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Illustrations: How A Tooth Decays

Illustrations: How A Tooth Decays

Healthy Tooth
Healthy Tooth
Enamel is the hard outer crystal-like layer. Dentin is the softer layer beneath the enamel. The pulp chamber contains nerves and blood vessels and is considered the living part of the tooth.

White Spots
White Spots
Bacteria that are exposed to sugars or carbohydrates can make acid, which attacks the crystal-like substance in the tooth’s outer surface. This process is known as demineralization. The first sign of this is a chalky white spot. At this stage, the decay process can be reversed. Using fluorides at home and in the dental office can help the tooth repair itself.

Enamel Decay
Enamel Decay
Demineralization continues. Enamel starts to break down. Once the enamel surface is broken, the tooth can no longer repair itself. The cavity has to be cleaned and restored by a dentist.

Dentin Decay
Dentin Decay
The decay reaches into the dentin where it can spread and undermine the enamel.

Pulp Involvement
Pulp Involvement
If decay is left untreated, it will reach the tooth’s pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The pulp becomes infected. An abscess (swelling) or a fistula (opening to the surface of the gum) can form in the soft tissues.

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

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Apicoectomy

What Is It?

Your teeth are held in place by roots that extend into your jawbone. Front teeth usually have one root. Other teeth, such as your premolars and molars, have two or more roots. The tip of each root is called the apex. Nerves and blood vessels enter the tooth through the apex, travel through a canal inside the root, and into the pulp chamber, which is inside the crown (the part of the tooth visible in the mouth).

An apicoectomy may be needed when an infection develops or persists after root canal treatment,or retreatment. During root canal treatment, the canals are cleaned, and inflamed or infected tissue is removed. Root canals are very complex, with many small branches off the main canal. Sometimes, even after root canal treatment, infected debris can remain in these branches and possibly prevent healing or cause re-infection later. In an apicoectomy, the root tip, or apex, is removed along with the infected tissue. A filling is then placed to seal the end of the root.

An apicoectomy is sometimes called endodontic microsurgery because the procedure is done under an operating microscope.

What It’s Used For

If a root canal becomes infected again after a root canal has been done, it’s often because of a problem near the apex of the root. Your dentist can do an apicoectomy to fix the problem so the tooth doesn’t need to be extracted. An apicoectomy is done only after a tooth has had at least one root canal procedure.

In many cases, a second root canal treatment is considered before an apicoectomy. With advances in technology, dentists often can detect additional canals that were not adequately treated and can clear up the infection by doing a second root canal procedure, thus avoiding the need for an apicoectomy.

An apicoectomy is not the same as a root resection. In a root resection, an entire root is removed, rather than just the tip.

Preparation

Before the procedure, you will have a consultation with your dentist. Your general dentist can do the apicoectomy, but, with the advances in endodontic microsurgery, it is best to be referred to an endodontist.

Your dentist may take X-raysand you may be given an antimicrobial mouth rinse, anti-inflammatory medication and/or antibiotics before the surgery.

If you have high blood pressure or know that you have problems with the epinephrine in local anesthetics, let your dentist know at the consultation. The local anesthetic used for an apicoectomy has about twice as much epinephrine (similar to adrenaline) as the anesthetics used when you get a filling. The extra epinephrine constricts your blood vessels to reduce bleeding near the surgical site so the endodontist can see the root. You may feel your heart rate speed up after you receive the local anesthetic, but this will subside after a few minutes.

How It’s Done

The endodontist will cut and lift the gum away from the tooth so the root is easily accessible. The infected tissue will be removed along with the last few millimeters of the root tip. He or she will use a dye that highlights cracks and fractures in the tooth. If the tooth is cracked or fractured, it may have to be extracted, and the apicoectomy will not continue.

To complete the apicoectomy, 3 to 4 millimeters of the tooth’s canal are cleaned and sealed. The cleaning usually is done under a microscope using ultrasonic instruments. Use of a surgical microscope increases the chances for success because the light and magnification allow the endodontist to see the area better. Your endodontist then will take an X-ray of the area before suturing the tissue back in place.

Most apicoectomies take between 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the location of the tooth and the complexity of the root structure. Procedures on front teeth are generally the shortest. Those on lower molars generally take the longest.

Follow-Up

You will receive instructions from your endodontist about which medications to take and what you can eat or drink. You should ice the area for 10 to 12 hours after the surgery, and rest during that time.

The area may bruise and swell. It may be more swollen the second day after the procedure than the first day. Any pain usually can be controlled with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofem (Advil, Motrin and others) or prescription medication.

To allow for healing, you should avoid brushing the area, rinsing vigorously, smoking or eating crunchy or hard foods. Do not lift your lip to examine the area, because this can disrupt blood-clot formation and loosen the sutures.

You may have some numbness in the area for days or weeks from the trauma of the surgery. This does not mean that nerves have been damaged. Tell your dentist about any numbness you experience.

Your stitches will be removed 2 to 7 days after the procedure, and all soreness and swelling are usually gone by 14 days after the procedure.

Even though an apicoectomy is considered surgery, many people say that recovering from an apicoectomy is easier than recovering from the original root-canal treatment.

Risks

The endodontist will review the risks of the procedure at the consultation appointment. The main risk is that the surgery may not work and the tooth may need to be extracted.

Depending on where the tooth is located, there may be other risks. If the tooth is in the back of your upper jaw, the infection can involve your sinuses, and your dentist may suggest antibiotics and decongestants. The roots of the back teeth in the lower jaw are close to some major nerves, so surgery on one of these teeth carries a slight risk of nerve damage. However, your endodontist will use your X-rays to see how close the roots are to the nerves, and the chances of anything happening are extremely small.

An apicoectomy is usually a permanent solution, and should last for the life of the tooth.

When To Call a Professional

If you’re having any pain or swelling from a tooth that has had root-canal treatment, contact your dentist, who will take X-rays and do an exam. If your dentist feels you need an apicoectomy, you will need to set up an appointment for a consultation.

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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Cheilosis/Cheilitis

What Is It?

Cheilosis (also called cheilitis) is a painful inflammation and cracking of the corners of the mouth. It sometimes occurs on only one side of the mouth, but usually involves both sides. This disorder occurs most frequently in people with ill-fitting dentures that fail to adequately separate the upper and lower jaws. People with habits that irritate the corners of the mouth, like licking or rubbing those areas, also are more likely to develop cheilosis. Moisture gathers in skin folds at the corner of the mouth and provides a fertile environment for the formation of yeast (Candida) infections.

People with health disorders such as anemia, diabetes and immune deficiencies are particularly vulnerable.

Symptoms

Cracking, painful inflammation and sometimes weeping at the corners of the mouth.

Diagnosis

Your dentist or physician first will look to see if your dentures are fitting properly. He or she also will ask about your oral habits, such as licking the corners of your mouth. Blood tests may be done to test for anemias or immune deficiencies, and a smear or culture from the area may be tested to detect bacterial or yeast infections.

Expected Duration

Once the underlying cause is corrected, healing usually is quick.

Prevention

If you wear dentures, visit your dentist to be sure they fit properly and adequately support the face. Avoid licking or rubbing the corners of your mouth.

Treatment

Treatment focuses on eliminating causes such as oral habits or poorly fitting dentures. Infections may be treated with steroids or antifungal or antibacterial medications applied directly to the affected area. Severe infections, particularly in people with underlying medical problems, may require antifungal drugs that are taken orally.

When To Call A Professional

If you experience constant or repeat inflammation in the corners of your mouth, you should contact your dentist or doctor.

Prognosis

Good, once the cause has been eliminated.

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

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Canker Sores

What Is It?

This disease causes painful, round ulcers to develop on the linings of the cheeks and lips, the tongue or the base of the gums. The tendency to develop these ulcers is inherited. Ulcers also can be associated with other diseases, particularly connective tissue diseases such as lupus or Behçet’s syndrome, which cause symptoms on the eyes and genitals as well as the mouth. There can be one or many ulcers at the same time, and they are recurrent, which means they keep returning. Multiple ulcers are scattered across the lining of the mouth, not clustered. Most people get one to three of these lesions at each episode, but a small number of people get more than a dozen ulcers at a time.

The cause of canker sores is not known, but most theories involve an immune abnormality. Certain blood diseases, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, allergies, trauma and Crohn’s disease cause similar ulcers. Canker sores are often confused with cold sores, which are caused by a herpes virus.

Approximately 17% of the population has recurrent aphthous stomatitis, which is classified into three categories:

  • Minor ulcers are less than 1 centimeter (slightly less then ½inch) in diameter and do not leave scars. The sores usually heal within two weeks.
  • Major ulcers (also called Sutton’s disease) are almost ½ inch or more in diameter, take longer than minor ulcers to heal and may leave scars.
  • Herpetiform ulcers are clusters of dozens of smaller ulcers. This form is rare.

People tend to have two to six ulcers per episode and have several episodes each year. For most people, canker sores are merely an annoyance, but some people experience large, painful, frequent sores that can reach 2 to 4 centimeters in diameter. The ulcers can interfere with speech and eating and can last for weeks to months, causing significant pain and disability. When they do heal, they may leave scars that can make it more difficult to move the tongue and can destroy oral tissue.

Symptoms

You may feel a burning or tingling sensation in an area of inflammation before an ulcer appears. An ulcer takes two to three days to form completely. The sores are round, shallow and symmetric, which means they are the same on all sides. The are painful. They usually are found on the inner part of the lips and cheeks and the tongue.

Diagnosis

Canker sores are the most common recurring oral ulcers and are diagnosed mostly by process of elimination. If the ulcers become more frequent or severe, are accompanied by other symptoms (such as rashes, joint pain, fevers or diarrhea) or are larger than about ½inch in diameter, you should visit your dentist or physician. He or she will try to rule out blood diseases, connective tissue diseases, drug reactions and skin disorders. A biopsy and blood tests may be required to rule out other conditions or diseases.

Expected Duration

The painful stage lasts 3 to 10 days, and most canker sores disappear within 2 weeks.

Prevention

There is no way to prevent canker sores.

Treatment

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. Rinsing with a warm-water solution and eating bland foods can minimize discomfort. Anesthetic medications or over-the-counter agents that are placed directly on the sores to coat them also may help.

People with more severe disease may need steroid medications placed on the lesions. These medications significantly shorten the healing time of the ulcers and prevent them from becoming larger. Other possible treatments include placing a medication called chlortetracycline (Aureomycin) on the sores or injecting steroids into the sores. In very severe, disabling cases, your dentist may prescribe oral medication.

When To Call a Professional

Canker sores usually are painful but are not a significant risk to your health. However, if you have severe, recurring canker sores, or if they are becoming worse, consult your dentist or physician. He or she may do tests to look for blood problems such as anemias or deficiencies of iron, folate or vitamin B12. Some research has shown that canker sores improve when these deficiencies are treated. Persistent or large ulcers can also occur as a part of other, more significant, disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, connective tissue diseases, drug allergies, arthritic disorders, inflammatory skin disorders and cancer.

Prognosis

Most canker sores clear up without treatment and do not leave scars, although they usually return.

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

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Bringing Teeth into Alignment with Orthodontic Treatment

crooked teethThe American Association of Orthodontists reports that in the United States 4.5 million people are wearing braces or other dental appliances to straighten teeth and provide a healthy, beautiful smile (1). As many of us know, an orthodontist is a dentist with additional clinical training to treat malocclusions (improper bites), which may result from tooth irregularity and jaw issues.

Why Do Teeth Become Crooked?

Terry Pracht, DDS, past president of the American Association of Orthodontics says that both heredity and environmental factors can create crooked teeth and bite problems. Dr. Pracht mentions that hereditary factors include crowded teeth, teeth where there is too much space and malocclusions. He also mentions that crooked teeth can be caused by thumb sucking and tongue thrusting as well as accidents occurring to the jaw (1).

What are Treatment Options to Straighten Teeth or Malocclusions?

There are three stages of orthodontic treatment. The first is when appliances are used to gain space in the mouth. For example, palatal expanders are used to expand the width of the palate and lingual bars are used to expand the lower jaw. The active corrective stage is next when the braces are placed on the teeth. The teeth are then adjusted and then straightened and malocclusions are corrected over a period of time based upon the severity of the irregularity of the teeth and jaw issues. The third stage is the retention stage after braces are removed and when the teeth are monitored through the use of a retainer (removable or fixed) and semi-annual orthodontic visits are conducted to maintain the straightened smile.

Types of Braces

Braces from over 30 or so years ago included large metal bands that were enclosed and cemented around each tooth. Braces can be attached to the cheek side of the teeth as well as the tongue side of the teeth depending on what your orthodontist recommends to you for treatment. Braces, arch wires and bands can be colorful and a lot of fun for children, adolescents and teenagers to choose from.

Today, tiny brackets are placed onto the front surface of the tooth and are made of metal or ceramic. The brackets are bonded to the front tooth surface with a glue-like material and metal bands can be used on the back teeth. Arch wires are placed inside the brackets and are made of a heat-activated nickel-titanium source that can become warm due to the temperature in the mouth, which will allow it to apply constant pressure on the teeth as well as when the arch wires are adjusted at the orthodontist’s office.

Another newer alternative to braces is the Invisalign system which uses a series of clear removable aligners that are worn during the day and night to help in moving teeth into the correct alignment. When eating or brushing and flossing, the aligners may be removed.

Caring for Braces

Your orthodontist, dentist or dental hygienist will provide you with thorough instruction of how to properly clean your braces. There are many toothbrushes you can use both manual (specifically designed for orthodontic patients), power, electric or sonic. Ask your dental professional which is be best for you. Brushing should be conducted at least 2-3 times per day at a 45 degree angle in a back and forth motion. Be sure to remove plaque at the gum line to prevent gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue). Be sure to angle the toothbrush at the gum line and then gently brush around the brackets to remove plaque and food debris.

It is very important to clean in between your teeth with a floss threader and floss, a stimudent (tooth pick cleaner) or a proxabrush (interproximal cleaning brush) may be used if there is space between the teeth. Oral irrigators may be recommended to remove food debris and irrigate the gum tissue to remove disease and odor-causing bacteria that may be there if you have gingivitis. An antibacterial toothpaste and over-the-counter antimicrobial mouth rinses could also be used with the oral irrigator or alone.

How to Maintain a Smile After the Braces are Off

After your orthodontist has determined that your braces can be removed, it is very important that a retainer (a plastic appliance) be worn during the day or night as recommended by them. The retainer can be cleaned with warm water or toothpaste and a toothbrush after you wear it and placed in a plastic container when not in use.

See your dental professional for a twice a year professional cleaning and the orthodontist for regular maintenance appointments.

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 Find Dental Coverage for Dentures

dental coverage for dentures

Getting dentures is not a simple procedure. In fact, it involves a great deal of dental work. Most individual and group insurance does not cover this restorative procedure, even if it is necessary in order to take the place of missing or decayed teeth. Because the procedure can be expensive, it is definitely worth your while to do everything you can to find affordable dental coverage for your dentures.

Do Your Homework

Take some time to learn the basics about dental insurance. In general, there are two types: preventive and restorative. Preventive refers to check-ups, cleanings, and other care that is designed to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Restorative, on the other hand, describes such interventions as endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics and implants. Getting dentures falls into this category.

Ask the Important Question

Now that you have a layperson’s knowledge about dental insurance, you need to learn specifically about your own coverage. Unfortunately, many patients know little or nothing about the details of their plan, especially when it comes to what procedures will be covered and to what extent. Now that you know you need dentures, you should ask your insurer’s member services department if they will be covered. Usually, dentures fall under the umbrella of “major care.” If you are fortunate, your plan might pay for up to 50% of the cost.

What if I’m Not Covered?

If your current plan falls short, you might have to do some scrambling. If your coverage is furnished by your employer, ask when the next open enrollment window is and see if there are other companies who provide better dental coverage for dentures. If so, seriously consider switching. Talk to your employer and learn about all of your options. Even if you must buy your own individual coverage, you may save money in the long run. 

How Technology Can Help

Another valuable avenue you can pursue as you seek as much information as possible about sources of dental coverage is the Internet. With the help of search engines like Yahoo! And Google, you can search the worldwide web to learn about companies both large and small. Often, consumers have taken the time to post reviews which, while they must be taken with a grain of salt, can furnish information and insight.

Don’t Forget About Human Interaction

While obtaining resources online can be an excellent method to expand your knowledge and to figure out what questions to ask, there truly is nothing like face-to-face or phone-to-phone conversation when it comes to getting the facts and understanding them. That is why your next step should be to speak to a local insurance agent or helpful representative about the various options available to you. Explain specifically that you need to get dentures and are looking for dental coverage that will pay as much as possible of the cost. Together, you might find that your best option is an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and that you will need to choose a dentist within the HMO’s network to provide your care. On the other hand, you might choose a PPO (preferred Provider Organization), which allows you to have more freedom of choice when it comes to who will provide your dentures.

Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

If you think you have found the plan that’s right for you, take as much time as you need to investigate all of its fine print. Remember, this will be your dental coverage for at least the next year and it must make sense for your overall care, not just for your denture procedure. Be very clear in your understanding of all out-of-pocket expenses and up-front costs. The more you know now, the less likely is the chance for nasty surprises later.

One More Vital Question to Ask

Before you commit yourself to any dental insurance, you should also investigate one final method of helping to cover the costs of your dentures. Dental discount plans like the Careington 500 Series plan are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional dental insurance. They are gaining traction because they are enabling patients to save a great deal of money for a very low monthly price. They are able to do this because large groups of dentists agree to provide patients with high-quality, lower-priced services, including dentures.

Having your teeth extracted and then being fitted for dentures is a major procedure. It is costly and time-consuming, and you absolutely should feel good about the dentist who gives you your new dentures. Learning all you can about your dental coverage and saving as much money as possible will go a long way toward making getting dentures much easier.

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

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Risks and Benefits of Cosmetic Dental Surgery

Cosmetic dentistry doesn’t have to require taking out a second mortgage on your house. If you really want to improve your smile, there are several affordable dental options. Perfect teeth are not just for the rich and famous. After a few short procedures, you can come out looking like a star yourself for much less money.

Risks

The decision to go forward with a full-mouth makeover is risky because of the cost and the potential for botched results, but the field has improved so much that results are highly guaranteed. The process of covering your teeth with porcelain veneers costs several thousand dollars, and while the results might be stunning, many people don’t think a perfect smile is worth that much. The trick is to go for a combination of several lesser procedures.

More Affordable Options

Some people have found the affordable combination of replacement fillings, tooth whitening and tooth shaping to be highly successful. Old fillings, especially on the front teeth, can detract from your appearance. Old white fillings can become stained and visible on your teeth. Metal fillings, particularly silver, can cause the teeth to look darker from inside since teeth are somewhat translucent. These can look unattractive, especially if your teeth are pointed or uneven.

A dentist can first bleach the teeth and then file them into a more attractive shape. Old discolored or metal fillings can be replaced with new, better-matching ones. This unconventional smile enhancement could cost as little as $1,000 or less at a cheap dentist with a discount plan. Explore different combinations and assess what your own mouth needs. Sometimes it might take only one or two small procedures before your smile is picture-perfect.

Coverage

Insurance companies often won’t cover cosmetic procedures, but there are several affordable dental plans on the market that might help you out by providing a discount on your procedure list. Don’t let exorbitant costs keep you from considering the smile you want. These options can make it much more accessible.
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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Functions of the Teeth

Each permanent tooth serves a specific function, and keeping yours in good shape requires proper oral hygiene. Affordable dental care could make the difference. Your teeth are not just for chewing – their condition also affects your speaking ability, facial shape and general appearance. Maintaining a healthy mouth should be a priority.

Types

Adults normally have 32 permanents, which start to grow in around age 6. The 20 baby ones gradually fall out to make room for the permanents to grow in. A lost permanent tooth will not grow back in, so affordable dental care could be a good investment.

Your pearly whites can be classified into these categories. (This list starts at the back of the mouth and moves toward the front.)

  • Wisdom teeth are usually the last molars to come in. These commonly emerge during the teen years. They appear at the very back of the mouth with two on top and two on the bottom. In many cases they never break through the gum line. People often think that these should be extracted regardless of circumstances, but this is only true if a dentist determines yours will overcrowd the mouth or become infected.
  • Molars have a wide surface for grinding and chewing food. Aside from wisdom teeth (which are also considered molars), adults have eight molars, two on each quadrant of the mouth. They are somewhat flat, with four pointed “corners” known as cusps to help mash food.
  • Premolars, also known as bicuspids, occupy the space between the molars and the cuspids. Adults have eight, with two in each quadrant. These are similar to but smaller than the molars, with only two cusps on the outside edge of each tooth. They are used to crush and tear food.
  • Canines, also called cuspids, are sharp and help the incisors tear food. Adults have only four, one in each quadrant.
  • Lateral incisors have a sharp, chisel-shaped edge for biting food. Adults have four lateral incisors, one in each quadrant.
  • Central incisors are the four front teeth. There are two on the top and two on the bottom. These are shaped similarly to the lateral incisors, except the two on the top are often significantly larger.

How to Take Care of Them

Careful attention to oral hygiene will help maintain healthy teeth as well as cause any problems or inconsistencies to stand out. If problems are noticed early, the issue can be taken care of before it becomes serious. Regular brushing and flossing should be an important part of your daily routine, and checkups and cleanings at the dentist office can keep excess plaque at bay. If you want to keep your pearly whites in working order for a lifetime, you may want to consider a quality, affordable dental plan.

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