Crowns are full coverage restorations which are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too damaged to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Since jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body, teeth are subjected to tremendous pressure. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strengtht, and protecting the tooth from breakage.
Restoring a tooth with a crown takes two appointments. In the first step, all the decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then an impression is made and sent off to a laboratory. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, all ceramic material, or gold. During this time a temporary crown is worn by the patient. In the second visit the temporary is removed, and the permanent crown is adjusted and cemented in place.
There are different types of dentures, but they all share a common function: replace teeth that have been lost. When the bone structure around the roots of teeth is destroyed beyond repair and most or all of the teeth are gone, it's time for dentures. Relax. No one enjoys losing their natural teeth, but you can still eat and talk normally. The entire dentition must be examined to determine which teeth will have to be removed, and which will remain. The loose teeth are extracted and dentures are fitted to go over or around the remaining teeth. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed, and it can take a while to get used to. Once accustomed to the dentures, all the normal functionality will return. Sometimes implants can be used to further stabilize the denture.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment is also referred to as endodontic therapy, and it is necessary when a cavity is allowed to reach all the way to this pulp. Regular cleanings and checkups can prevent and detect problems early. Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged and it will need root canal therapy. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone and cause an abscess. If it happens, the tooth must be treated immediately, as it can weaken the entire immune system. This condition is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot, cold or sweets, pain, swelling, and a bad taste in the mouth. Very rarely, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of the problems until their next checkup.
A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canals are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and a crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that had root canal therapy.
This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and it takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. Materials that we use may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic bridges. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, esthetics, and insurance coverage.
It is important to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction, teeth use their neighbors for support, with one missing, they start to shift, which worsens the bite and created gaps between teeth. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw like TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they also will be lost.
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it's where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet, cartilag and five muscles are involved in that area. If something goes wrong, a good deal of trouble will result, including:
- Trouble and soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending all the way to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, adjusting the bite, and filling gaps between teeth. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic Nightguard is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair the damaged joint.