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Did an old filling fall out while you were eating dinner? Perhaps the problem is a missing tooth; your old tooth had to come out after a root canal. On the other hand, perhaps part of your tooth broke off while you were eating a handful of nuts.
When you have a broken or fractured tooth, a tooth with severe decay, or a missing tooth, you need prompt dental treatment. You’ll likely need at least a crown and perhaps a bridge. Family Dental Care’s board-certified dentists are experts in general, cosmetic, and emergency dental care. Following are answers to questions you might have about crowns and bridges.
If you have significant decay in a tooth, you may need more than a filling. You likely need a crown. Your dentist removes the decay, which covers a large part of your tooth. The crown is a cover over what’s left of the tooth. Our crowns are usually made of metal with a porcelain cover that is very strong and matches the appearance of your surrounding teeth.
If you have a missing tooth, your dentist may recommend replacing it with a dental implant. A crown is placed over the implant after the implant has been completed, so you now have a natural-looking tooth that’s firmly embedded in your jaw. A crown can be placed over what’s left of your original tooth or over an implant.
If you’ve lost a tooth to decay, disease, or an accident, it’s important to install a replacement. If the tooth was easily seen when you smile, you want a replacement for aesthetic reasons. But replacing the tooth is also important for your dental health. Even if you’re only missing one tooth, the surrounding teeth can shift and move out of alignment, causing bite problems.
You also lose bone in your jaw where the missing tooth was. The bone doesn’t receive any stimulus from your teeth when you chew, so bone cells aren’t replaced as quickly as they should be. You lose 25 percent of bone in the first year after losing a tooth, and bone loss is continual. If you’re missing more than one tooth, your jawbone may dissolve in that area and your face will lose its structure; the distance from nose to chin shrinks, and your cheek hollows out.
If you have one or more missing teeth, your dentist may recommend a dental bridge. It’s aptly named because it creates a strong structure to hold a replacement tooth or teeth in the middle of the bridge, with crowns or implants on each side. The crowns or implants, called abutment teeth, are the strong teeth that hold the false teeth in the middle of the bridge in place.
The false teeth are called pontics; we use strong porcelain in combination with an alloy to create them. They look just like your natural teeth; modern dentistry can match the color to the surrounding teeth so the difference isn’t visible to the eye.
Your dentist places temporary cement in the bridge to make sure the fit is correct. Once the bridge is securely in place and feels comfortable, he cements it in place permanently.
Call or book an appointment online with Family Dental Care in West Palm Beach, Florida, for expert preventive, cosmetic, and emergency dental treatment.