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Lone Oak Dental

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Crowns & Bridges

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Our patients ask us lots of questions, and we think it's great! Questions show that you care about your dental needs and are looking to improve your health. The staff at Lone Oak Dental is very knowledgeable about insurance, preventing dental problems, and numerous other issues. We want to put you at ease by answering the questions that you may have. Remember, there are no dumb questions, so ask away!

Crowns & Bridges

When the nerve in a tooth dies, there are two treatment options, (1) a root canal to save the tooth or (2) remove the tooth.  Root canal treatment allows us to save teeth!

 

Most teeth that have had root canals have had a deep cavity, large filling or a crack.  Big fillings and cracks in teeth weaken the tooth and increase the chance of the tooth breaking.  Dental crowns hold a weakened tooth together preventing both the filling and tooth from breaking.

 

A research article from 2016 in the American Association of Endodontists found that teeth that did not get a crown within 4 months after the root canal was done were 3 times more likely to be extracted than those that got a crown within 4 months.  

 

We believe that if you are going to invest the time, effort and money into root canal treatment, you also need to plan on getting a crown shortly after the root canal is done.  

 

Partial dentures are an option to replace one or more missing teeth.  They have been used for decades after the removal of decayed, broken and loose teeth.    Replacing these missing teeth is beneficial for chewing, stabilizing your bite and appearance.  A partial denture is still a viable option and usually very affordable way to substitute your teeth.  

Other options to replace missing teeth are bridges and dental implants.  Dental bridges require the use of two solid teeth on either side of the empty space.  Bridges require no surgery to the bone or gums and can often be made within 1 month.  At Lone Oak Dental, we use newer materials which ensure that the bridge is strong yet beautiful.  

Implants can be used to replace one, two or multiple missing teeth.  The technology with these prostheses is very advanced and rapidly evolving giving us new options all the time.  Dr. Jordan prefers to replace teeth using dental implants as it does not require removing healthy tooth structure and there is no chance for decay.  In addition, most patients tell us that implants feel more natural than partials and bridges.  

Please contact our office today in Brookings if your partial is in need of replacement or your are considering other options.   

 

 

Mini dental implants are smaller in diameter than conventional implants.  Most traditional implants are 3.5 to 6 mm in diameter where as mini implants are less than 3 mm in diameter.  These smaller dental implants are great when used to stabilize or anchor a denture.  They are often used when the jaw bone has decreased in size over time and traditional implants cannot be placed without extensive bone grafting.  Due to their smaller size, these fixtures cannot take as much force and should not be used when replacing a single tooth or anchoring a dental bridge.  When possible, Dr. Brad Jordan prefers to use traditional implants.  

As you can imagine, teeth take a lot of force.  That is due to our jaw muscles being some of the strongest muscles in the body.  As we age, it is not uncommon to develop small cracks in the grooves of our back teeth from a normal diet.  Sometimes these cracks get deeper and the strength of the tooth diminishes.  When this happens, a portion of a tooth may break off or the tooth becomes sore to bite on.  

 

Cracked teeth should be examined early and treated quickly before more damage occurs.  Left untreated, the crack can enter the nerve space of the tooth and cause terrible pain.  Occasionally, the crack goes below the gum line and breaks the root which requires that the entire tooth be removed.  

 

Preventing cracked teeth can be done by avoiding foods that require a lot of force such as almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds and ice chewing.  People that grind their teeth at night or during the day should wear a bite guard to prevent breaking and weakening teeth.  

 

As previously mentioned, cracked teeth should be brought to the attention of the dentist ASAP.  If you have a tooth that is tender to bite on occasionally, let Dr. Jordan know soon!

 

Bridges and dental implants both have advantages and disadvantages.  Bridges are anchored with two or more teeth while implants are put in where the teeth are missing.  One great advantage of bridges is that they can often be completed in about a month.  Implants however, require 4 or more months for the missing teeth to be in place and functioning.

 

Bridges are preferred when a tooth has been missing for many years and the placement of an implant would require extensive bone grafting.  Some patients are not good candidates for implant surgery due to their health history and for them, a bridge would be beneficial.  Since bridges use the adjacent teeth as anchors, if the adjacent teeth are broken and require large restorations, a bridge can solve the problem of the missing tooth and the broken teeth at once!

 

Implants are great in many situations.  If the teeth next to the missing tooth have had small fillings, an implant is the recommended treatment.  When the adjacent teeth have had root canals or posts, an implant is likely the best option since applying force to these teeth may cause a crack.  

 

Overall, in most situations, a dental implant is the best treatment option.  If you are considering a bridge or dental implant and would like a professional opinion, contact Lone Oak Dental today!

 

Breaking teeth can be painful, costly and frustrating.  When a patient comes to our office with multiple broken teeth, we examine several areas: tendency to clench and grind their teeth, size of previous fillings and how stable their bite is.  People that clench and grind their teeth can generate enormous amounts of force which can chip or crack teeth.  For those that clench or grind, we would recommend a splint to be worn at night or even during the day to reduce the amount of force put on your teeth.  Unfortunately, cavities and fillings weaken teeth.  When a dentist has to fix a cavity, the resulting tooth is more prone to breaking than if it had never had a cavity or filling.  Lastly, a stable and protected bite evens the chewing forces out among teeth.  If a tooth is taking more force than designed to, it is more likely to break.  Crossbites, missing teeth, excessive overbites and underbites increase your chances of broken teeth.  We believe that prevention is the best medicine and hoped you learned something from this FAQ!

Dental fillings are often used to replace where a cavity once was.  Fillings repair the portion of the tooth that was damaged by the decay process.  When fillings become very large, the tooth is often weakened and may break.  The most often reason for a crown being recommended in our office is when a cusp, or point breaks off of a back tooth.  In short, when a crown is recommended by Dr. Jordan, it is when he anticipates that the remaining tooth left after the decay is removed will be weakened and likely to break.  In addition, when a back tooth has had root canal treatment, a crown is recommended to prevent the tooth from breaking.  

 

Many crowns done in the past and today have a black line where the crown meets the tooth.  The black line seen is the metal underlying the white porcelain in the restoration.  While the black line may look bad and be distracting in a smile, it is expected with porcelain fused to metal crowns or PFMs. Occasionally, the metal in the crown may be seen through the gum tissues creating a blue hue.  

 

Most of the crowns done at our Brookings dental office are metal free.  The materials used for crowns today such as e.max, zirconia and zirconia fused to porcelain are very strong and cosmetic.  In fact, the technology of these materials is so advanced that these crowns look better than PFMs and mimic natural teeth. Since these materials are tooth colored when manufactured, they require less of the tooth to be removed which decrease the chance of sensitivity and root canals.  


Another disadvantage of conventional porcelain fused to metal crowns is that the porcelain can break away from the metal.  When this happens, the gray and black metal will be very visible. If food traps in the broken area, it can lead to decay and gum disease.  Please see examples of the metal free crowns and veneers done by Dr. Jordan in our Smile Gallery section.  

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