Dentists wants patients to keep as many of their natural teeth as possible. That is why most dentists will fill a cavity instead of pulling an infected tooth.
Crown lengthening is a procedure that allows a dentist to save a tooth rather than pull it. The common procedure remodels the contour of the gum line. It does not actually lengthen the crown of the tooth, but rather lowers the gum line.
Crown lengthening may be the only option available when there is not enough tooth structure for a crown to be placed on a tooth. On occasions when a tooth has been broken below the gum line, crown lengthening is often used to successfully expose more of the tooth structure, so the dentist has more tooth to work with when attaching the crown.
As people age, natural teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to decay, cracks and discoloration. During a routine visit, your dentist may notice that a tooth has become infected by decay or has become weakened or cracked and may recommend that he install a crown. A crown is used to help strengthen and protect a tooth from further decay.
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, specifically porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or a full gold crown. To create a more natural look and feel, a porcelain-finished crown is best. A porcelain crown can easily be matched to the shade of your natural teeth, allowing it to blend in better.
Placing of a crown can take 2 to 3 visits to your dentist. During the first visit, the tooth that is to receive the crown will be shaped by filing away some of the existing enamel. This will allow the crown to fit precisely over the existing tooth. The patient will receive a local anesthetic during this part of the procedure so there is no discomfort. When the tooth is reshaped, a mold will be taken and sent to the dental lab for fabrication. The crown will fit over the existing tooth and will look the same relative to the surrounding teeth. Before leaving the office, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown until the permanent crown is ready.
In 2 to 3 weeks, the permanent crown will be ready. The patient will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area before the crown will be placed on the tooth using a cement to ensure the crown stays in place.
You will have a brand-new smile when you look in the mirror the next morning. Crowns are durable and should last a minimum of 10 years. Some may last as many as 20. Care for your crown as you would your natural teeth. Brush and floss regularly and use an antiseptic mouthwash to rinse.
People are taking better care of their teeth, so dentures are required less frequently now than they have been in previous generations. However, dentures continue to be a replacement for missing teeth.
Depending on the patient’s individual needs, partial or full dentures may be used. Partial dentures are created when some of the patient’s natural teeth remain. Full dentures are used when a patient has no natural teeth remaining.
There are two types of full dentures.
Conventional full dentures: This appliance is created after all the natural teeth are removed from a patient’s mouth. Before the denture is placed, the mouth and gum tissue are given time to heal. The healing process can take months, which means the patient is likely to be without teeth the entire period.
Immediate full dentures: In this application, measurements are taken in advance and the denture is fabricated before the natural teeth are removed. When the appliance is ready, the natural teeth are removed, and the dentures are immediately placed in the mouth. The benefit to this treatment is the patient is not without teeth for an extended period. Follow-up visits will need to be scheduled by the patient so the dentist can re-fit the denture if the jawbone has slightly changed shape as the mouth heals. Dentures usually need to be tightened as the jaw heals.
Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A partial denture is similar to a bridge, but a partial denture is not a permanent fixture in your mouth.
Some patience is required by patients as they adjust to the dentures. The flesh-colored base of the appliance is placed over the gum and patients often complain the denture is too bulky and there is not enough room for the tongue. At this stage, patients also complain the denture is loose and does not fit correctly. Over time, the mouth gets used to the denture and it becomes a natural part of the mouth.
Dentures should be cared for like natural teeth. A denture should be brushed to remove plaque and food particles when it is removed from the mouth. Once the denture is removed, it should be placed in room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution.
Hot water should never be used because it can warp the denture. A denture is a delicate appliance and should be handled with care. Never try to adjust a denture at home. All adjustments should be done by a dentist.
Treating the dental pulp and the tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth is known as endodontics. Within the field of endodontics is the dental procedure known as the root canal.
When a tooth becomes infected, the nerves or pulp of the tooth are affected. The infected nerves sometimes need to be removed. An untreated infection can become an abscess which could lead to more serious problems, including bone loss in the jaw.
A root canal procedure begins when the area around the tooth is numbed with an anesthetic. An opening is then drilled into the top of the tooth. Infected tissue in the nerve canal will then be removed and the canal will be cleaned. The opening in the tooth is filled with a sealant called gutta percha. In most cases, the tooth is then fitted with a crown. The crown helps with the appearance of the tooth while also helping to ensure that the treated area of the tooth is not damaged further.
Although unpleasant for most dental patients, advances in dental technology have made the root canal procedure less uncomfortable. Local anesthesia and proper medication reduce the amount of pain a patient experience. There is usually soreness in the gums and mouth following the procedure, but over-the-counter pain medication is usually enough to comfort a patient. Your dentist may also prescribe a medication depending on the individual situation.
If the tooth is still structurally sound and a filling is the best course of treatment, the decayed portion of the tooth will be removed and filled with a composite resin material or a traditional silver amalgam material. Teeth that have been cracked, broken, or worn from misuse (such as from nail-biting or grinding) can also be filled.
Materials such as gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, or glass materials called composite resin fillings, are used to create fillings.
Caring for your fillings
Fillings are easily maintained by following good oral hygiene habits. Schedule regular cleanings, brush with a toothpaste containing fluoride and floss at least once a day. If you suspect a filling might be loose or falling apart, schedule an X-ray to assess the situation. Symptoms of a cracked filling:
-a tooth is extremely sensitive,
-a tooth has developed a sharp edge,
-a noticeable crack can be seen in the filling,
-a piece is missing from the filling, or you have pieces of filling in your mouth when you wake up in the morning.