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Abscess

What Is It?

An abscess is a limited area of pus formed as a result of a bacterial infection. The body’s immune system reacts to the infection, and sends white blood cells to the area to try to get rid of the bacteria. Pus is a mixture of live and dead white blood cells, enzymes and parts of destroyed cells and tissues. When there is no way for pus to drain, it forms an abscess.

Abscesses can form in almost every part of the body. In the mouth, abscesses form in gum tissue or in the roots of teeth and in the surrounding areas of the tooth. They can be caused by trauma (food or debris embedded deep in the gum), by bacteria that enters through a cavity and gets into the dental pulp, or from a deep periodontal pocket. People with a lowered resistance to infection are at increased risk of developing an abscess. At first, the abscess may cause a toothache, which can be severe. The tooth’s nerve can become infected and the infection can burrow through to the gum, forming a visible boil that can rupture in the mouth. Once the abscess ruptures, the pain often decreases significantly, but dental treatment is still necessary. If the abscess does not drain, the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck and can become life threatening.

Symptoms

The main symptom is persistent, throbbing pain. At first, the tooth will be sensitive to heat and pressure while chewing. Later, you may develop a fever. Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or in the neck can be tender and you may feel pain in the sinus area. If the abscess ruptures, a sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting fluid will spill into the mouth.

Diagnosis

Usually, your dentist can diagnose a tooth abscess by examining your mouth. He or she may push on the swollen area of the gum and do a pulp test on the affected tooth to see if it is still alive. A pulp test can involve:

  • Gentle tapping (percussion) on the tooth
  • Temperature testing
  • Using an electric tester on the tooth

Your dentist also may take an X-ray to look for bone erosion around the tip of the tooth’s root.

Expected Duration

Once the abscess is drained, most symptoms go away immediately or within a few days, but the abscess will not be cured unless the cause is eliminated.

Prevention

Good oral hygiene can help prevent abscesses by keeping teeth and gums free of food and debris. Regular dental checkups are also important. If you have a weakened immune system because of medication or another condition, let your dentist know before every appointment. You may receive antibiotics before the appointment to reduce the risk of infection.

Treatment

Saving an abscessed tooth begins with draining the infection, which usually relieves pain and removes much of the infection. Root canal treatment may be necessary and should be started as soon as possible to remove diseased tissue.

If the abscess involves gum tissue, your dentist may suggest that you rinse with warm salt water (1/8 of a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) a few times a day for several days. You may be prescribed antibiotics to help make sure the infection has been eliminated. Have dental X-rays performed six months later to confirm if healthy bone and tissue are filling the area of the abscess. If the bone does not fill in after the treatment, you may need to visit a periodontist who can surgically reshape the gum so that it is easier to keep clean, or an endodontist who can surgically remove a persistent abscess.

When To Call A Professional

If you have a toothache or notice evidence of an abscess on your gum, visit your dentist. Even if the abscess drains and the pain decreases, a visit to the dentist for complete treatment is crucial.

Prognosis

The outlook is excellent if detected promptly and treated appropriately.

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Cracked Tooth Syndrome

What Is It?

Unlike teeth with obvious fractures, teeth with cracked tooth syndrome usually have fractures that are too small to be seen on X-rays. Sometimes the fracture is below the gum line, making it even more difficult to identify.

Cracked tooth syndrome more often occurs in molars, usually lower molars, which absorb most of the forces of chewing.

People who grind or clench their teeth may be more susceptible to cracked tooth syndrome because of the constant forces put on their teeth. Sometimes a person’s normal bite causes certain molar cusps (the highest points of the tooth) to exert so much pressure on the opposing tooth that it cracks.

Teeth with large fillings or teeth that have undergone root canal treatment are weaker than other teeth and may be more likely to crack. People with one cracked tooth are more likely to have others, either at the same time or in the future.

Symptoms

You may experience pain in the tooth when you bite or chew. However, it probably will not happen all the time. The tooth may be painful only when you eat certain foods or when you bite in a specific way. You will not feel a constant ache, as you would if you had a cavity or abscess, but the tooth may be more sensitive to cold temperatures. If the crack worsens, the tooth may become loose.

Many people with cracked tooth syndrome have symptoms for months, but it’s often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are not consistent.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of cracked tooth syndrome is often difficult. Your dentist will do a thorough examination of your mouth and teeth, focusing on the tooth in question. He or she may use a sharp instrument called an explorer to feel for cracks in the tooth and will inspect the gums around the tooth for irregularities. Your dentist also may take X-rays, although X-rays often do not show the crack.

Your dentist may use a special instrument to test the tooth for fractures. One instrument looks like a toothbrush without bristles that fits over one part of the tooth at a time as you bite down. If you feel pain, the cusp being tested most likely has a crack affecting it.

Your dentist may shine a fiber-optic light on the tooth or stain it with a special dye to search for a crack. If the tooth already has a filling or crown, your dentist may remove it so he or she can better inspect the tooth.

Expected Duration

How long symptoms last depends somewhat on how quickly a cracked tooth can be diagnosed. Even then, treatment may not always completely relieve the symptoms.

Prevention

If you grind or clench your teeth, talk to your dentist about treatment. Grinding can increase your risk of cracked tooth syndrome.

Treatment

Treatments for cracked tooth syndrome do not always completely relieve the symptoms.

Treatment depends on the location, direction and extent of the crack. Cracks vary from superficial ones in the outer layers of the tooth to deep splits in the root affecting the pulp (the center of the tooth, which contains the tooth’s nerves).

If the crack affects one or more cusps of a tooth, the tooth may be restored with a crown. If a crack affects the pulp, you probably will need root canal treatment. About 20% of teeth with cracked tooth syndrome require root canals. After a root canal, the tooth will no longer be sensitive to temperature, but it still will respond to pressure. This means that if you felt pain when you bit down before the root canal, you probably will not feel it as intensely as before, but you may feel it from time to time.

In some severe cases, the tooth may need to be extracted. Some cracks extend into the root of the tooth under the bone and there’s no way to fix the tooth. If your dentist decides the tooth needs to be extracted, you can have it replaced with an implant or a bridge.

When To Call a Professional

If you experience pain upon biting or chewing, contact your dental office.

Prognosis

Treatment of cracked tooth syndrome is not always successful. Your dentist should inform you about the prognosis. In some people, a restoration with a crown will relieve all symptoms. In others, root canal treatment solves the problem. Some people continue to have occasional symptoms after treatment, and may need to have the tooth extracted.

For more information, please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Fillings – Crowns – Root Canals

Lost Filling Or Crown

Fillings, which are materials used to fill cavities in the teeth, and crowns, which slip over and cover the tops of damaged teeth, sometimes loosen and fall out. This is rarely an emergency, but it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to pressure, air or hot and cold temperatures. In some cases, a filling or crown may come loose because decay has developed underneath it. The decay can cause the tooth to change shape and as a result, the crown of filling no longer fits the tooth properly.

What You Can Do

You may be eating, or biting on something hard when you discover that a filling or a crown has become lose or fallen out. You may feel the lost filling or crown in your mouth.

If it’s a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you can. You don’t want to wait too long because the tooth will be weak and could be damaged more if it is not protected by the crown. Also, when a crown is missing for a long time, your teeth may move. If this happens your crown may no longer fit.

If the tooth is sensitive and you can’t get to your dentist right away, here’s what you can do:

  • If you can reach the sensitive area, apply a little clove oil with a cotton swab. It works well to dull tooth pain. You can buy clove oil in pharmacies and also in the spice aisle of many supermarkets.
  • If you have the crown, you may be able to slip it back over the tooth. Before you do that, it’s important to clean the inside of the crown as best you can. To hold it in place temporarily, coat the inner surface of the crown with tooth “cement,” which you can buy in the dental section of your pharmacy. There are several temporary cements available. Some need to be mixed; others come ready to use. You also can use denture adhesive or even petroleum jelly if nothing else is available. These aren’t permanent solutions, but they will help to hold the crown in place until you can see your dentist. You should not use any household glues to hold the crown in place. These products are not safe to put in your mouth and can damage the tooth and crown.
  • If you’ve lost the filling or crown, you can use over-the-counter dental cement to cover the tooth surface. This will help to protect and seal the area until you’re able to see your dentist, and can make you more comfortable.

What Your Dentist Will Do

If the tooth is structurally sound and the crown still fits properly, your dentist will clean the area and then replace the crown.

If the tooth has been affected by decay, your dentist will need to prepare the tooth again by removing the decay and then making a new filling or crown to replace the old one.

If you are concerned about a loose filling or crown, call  Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA 770.587.4202 for a free consultation!

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When is a Dental Crown Needed?

A Dental Crown is commonly known as a tooth cap or a dental cap. A Dental crown is a restoration that covers the outer surface of a tooth (like a cap) and is cemented to the tooth with the help of dental cement. Discussed below in detail are functions of dental crowns and the need for a dental crown.

Functions of a Dental Crown are to

  • Restore the form, function and esthetics of a tooth
  • Improve the strength of a tooth
  • Protect the underlying tooth from any mechanical, chemical, or thermal injury.

When should Crown be given on a Tooth?

Badly Decayed Tooth If a tooth is extensively destroyed by carious process, it cannot be restored to its proper form & shape by any filling material.

How to decide whether to place a filling or a crown on a carious tooth?

If there is a small cavity in a tooth it can be successfully restored by a filling but placement of filling in a large cavity can hamper the integrity of a tooth structure and may cause its fracture. To retain the filling in the tooth, an adequate amount of tooth structure should be present. A filling which is greater than 1/3rd the width of a tooth is considered a large filling which can compromise the strength of a tooth.


Fracture of a tooth when filling is placed in a large cavity


Crown placement over a tooth prevents its fracture by encasing the tooth structure

Cracked Tooth: A crack may appear in a tooth due to excessive chewing forces or a large filling. Treatment of a cracked tooth depends on the position and depth of crack. If crack affects one or more cusps of the tooth then a crown has to be placed on the tooth. If crack is deep and reaches the pulp of tooth, then first a Root Canal Treatment is done and then tooth is covered by a crown. If crack is present very near to the gum line of tooth, then the gum line of the tooth has to be raised and then the crown is placed on the tooth. But if a crack is present in the root of the tooth, then the tooth has to be extracted and replaced by a bridge or implant.

Root Canal Treated Tooth: If the tooth has undergone Root Canal Treatment (RCT), it may become weakened during preparation of access cavity and it also gets brittle due to loss of fluid substance of the tooth during RCT. So, it is more prone to fracture as compared to a normal tooth. Thus it should be covered by a crown to minimize the chances of its fracture especially if large cavity is created in the tooth during RCT.

In certain cases due to extensive caries more than 2/3rd of the crown structure of tooth is lost; such a tooth is not able to support an artificial crown. So, firstly a post is placed inside the root of tooth, core build up is done and then crown is placed over post and core.

Placement of post and core build up Crown placement over core build up

Fractured Tooth: If tooth is fractured to such an extent that it cannot be restored by a filling, then placement of crown becomes inevitable to restore shape, form and function of tooth.

A fractured tooth

Amelogenesis Imperfecta: It is a hereditary condition in which enamel portion of tooth is very brittle, it gets fractured very easily leaving the dentin of the tooth uncovered which further leads to tooth sensitivity. Then the dentin being softer than enamel wears off easily and the pulp of the tooth may get exposed which causes severe pain. So, to protect the teeth affected by amelogenesis imperfecta, they should be covered by crown.

Dentinogenesis Imperfecta: It is a hereditary condition in which dentin of the tooth is defective. So, dentin cannot properly support the enamel leading to wearing of both enamel and dentin casing pulp exposure. So, teeth affected by dentinogenesis imperfecta are protected by their restoration with crowns.

Discolored Teeth: Certain discolorations cannot be treated by bleaching procedures such as discoloration due to severe fluorosis and tetracycline staining. Teeth with such discolorations are covered by crowns so that their color matches with that of adjacent non affected teeth and they are esthetically pleasing.

For Prosthetic Purposes: In some cases of a removable partial denture and tooth supported overdenture, teeth have to be covered by crowns to give them a proper contour so that they can properly support a denture. In fixed partial denture (bridge) cases, to replace a missing tooth by a bridge, teeth immediately adjacent to the space have to be covered by crown to support the artificially replaced tooth.

Crown placed over 2nd premolar and 2nd molar to replace missing 1st molar

Nursing Bottle Caries: In children affected with nursing bottle caries syndrome, deciduous (milk) teeth get extensively damaged at a very faster rate especially the upper front teeth. So, they should be covered with temporary crowns not only for proper function & esthetics but also to maintain the arch length integrity so that permanent teeth can erupt at a proper place.

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Common Dental Problems

Virtually all teeth problems can be solved by the dentist. The result is not only an improvement in the smile but also an improvement in appearance and the overall quality of life. Having beautiful teeth enhances self esteem and one will no longer have to feel awkward when meeting new people or speaking in front of others. With perfect teeth, one can eat, talk, and laugh with confidence.

One of the most common teeth problems encountered is discolored teeth. There are several reasons why teeth lose their whiteness. Certain drinks like coffee, tea, and wines can stain teeth. Smoking or chewing tobacco can also stain teeth. Poor dental hygiene and inadequate brushing is also a contributing factor. Genetics also plays a role in the color of the teeth and some people just have naturally whiter teeth. With age, the outer layer of the teeth naturally wears away, revealing the dentin layer, which is naturally yellowish in color. One can prevent teeth discoloration by improving dental hygiene, regular flossing, and visiting the dentist for checkups and cleaning twice a year. Today, there are also treatment options available to whiten the teeth. Applying a bleaching agent to the enamel can remove discoloration. A light activated bleaching gel can also significantly whiten teeth in less than an hour although follow up treatments are needed. The teeth can also be covered with bonding materials. Another treatment method is by applying veneers, which may be thin composite or dental porcelain shells that are placed on the outer surfaces to cover the stained natural teeth.

Worn or cracked teeth are usually due to grinding and chewing on hard objects. The teeth can hurt when chewing or when the teeth are exposed to extremes in temperature. The treatment will depend on the type and extent of the crack. Sometimes, severely cracked teeth can no longer be repaired and would need to be extracted. This is the reason why regular visits to the dentist are very important. The dentist can spot hairline cracks, thus preventing further damage. Cracks can sometimes be restored with filling materials. If the damage has reached the nerve, a root canal treatment is done and a crown is placed to restore the tooth. In vertical breaks or split tooth or when the tooth has weakened from a cavity, the tooth may have to be removed.

Crooked teeth can adversely affect self confidence. Conventional braces have been used for years to move the teeth gradually and eventually straighten them. Typically, it takes two to three years before these can be removed. Today, there is an option not to wear these ugly metal wire braces. Especially for adults, metal braces across the teeth can be deemed unattractive. Invisible braces are made of clear plastic and are removable teeth aligners. These also require fewer return visits to the dentist or orthodontist so they are suitable even for busy people.

Another common problem is misshapen teeth. Teeth can be misshapen either naturally or as a result of extensive wear and tear. Teeth that are naturally misshapen can be covered with veneers or can be reshaped using dental bonding techniques. Porcelain veneers are thin shells that fit snugly over the natural teeth and are very effective in hiding misshapen teeth. The result is a perfect smile.

Dental implants are the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth. Unlike removable dentures, dental implants are long term or permanent replacements. A dental surgeon places a titanium metal in the jawbone. After three to six months, this is naturally and completely fused with the jawbone. An abutment is then fitted over the implant and a crown is fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance. Dental implants are becoming the preferred choice over bridges or removable dentures because they not only look and feel natural, they prevent bone loss that would generally occur with tooth loss.

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Abscess – What is it

What Is It?

An abscess is a limited area of pus formed as a result of a bacterial infection. The body’s immune system reacts to the infection, and sends white blood cells to the area to try to get rid of the bacteria. Pus is a mixture of live and dead white blood cells, enzymes and parts of destroyed cells and tissues. When there is no way for pus to drain, it forms an abscess.

Abscesses can form in almost every part of the body. In the mouth, abscesses form in gum tissue or in the roots of teeth and in the surrounding areas of the tooth. They can be caused by trauma (food or debris embedded deep in the gum), by bacteria that enters through a cavity and gets into the dental pulp, or from a deep periodontal pocket. People with a lowered resistance to infection are at increased risk of developing an abscess. At first, the abscess may cause a toothache, which can be severe. The tooth’s nerve can become infected and the infection can burrow through to the gum, forming a visible boil that can rupture in the mouth. Once the abscess ruptures, the pain often decreases significantly, but dental treatment is still necessary. If the abscess does not drain, the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck and can become life threatening.

Symptoms

The main symptom is persistent, throbbing pain. At first, the tooth will be sensitive to heat and pressure while chewing. Later, you may develop a fever. Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or in the neck can be tender and you may feel pain in the sinus area. If the abscess ruptures, a sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting fluid will spill into the mouth.

Diagnosis

Usually, your dentist can diagnose a tooth abscess by examining your mouth. He or she may push on the swollen area of the gum and do a pulp test on the affected tooth to see if it is still alive. A pulp test can involve:

  • Gentle tapping (percussion) on the tooth
  • Temperature testing
  • Using an electric tester on the tooth

Your dentist also may take an X-ray to look for bone erosion around the tip of the tooth’s root.

Expected Duration

Once the abscess is drained, most symptoms go away immediately or within a few days, but the abscess will not be cured unless the cause is eliminated.

Prevention

Good oral hygiene can help prevent abscesses by keeping teeth and gums free of food and debris. Regular dental checkups are also important. If you have a weakened immune system because of medication or another condition, let your dentist know before every appointment. You may receive antibiotics before the appointment to reduce the risk of infection.

Treatment

Saving an abscessed tooth begins with draining the infection, which usually relieves pain and removes much of the infection. Root canal treatment may be necessary and should be started as soon as possible to remove diseased tissue.

If the abscess involves gum tissue, your dentist may suggest that you rinse with warm salt water (1/8 of a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) a few times a day for several days. You may be prescribed antibiotics to help make sure the infection has been eliminated. Have dental X-rays performed six months later to confirm if healthy bone and tissue are filling the area of the abscess. If the bone does not fill in after the treatment, you may need to visit a periodontist who can surgically reshape the gum so that it is easier to keep clean, or an endodontist who can surgically remove a persistent abscess.

When To Call A Professional

If you have a toothache or notice evidence of an abscess on your gum, visit your dentist. Even if the abscess drains and the pain decreases, a visit to the dentist for complete treatment is crucial.

Prognosis

The outlook is excellent if detected promptly and treated appropriately.

For more information, please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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How to Fix Broken Teeth – When To Seek Repairs

Just the thought of oral care is often enough to make some patients avoid the dentist altogether. Others do not keep regular appointments because they do not know how to obtain affordable dental coverage. While avoiding regular oral maintenance can eventually lead to serious problems, immediate dental coverage is even more important if you suddenly experience a broken tooth.

Minor Fractures

  • Chips and “Craze Lines” – These are mild cracks in your outer enamel.  Your dentist can file and polish any of these rough spots that you see or have been feeling with your tongue.
  • Crack(s) Down to the Nerve – Don’t be fooled if the pieces appear intact for the time being. Your dentist may give your tooth filling(s) and a grounding to stabilize it. If the nerve is damaged, you may also need a root canal1.
  • Broken Cusps – These are breaks in the pointed chewing surfaces of your teeth. Often, these do not require treatment at all. If they do, your dentist may give you an inlay or crown2 to maintain the tooth’s shape and integrity.

More Serious Fractures

  • Severe Fracture with Exposed Nerve – Signs of this are a good deal of pain and bleeding. Your dentist will treat this with a root canal, topped off with a crown or filling.
  • Vertical Fracture – This is when your tooth splits vertically into two pieces, causing damage to the root. Your back molars have more than one root, so if the break occurs in one of these teeth, your dentist may be able to crown it after performing a root canal. If none of the roots can be saved, your tooth will have to be extracted.
  • Root to Surface Fracture – These fractures work their way up to the chewing surface. Because the area often becomes infected, these breaks are painful and frequently result in extraction.

When Should I Visit the Dentist For My Broken Tooth?

You should head to the dentist if you notice twinges of pain when consuming food and drinks that are very hot or very cold, or if you have severe, lingering pain in the tooth, a potential sign of nerve damage.

Situations When Teeth Can Crack or Fracture

  • A fall or hit in the mouth
  • Biting down very hard on something
  • Weakening of enamel by tooth decay

Some fractures result in intense pain, but others have symptoms which are less acute. Regardless of the severity of your pain, broken teeth need to be fixed in a timely manner, and without breaking the bank! An affordable discount plan can help provide you the emergency dental coverage you need.

Why Do I Have to Visit the Dentist?

Your dentist can determine if a cavity has caused or exacerbated the break, and treat the decay before it spreads further. He or she can also diagnose any damage to the nerve inside your tooth, damage that will require more severe treatment and cause you great pain if ignored.

Why Do I Need Dental Coverage for a Broken Tooth?

As you can see, fixes for broken teeth run the gamut from a quick polish to root canal to extraction. As you might imagine, there is a very wide spectrum of prices you could pay for various treatments. A quick polish and filing may only cost you a few extra dollars, while other procedures could easily the thousand-dollar threshold if you do not have dental coverage.

When you realize that you have a cracked or fractured tooth, one of the first thoughts you may have is, “How can I make this affordable?” Fortunately, you do not need to tackle this expense on your own. There are excellent discount dental plans that can provide the affordable dental care you need. Don’t suffer in silence with a cracked or broken tooth. If you have a broken tooth, you may want to investigate cheap dental coverage today. With the money you save, you will have good reason to smile.

1 Root Canal: This endodontic therapy involves removal of a tooth’s inner pulp tissue to prevent further damage or infection. After the pulp is taken out, the dentist cuts out the nerve and cleans out the inside of the tooth. He or she then fills the root cavity with a solid substance and seals the area. Though this procedure is commonly thought to be very painful, if properly performed you will feel little. Many dentists use local anesthesia during root canals and prescribe pain relievers afterward. Discount plans often provide dental coverage of this expensive procedure, saving patients hundreds of dollars.

2 Crown: A crown, which will cap or encase your remaining tooth, often greatly increases the likelihood of a successful, long lasting root canal. A crown is often necessary to maintain the shape and effectiveness of a tooth treated with a root canal. It will help the tooth to function properly without breaking. The crown process begins with a tooth impression. The impression is then sent to a lab expert, who will fabricate a crown to match your enamel. At a later visit, your dentist will insert and cement it in place. Many crowns will last ten years or more, and may need to be replaced overtime.

For more information, please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.

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Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges

Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?

What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.

How do Crowns Work?
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.

Your dentist may recommend a crown to:

  • Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment

How do Bridges Work?
A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.

Using this impression, a dental lab then makes your crown or bridge, in the material your dentist specifies. A temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.

How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy byBrushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.

Crowns
Porcelain Gold
Full porcelain fused to metal. Full cast goldcrown.
Bridges
Space Bridge Cemented
Teeth around the space are prepared. The bridge is mounted and adjusted for fit and comfort. The bridge is cemented into position.

Please call Dr. Jeffrey Fester in Roswell, GA, 770.587.4202 to schedule a free consultation.