If you have missing teeth, it is important to replace them. Additional wear on the remaining teeth can lead to unnecessary stress and breakage. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth.
An implant is a new tooth made of precious metal and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. Your implant is composed of two parts that mimic a tooth's root and crown. The implant's "root" is a titanium steel cylinder placed into the jaw bone to act as a root. Once the implant is in place, a porcelain crown is attached to replace the top part of your tooth.
Implants may also be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures, that tend to shift when you talk or chew. Plus, for patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so that you have a more natural-looking smile.
Implants are the closest thing to your own real teeth. They are not complicated to place and there is little discomfort. The long term prognosis for implants is excellent.
Crowns are a cosmetic restoration used to improve your tooth's shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.
Crowns are "caps" cemented onto an existing tooth which fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth's new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
Crowns are often preferable to large, silver, amalgam fillings. Unlike fillings which apply material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated outside your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from a unique impression made of your tooth. Using this impression a dental laboratory technician is able to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
Large fillings, especially on the back teeth, do not hold up well. Breakage and cavities occur more frequently. Food trapping and gum diseases are more of a problem. Crowns strengthen a tooth, making breakage and cavities much less likely to happen and creating healthier gum tissue.
Missing teeth can affect your speech and ability to chew properly. The wear on the remaining teeth may increase, leading to additional breakage.
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress in your bite.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
The success of any bridge depends on its foundation -- the other teeth, gums, and bone to which it is attached. Controlling the biting forces, especially from grinding and clenching, is vital to assure proper retention. Therefore, it's very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong through good home care and continual dental recall appointments.
When a nerve becomes infected or dies inside the tooth, root canal therapy is needed to preserve the tooth and its surrounding bone.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the nerve. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, this infection builds up at the tip of the root in the jawbone, forming a "pus-pocket" called an abscess. When the infected nerve is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain by-products of the infection can injure your jawbones and your overall health. Without treatment, your tooth will eventually have to be removed.
Root canal therapy often involves only one visit. During treatment, the infected nerve is removed from inside the tooth. Next the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are cleaned and sealed. Most of the original tooth structure remains. Posterior teeth that have root canal treatment need a crown placed in order to strengthen the remaining tooth structure. After root canal therapy, the root(s) of the restored tooth are nourished by the surrounding tissues. As long as you to continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Most of the time a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort. Proper use of prescribed medications should manage any post-operative discomfort. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!
Traditional dental restoratives (fillings) include tooth-colored and amalgam (silver). The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth. Small conservative fillings can last a long time.
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations:● The components used in the filling material.● The amount of tooth structure remaining.● Where and how the filling is placed.● The chewing load that the tooth will have to bear.● The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.
The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined in consultation with your doctor. Before your treatment begins, discuss the options with your doctor. It is helpful to understand the two basic types of dental restorations:
● Direct restorations are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include dental amalgam and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it during one appointment.
● Indirect restorations generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth is retained longer than necessary and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it is not restorable, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
Removing a tooth should not be painful. The patient will feel pressure, sometimes a lot of pressure and there will be cracking sounds as the tooth disengages from the bone. But, pain should never be a factor.
Follow the post-operative instructions closely and healing, usually, is uneventful.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.