A dental crown is a restoration that may be used for a number of dental conditions. Most commonly, a crown is used to restore a tooth that has been damaged or decayed to a point that a dental filling will not provide a successful restoration. A crown is custom made to fit over the entire tooth starting at the gum line. It restores a tooth to it’s normal size, shape, and function.
A crown may be appropriate if you have: a cavity that is too large for a filling, a missing tooth that will be replaced with a bridge, a dental implant, a root canal–the crown will protect the tooth from cracking or breaking after the root canal treatment, a tooth that has been cracked, worn down, or otherwise damaged.
A crown is generally made of gold, porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain crowns are popular because they match the natural appearance and color of your teeth. Our dentist will help you determine which type of dental crown is best for your situation.
Several steps are involved in placing a crown, and generally two dental appointments are needed. The tooth will be prepared by removing the outer portion so the crown will fit over the top of it. An impression will be taken and used to create a custom crown. A temporary crown will be made and placed over the prepared tooth to protect it while the permanent crown is being made. At a second appointment, usually within a week or two, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be fitted over the prepared tooth. When you and your dentist are both satisfied with how the crown looks and feels, it will be cemented into place. With proper care, crowns can be a wonderful long lasting restoration option.
A root canal is a type of endodontic therapy. Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with treating diseases or injuries to the dental pulp. The pulp is the soft tissue within a tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves. If the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, treatment is needed. The most common reason the pulp becomes infected is because of a deep cavity or filling, a cracked or broken tooth, or a serious injury to a tooth. Any of these situations can allow bacteria to enter the pulp of the tooth.
If a damaged or diseased pulp is not treated the infection can spread to the tissue surrounding the tooth. Generally pain and swelling are a result. Also an abscess along the gumline of a tooth is usually an indicator of an infection. Even if there is no pain, the infection can spread and damage surrounding bone tissue. Without treatment this type of infection will likely cause the tooth to die and require the tooth to be extracted.
During root canal therapy, the infected pulp or nerves of the tooth are removed. Each root canal is cleaned and shaped and then filled with a rubber like material. Depending on the extent of the infection antibiotics may be prescribed and a temporary filling placed in the tooth. During the next step the temporary filling will be removed and a permanent filling or crown will placed on the tooth. A crown is usually recommended to protect a tooth that has had root canal therapy. A tooth that has had a root canal can become brittle and may become prone to breaking over time and a crown will help prevent this from happening.
Dental bridges are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. If you are missing a tooth, or multiple teeth in a row, a dental bridge may be recommended. Missing teeth in your mouth is a serious issue. Teeth are meant to work together and when one or more is missing the surrounding teeth can tilt or drift into the open space. This causes multiple problems. It can affect your bite and place stress on your teeth and jaw joints, causing pain and damage. Teeth that have tipped or moved into the space of a missing tooth become harder to clean. This increases the chance of tooth decay and gum disease. Also when a tooth is missing the bone it sits in may begin to shrink. This can change the way the jaw bone supports the lips and cheeks, causing a “sunken in” look to the face.
A dental bridge is a fixed restoration, meaning it is non-removable. It is anchored into place through the use of two crowns on either side of the missing tooth/teeth. These crowns hold an artificial tooth or teeth in place, creating a “bridge” to fill the space of the missing tooth/teeth. These crowns can be placed on existing teeth or on implants.
The placement of a bridge usually requires two dental appointments. During the first appointment the dentist will prep the two anchor teeth just as would be done for a crown. Next a dental impression will be taken. This will be sent to the lab that will make a custom bridge to fit your needs. The dentist will place a temporary bridge over the prepped area to protect your mou
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Treatments
The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw bone to the temporal bones of your skull, just in front of your ears. This hinge joint allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side so you can talk, chew and yawn. Problems with the jaw and the muscles that control it are called TMB or temporomandibular disorders, but are often called TMJ for the temporomandibular joint.
It is unknown exactly what causes TMD. Injuries to the jaw, the joint, or the muscles of the head and neck can lead to TMD. Other causes may include clenching or grinding the teeth, movement or damage to the disc in the joint, arthritis in the joint, or stress which causes the facial and jaw muscles to tighten.
TMD often causes severe pain or discomfort. It can be temporary, come and go, or even last years. Symptoms may include the following:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck or shoulders, or around the ears.
- Problems opening the mouth wide.
- A jaw that gets stuck or “locked” in the open or closed position.
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the joint.
- Trouble chewing or a sudden change in the bite.
- Swelling on the side of the face.
- Toothaches with unknown causes, headaches, neck aches, earchaches, and trouble hearing.
Dental treatments can range from replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, or adjusting the bite. The dentist will check for problems with your facial muscles, and likely take full face x-rays to view your jaw bones, temporomandibular joint and teeth to rule out any other problems.
Home treatments could include over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, moist heat or cold packs applied to the sides of your face along with some simple jaw stretches, and eating a diet of softer foods; avoiding hard foods that will require aggressive or prolonged chewing.