Cavities and Fillings
A cavity is a term referring to the active state of decay. Teeth exhibit decay when the natural bacteria in our mouths consume plaque residing on our teeth. As a result, the bacteria release lactic acid causing our teeth to soften. Once a hole has been identified, the soft decay spreads through the tooth. The rate of progression differs for everyone. If detected early, most cavities are addressed with fillings. A filling consists of removing the soft decay on a tooth with a dental drill and replacing the voided are with a tooth-colored filling. Depending on how deep the cavity is, you may want to get this done using local anesthetics so that you are comfortable during the procedure. We at OmniSmiles no longer use the silver (amalgam) fillings. We try not to put any metal in our patients' mouths.
We know there are a lot of horror stories associated with root canals. We ask that you please take them with a grain of salt. In most cases, root canals shouldn’t feel any different than getting a filling. The biggest difference between the two is that root canals are lengthier appointments and may require two whole appointments to complete the procedure.
Root Canals are needed when the nerve of the tooth has been effected. This can happen if a cavity gets too large and enters the nerve of the tooth. Other reasons to need a root canal may be due to trauma, clenching, grinding, fractured teeth and the failure of large existing fillings.
Steps involved for a root canal begin with local anesthetics. Afterward, once Dr. Haddad is sure you are numb and comfortable, minor drilling is done to open the tooth and access the nerve chamber. After gaining access to the nerve, it is gently removed through careful and guided instrumentation. The nerve space, or canal, is then cleaned and disinfected so that a filling material can be placed within the tooth. This completes the root canal. Almost every root canal treated tooth is in need of a crown afterward. The purpose of the crown is to protect the now fragile tooth from fracturing.
Some patients may have gone to an endodontist to have a root canal done. Dr. Haddad is skilled and proficient in providing root canal therapy, so that patients of OmniSmiles’ do not need to go elsewhere. Dr. Haddad personally calls his patients following root canal procedures as a courtesy follow. Contact us to learn more about root canals or to make an appointment today.
Do you know the amount of force behind the average human bite? It’s five hundred pounds per square inch. Double the strength of your average at home power washer. Ideally, that much force is dispersed across all of your teeth evenly and harmoniously. When patients begin to loose teeth, the forces of your bite stay the same, but the amount of teeth accepting the forces get lower. The more teeth that go missing in action, the greater the odds that the remaining teeth fracture and fail. That is why it is so important to replace missing teeth and restore function.
Some teeth are at higher risk for fracture. These teeth usually have very large fillings already within them. The natural tooth structure around the large fillings weaken with time.
The extent of a fracture varies in each case. If a fracture ever extends down the root of the tooth, the tooth is deemed non-restorable and it must be extracted. Some fractures are caught before the tooth actually breaks. This happens often when patients sporadically complain about pain in a tooth while they are chewing. If the fracture does not go down the root of the tooth, it is most likely save-able with varying treatment options.
Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges are tooth shaped thimbles that cover and protect your natural teeth. Crowns and bridges are both fixed, in that they are cemented and usually minimal maintenance following insertion. There are a few different roles a crown plays in dentistry. They are mainly used as a source of protection to prevent damaged teeth from failing. Bridges are crowns that are soldered together to replace a missing space as shown on the illustration to the left.
Reasons for needing crowns include:
- Treat a cracked or fracture tooth
- Cover a tooth following root canal therapy
- Replacing large leaking fillings
- Restore severely worn down teeth
- Address cosmetic needs
- Protect a tooth from breaking
Crowns require two appointments and generally they don’t need to be replaced for 5-15 years. At home oral hygiene as well as regular in-office visits help ensure the crowns will have a long lifespan.