Posts for: January, 2018
Is your tooth damaged? Adding a dental crown can restore it and prevent additional damage. The dentists at Unique Dental Care in North Attleboro, MA, explains how you can benefit from dental crowns.
How do teeth become damaged?
You've probably heard that teeth are one of the toughest parts of your body. Although it's true that your teeth are very strong, they're not indestructible. They can crack or break if you receive a blow to your mouth or bite into a very hard food or object. In fact, using your teeth to open bottles, packages or other objects is a common way to break teeth. As you get older, your teeth naturally become more brittle, which increase the risk of damage. In some cases, your risk of damage rises if you've had a procedure that helped your tooth, yet made it more fragile, such as root canal therapy.
Failing to restore a damaged tooth can cause several problems. If you don't take steps to protect cracked or fragile teeth, they may eventually break. Cracks also allow bacteria to enter your teeth, increasing the likelihood of a cavity or infection. Broken teeth are unattractive and make it difficult to chew, plus the jagged edges may cut your lips or mouth.
How do dental crowns improve the condition of damaged teeth?
Dental crowns are hollow restorations made of porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic. They're placed on top of a tooth after it's been reduced in size and held in place with dental cement. Once in place, crowns restore the normal height and width of teeth, making it possible to chew with teeth that have have broken. Crowns also absorb the biting forces generated when you chew, which greatly reduces the risk that a damaged tooth will fracture.
In addition to restoring damaged teeth, crowns can also be used to cover chips or other flaws, change the shape of teeth or lengthen them.
When are crowns recommended?
When you visit our North Attleboro office, we may recommend a crown if:
- Your tooth has broken. (In some cases, you may also need a root canal.)
- You recently received a root canal or large filling.
- You have a cavity that's too large to be restored by a filling, inlay or onlay.
- You have a crack in your tooth.
- Your tooth is brittle and in danger of breaking or cracking.
- You're unhappy with the appearance of your tooth.
Protect your teeth with dental crowns! Call the dentists at Unique Dental Care in North Attleboro, MA, at (508) 399-8800 to schedule an appointment.
So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?
Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!
Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.
If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.
If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.
A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.
Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”
Chronic jaw pain and limited jaw mobility are two common symptoms of a group of conditions known as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or TMD). Several effective treatments have developed over the years, despite the fact that the underlying causes for TMD remain an elusive quarry for medical researchers.
But we may now have a promising new lead in understanding TMD: a possible link between it and other systemic inflammatory diseases. In recent study researchers interviewed over 1,500 people with TMD about various aspects of their lives. Nearly two-thirds reported at least three or more other inflammatory health conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic headaches or rheumatoid arthritis.
These statistics suggest a relationship between TMD and these other conditions. Further exploration of these possible links could result not only in a greater understanding of TMD but better treatment strategies for it and the other related conditions.
In the meantime, though, what can you do if you're currently dealing with TMD?
As of now the approaches with the best results continue to be conservative, non-invasive techniques we've used for several years. Thermal therapies like hot or cold compresses to the jaw area, for example, are quite effective in providing pain relief, and muscle relaxant drugs have proven beneficial for improving jaw mobility.
More radical approaches like jaw surgery have also come into prominence. But there's a caveat here: a significant number of people find their conditions don't improve or may even worsen. In the study previously mentioned, only 38% of respondents who had undergone jaw surgery saw any range of improvement (from slight to significant); by contrast, 28% indicated no change in symptoms and 46% said they were worse off.
It's important, then, that you thoroughly discuss your condition with your dentist, verifying first that you have TMD.Â Together you can develop a treatment plan to relieve pain and restore jaw function. If your dentist or surgeon suggests surgery, consider seeking a second opinion before choosing this more radical approach.
Hopefully, further research into the causes and relationships of TMD with other health conditions will yield still better treatments. In the meantime, you may still find relief and improve your quality of life with the proven techniques available now.
If you would like more information on treatments for chronic jaw pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”