It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. In the first any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then an impression is made of the tooth for use in fabricating a crown. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, all ceramic material, or gold. During this time a temporary crown is worn. In the second visit this temporary is removed. Then the permanent crown is adjusted as needed and then cemented in place.
The entire mouth is examined and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed, and which will remain. The loose teeth are then extracted. Dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth, depending on the type. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, and it can take some getting used to. But once accustomed to the dentures, all the normal functionality and appearance return and one just carries on as usual. Often implants can used to further stabilize the dentures.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants are metal post that are surgically placed in the bone under your gums. During a healing period, the bone grows around the implant. Then a replacement tooth, or crown, is attached to the metal post, giving you a restoration that is a lot like your natural tooth. Implants also can be used to secure bridges and dentures when more than one tooth is missing.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Because implants fuse to the jawbone and offer a secure base for the replacement teeth, some patients find this a comfortable option in restoring their smile. In many cases, implant-supported teeth may look and feel more like natural teeth.
CAN ANYONE HAVE IMPLANTS?
Healthy gums and bone are necessary to support dental implants. Patients who want to have implants must commit to a meticulous oral hygiene routine, including flossing, brushing and regular dental visits to help protect the supporting tissues from any disease. Because dental implant placement is a surgical procedure, candidate must be in good overall health. Successful fusion of the bone to the implant requires good periodontal health, so people with a higher risk of experiencing gum disease-such as those with diabetes or those who smoke-might not be good candidates.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
Talk to your dentist about whether you are a candidate for dental implants, and learn more about the details of the procedure specific to your case. After fully discussing the benefits and risks, you may want to contact your dental benefit provider to determine whether implant placement and restoration is covered by your dental insurance plan. If so, ask how much of the estimated cost will be covered.
You might also want to talk to your dentist about the length of time the procedure may require. In many instances, implant placement involves more than one surgery, and the healing period for each surgery may be several weeks (your dentist usually can provide you with a denture or temporary bridge during this period). In some complicated cases, the whole process can take more than a year, so you would need to be patient and dedicated to good oral health.
THE IMPLANT PROCESS
Treatment generally is a three-part process that takes several months.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to this pulp. (Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early) Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy, also. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction of bad things. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and, with one missing, they start to "fall." As this worsens the bite changes in response to the pressure. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they, too, are lost. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.
Problems in this area can cause:
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
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