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Eating your favorite foods shouldn’t cause pain, right? But if you’re getting a sharp pang in a particular tooth when you bite—or if you find yourself avoiding chewing on certain teeth altogether—you might have a damaged tooth or a cavity.
When a tooth’s outer enamel becomes compromised, that irritates the nerves within the tooth, often causing pain or sensitivity to certain foods or beverages, such as cold, hot, or sweet ones. Not all tooth damage is painful, however. Sometimes it appears as a white, yellow, brown, or black spot on a tooth, or an entire tooth that’s discolored. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your gums have receded or that one of your teeth wriggles.
Statistics show that 1 in 4 Americans has untreated cavities. But frankly, such untreated dental issues tend to lead to greater problems—among them, losing your teeth. A missing tooth or teeth is not just an aesthetic problem; it can affect how you speak, what you can eat, and the placement of your surrounding teeth.
Fortunately, our dentists in Fairfax, VA, can address your tooth troubles and restore your smile to its full functionality.
Although many of us think of cavities as a rite of passage in childhood, more than 90 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have dental decay. Brushing and flossing twice daily can reduce your risk of cavities, but the bacteria that causes decay is tenacious. Cavity-causing plaque forms on your teeth every day.
If you develop a cavity, a dental filling is a simple and cost-effective way to repair your damaged tooth. Our dentist in Fairfax uses composite fillings, which actually make your tooth stronger by bonding to the natural tooth structure. Because this restorative material is tooth-colored, it also blends in with your natural teeth.
For more severe decay or damage, however, a filling might not be the best fix. A tooth that does not have enough remaining healthy tooth structure to bond with a composite filling often needs a crown.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that goes beyond a mini makeover for your tooth. Although it completely covers the tooth above the gum line, restoring its shape and color, it also strengthens the tooth, allowing it to function normally again.
If you need a crown in Fairfax, our dentists can create one that matches the feel, shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. A properly placed crown looks and feels so natural, you won’t even notice it’s there.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowning or capping a tooth usually takes two visits: one to prepare the tooth and the other to adhere the permanent crown. During the first appointment, we’ll assess how much natural tooth material you have left, then prepare the tooth to fit inside the crown. This involves either building up the remaining tooth material or shaping it along the sides and chewing surface.
Afterward, the dentist will take an impression of your prepared tooth to send to the dental lab. To keep your tooth protected until the permanent crown is ready, we’ll put a temporary crown in place before you leave our office.
During your next visit, we’ll remove the temporary crown and check the shape, color, and fit of the permanent crown before cementing it into place.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge is one way to fill those gaps in your smile and restore your ability to chew and speak properly. A bridge also maintains the shape of your jaw and keeps your surrounding teeth from drifting out of alignment.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge fixes permanently in your mouth, much like a crown. In fact, a bridge uses two crowns as support. The crowns fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These crowns attach to an artificial tooth called a pontic, which is made from dental porcelain to blend seamlessly with your surrounding teeth.
We can design dental bridges in varying lengths. For instance, a three-unit bridge (two crowns and one pontic) can fill the space left by one missing tooth. A four-unit bridge (two crowns and two pontics) can replace two adjacent missing teeth.
Have additional questions about crowns, bridges, and fillings, or want to schedule an appointment? We’re here to help. Please call Dental One Associates of Woodson Square in Fairfax today at (571) 364-7943.