There are three options for restoring missing teeth.
- The oldest way is to make a removable or partial denture; this is worn by a patient and can be removed. This is the least expensive and least comfortable option when it comes to replacing missing
- A more modern way to replace a missing tooth is to create a fixed denture also known as a bridge. This method requires filing the two teeth adjacent one either side of the missing tooth. Two dental crowns are prepared for each of the filed teeth and will hold in place a pontic, or substitute tooth, for the missing tooth. This is not an ideal solution for a missing tooth as it requires comprising the structural integrity of the adjacent teeth.
- The most innovative way to replace missing teeth is by placing a dental implant—this allows the preservation of the adjacent teeth as it does not require filing them. Instead, a titanium screw called a dental implant is installed in place of the missing tooth. After healing, a crown is attached to the implant. The technological advancements currently allow for a 97% success rate of placement of dental implants. At our office, the total cost of a dental implant, including the subsequent crown placement, is less than that of a dental bridge.
Dental crowns are placed on teeth which are undermined by dental caries, especially following root canal treatment. Root canal treatment leaves the walls of the tooth thin and susceptible to cracking from chewing. You’d be surprised to learn that human jaw can produce as much as 275 pounds of pressure on to our teeth!
Dental crowns aim to restore the shape of the original shape of the tooth and return it to normal function. Dental crowns are necessary for teeth that can no longer be restored by placing dental fillings. This applies to teeth that have lost two-thirds of their surface structure. This is also often required for teeth with broken cusps.
Dental crowns are most typically made of zirconia and porcelain. Zirconia crowns are usually done for back teeth, or molars, which experience the most force—they are resistant to
Porcelain crowns, while not as robust as zirconia crowns are an excellent option for front teeth or incisors, as they mimic natural teeth aesthetically, specifically as they are better able to match the color of the adjacent teeth and reflect light naturally.
Porcelain Veneers: Dental veneers, also known as Laminates or Lumineers, are designed to cover the front surface of the teeth. They are made of very fine looking but very strong porcelain. Dental veneers range from 0.3 to 1 millimeter in thickness. Dental veneers can be a better choice than dental
crowns because they do not require filing all exposed surfaces of the tooth. Instead, a tooth may be prepped minimally or not at all on the facial surface. Placing a dental veneer, instead of a crown, allows for the preservation of the structure and strength of the original tooth.
Endodontics and Root Canal Treatment is a segment of dental science which deals with infection of the nerve inside the tooth.
If dental decay is not diagnosed and treated before it reaches the pulp chamber which contains the nerve, it causes root canal nerve damage and sometimes pain. This condition caused by root canal infection often causes severe, throbbing, irradiating pain. There are instances however when the infected root canal does not cause pain and the infection is discovered by examining an X-ray. If root canal infection is not treated adequately it will lead to a tooth abscess. Clinically, this appears as a swollen cheek and pain in the jaw. The root canal treatment procedures consist of thorough instrumenting, cleaning, irrigating, and filling of the canals of the affected tooth. The tissue surrounding the tooth is rich in nerve endings and infection of the root canal leads to inflammation and temporary damage to these nerve endings. Because of this, it is possible to experience some discomfort for up to 5 days following root canal treatment, especially while chewing. Following a root canal treatment, the structural integrity of the tooth is weakened. To protect the tooth from the possibility of cracking restorative procedures, such as placing a crown may be required.