A root canal
treatment is needed when a tooth's nerve and associated blood vessels are
irreversibly damaged. They may be damaged by trauma, which may fracture a
tooth, or by having deep decay that has infected the nerve. The end result
is the same, an infection that leads to an abcess at the base of the
tooth. Usually there is a throbbing pain in the tooth especially noticable
when laying horizontal, ie. in bed at night. There also may be a swelling
in your jaw and it may be painful to chew on. Your tooth can usually be
saved at this time.
abcess remains too long the tooth dies and the bone around the tooth is
destroyed. The tooth must be removed if this happens.
A dentist or endodontist
(root canal specialist) can save a tooth by removing the diseased nerve
tissue, cleansing and then filling the nerve chamber with a rubberlike
material. This procedure can be done in one to three or more visits
depending on the condition of the nerve. If there is an abcess antibiotic
therapy may be used as well as possibly draining the infected site.
disease is an inflammation or infection of the supporting structures of
the teeth, the bone and the surrounding gum tissue. It is caused by a
sticky, colorless film that is constantly forming on your teeth. This film
is called plaque. If this film is not cleaned off the teeth with proper
brushing and flossing the bacteria in the plaque cause an inflammation of
the gum tissue called gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis are
red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums. If you have any of these symptoms
it would be wise to contact a dentist as soon as possible. If left
untreated it progresses to periodontitis.
Periodontitis occurrs when
the plaque starts to calcify and become calculus or tartar. This then
migrates under the gum tissue causing pocketing around the teeth and
starts to destroy the bone tissue. If left long enough the entire
supporting structure is destroyed and the tooth or teeth are lost.
Unfortunately, this disease is found in 3 out of 4 adults over 35. The
symptoms of periodontitis are loose or shifting teeth, gum tissue
separating from your teeth, longer appearing teeth, and/or pus or an
unpleasant taste or odor coming from your mouth.
Gingivitis can be treated at
home by properly brushing and flossing daily to remove the bacteria laden
plaque. Periodontitis can't be treated at home. The tartar that forms
under your gums must be cleaned off by a dentist or hygienist. This
procedure is called root planing and scaling. If caught early enough
minimum damage of the supporting structures occur and there is a good
prognosis to keep the teeth. If it is more advanced other therapies
including gum surgery or bone regeneration may have to be performed.In the
worst case the teeth may have to be pulled.
So, eating well balanced
meals, avoiding snacking (especially sweets), regular brushing, flossing
and regular check-ups should limit your risk of getting gum disease.
What is a Crown?
A crown is the part
of the tooth that you can see above the gums. If a dentist tells you 'Your
tooth needs a crown' he is telling you is that your natural crown has
broken or has been weakened and therefore a laboratory made or CEREC
(one-visit) made crown or cover will be needed to restore your tooth. It
may have been weakened by a fracture or crack in the tooth, an overly
large silver filling, or having root canal therapy. Most crowns we make
are made of either solid porcelain, porcelain fused to metal or a
metal ( gold alloy).
Repairing your tooth with a porcelain crown will usually take
one appointment with CEREC.
At the appointment Dr.
Widen will numb the area and prepare the tooth by removing 1.5-2
millimeters of the natural crown away until the weakened portion of the
tooth is removed and solid tooth structure remains making sure there is
sufficient space for a porcelain crown to fit over the tooth. This
procedure requires a great deal of skill and precision to ensure a
successful result. The porcelain crown must fit perfectly to prevent
further decay and gum disease. This crown will also restore the patients
bite, prevent shifting of the teeth and must look good. After the
preparation is completed, an optical impression of the area is taken and
sent to the computer to be designed. Dr. Widen will design the crown and
send the information to the milling unit for fabrication. Then the crown
is bonded or cemented to your natural tooth. Your new crown should look
natural and feel comfortable in your mouth. It is vital that you take care
of the crowned tooth. The margins are areas that are susceptible to decay
and must be kept clean. If you take care of your crowns they can last 5 to
15 years or even longer.
Crowns are not used as frequently in cosmetic dentistry as they once were
because of more conservative
procedures like porcelain onlays, veneers, bonding, and bleaching.
However, if your front teeth have been severely damaged by decay or have
large fillings in them or perhaps they are rotated or crooked and require
the extra strength that a crown could provide you may be a candidate for a
crown. Dentists who have experience in cosmetic dentistry understand the
benefits of using the most conservative treatment possible to achieve the
desired results and can advise you of the benefits of each.