Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. Crowns are most commonly done after root canal treatment, when teeth are fractured or when a large filling breaks. Sometimes, even after a large cavity is repaired with a filling, the tooth structure is weakened and is more likely to break. This increases the likelihood for a crown. The jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body and teeth are subjected to tremendous pressure. This may lead to cracked or broken teeth. Crowns provide strength and protection against breakage.
It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. In the first appointment, decay is removed from the tooth, a build-up is placed and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then, an impression is taken of the tooth to send to the laboratory for use in fabricating the permanent crown. During this time of fabrication, a temporary crown is worn. A crown may be constructed of high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, an all ceramic material, or gold. In the second visit this temporary is removed and the permanent crown adjusted and cemented onto the tooth.
There are different types of dentures available, but they all share a common function. They are removable appliances used to replace missing teeth.
The entire mouth is examined and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed and which will remain. The loose teeth are then extracted. Dentures are fitted to go over the remaining teeth that remain in the mouth. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth. But once accustomed to the dentures, normal functionality and appearance should return. Implants may also be used to further stabilize the dentures.
A dental implant is a fixed option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. Unlike bridgework, an implant does not stress the surrounding teeth for support.
Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is necessary when there is tooth decay and infection in the pulpal tissue of a tooth or the nerve is dead, due to trauma or infection. Sometimes, deep restorations in a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged. Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected and requires root canal therapy. A root canal treatment would clean out the infected tooth pulp,
and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Untreated, the infection may extend through the root tip and destroy the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). The only other treatment of choice would
be to extract the tooth. By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.
Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has 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. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy or an all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated early, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a chain reaction. Teeth use their neighbors for support and with neighboring teeth missing, they may over-erupt and the bite may change. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ problems. The surrounding teeth are compromized and begin to deteriorate.
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in the temple area of the skull; mandibular as in mandible or lower jaw; joint as in the joint 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 there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece 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 a badly damaged joint.