeth. When not in use, soak it in a cleanser solution or in water. Get in the habit of keeping the denture in the same safe and handy place to reduce the likelihood of misplacement.
Continue seeing your dentist regularly
It is important to continue having regular dental checkups so that a dentist can examine oral tissues for signs of disease or cancer. As you age, your mouth will continue to change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. To maintain a proper fit over time, it may be necessary to adjust your denture or possibly remake your denture. Never attempt to adjust a denture yourself and do not use denture adhesives for a prolonged period because it can contribute to bone loss. When in doubt, consult your dentist.
Snap on Smile
Snap on Smile is a non-invasive option for replacing missing teeth or for smile enhancement. Call your local Midwest Dental office to see if this service is offered in your community.