While the dental crown itself cannot become decayed, the underlying tooth structure can. A dental crown is placed after careful shaping and preparation of the tooth surface and then inserted over the remaining tooth structure to restore the crown to its proper form and function.
How Does The Tooth Get Decay Under A Dental Crown?
The most vulnerable part of the interface between the dental crown and the tooth is the area where the edge of the crown meets natural tooth structure. If you are not maintaining good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) to remove the plaque that lives under the gumline, you can develop a cavity on the underlying tooth and root areas. Once decay develops, it can progress quickly into the tooth and move up and under the crown, undermining the support for the dental crown. The following things can happen if you get tooth decay on a tooth with a dental crown:
-Simple Dental Filling Placed At Margin Of Dental Crown. If the tooth decay is caught early enough, there are times where a simple filling can be placed to restore the tooth. This is only done when complete removal of decay can be accessed from the area. The seal is not as strong and leakage can occur under the dental crown over time.
-Root Canal Therapy. If the tooth decay gets close to or invades into the nerve of the tooth a root canal will be needed to save the tooth. If the tooth has already had a root canal performed, it will need to be rebuilt back up so that a new crown can be placed.
-Crown Lengthening. A crown lengthening is a dental procedure where a portion of the bone surrounding a tooth is surgically removed to allow the dentist access to decay that might run down the side of the tooth. This gives access to restore the tooth and also allows for proper placement of a new dental crown.
-New Custom Dental Crown Fabricated. In most cases, a new crown will be needed to ensure a proper seal and proper coverage over the existing tooth.
It is important to maintain good dental hygiene but it really becomes important once you have dental crowns. A dental crown generally lasts anywhere from 5-15 years if properly taken care of. If they are not cared for they will not last as long and could develop a bigger issue. The big tip here is to always maintain good dental hygiene and see your dentist regularly to check the crown edges for leakage and decay.
We have all heard the rules about dental care including having regular dental cleanings every 6 months. Many people neglect this advice and go far longer between visits. This can be quite dangerous to our teeth as well as our overall health. Below you will find some of the top reasons to see your dental hygienist regularly.
Top 8 Reasons To See Your Dental Hygienist
1. To Diagnose Oral Cancer Early - Statistics show that someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States alone. The best way to stop oral cancer in its tracks is to catch it early. Regular dental visits will include an oral cancer screening. These screenings will include manually feeling around the head and neck, examination of the oral tissues for changes, and the use of a special light (Velscope) to see beyond what our eyes can see. The difference truly is life and death. Choose life.
2. To Prevent Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease is an infection in the gum and bone tissues surrounding your teeth. Periodontal disease is very treatable and manageable in its earliest stages. This early stage is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible but once it progresses past this stage (into periodontitis) it is not reversible and becomes much more difficult to treat. Regular dental checkups, dental cleanings, along with proper brushing and flossing can keep periodontal disease at bay.
3. To Keep Your Teeth - Regular dental cleanings will help you keep all of your teeth for your entire life. Poor dental hygiene will lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. Having regular dental cleanings will help ensure that you live a long life with all of your teeth intact.
4. To Maintain Overall Health – Recent research has been mounting showing that periodontal disease has been related to heart disease, strokes, and even diabetes. Keeping a regular dental schedule will lead to better overall dental health. According to the research, a dental cleaning every 6 months helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy and could possibly reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes.
5. To Prevent Bad Breath – This is also called Halitosis. This is a major problem for millions of people around the world. Walk into any drug store and you will see shelves full of products that claim to help with bad breath issues. The best way to maintain your breath is thru regular dental cleanings and diligent at home dental care. This includes brushing, flossing and use of an anti bacterial mouth rinse.
6. To Keep Your Teeth Whiter - Your dental hygienist can remove most tooth stains, including tobacco, coffee and tea stains. During your cleaning, your hygienist will be able to polish your teeth to a beautiful shine. The end result? A whiter and brighter smile! This will lead to even more smiling on your part.
7. Early Detection Of Any Dental Problems – Early detection of any dental issues can lead to easier and cheaper care to fix the problems. If tooth decay or periodontal disease is left untreated it can lead to larger dental procedures such as root canal therapy, periodontal gum surgery or removal of teeth.
8. To Use Your Dental Insurance – Your dental insurance usually covers a dental examination and dental cleaning every 6 months. Also, most dental insurances cover 100% of this cost. If you have the dental insurance benefit why not stay healthy at the same time.
The reasons above should give you all the evidence you need to maintain good dental hygiene. It is far simpler to see your dentist for an hour or so every 6 months than to neglect your dental care. Neglecting dental care will lead to bigger more costly and painful issues.
Root canal therapy is a very important tool in a dentist’s list of dental services to save and maintain our teeth. For many, it can be a scary procedure we try to avoid, but with a little educational knowledge, it can take some of the fear away and put your mind at ease. A root canal should not be avoided due to fear, understanding what to expect and why may help you get the dental treatment you need when you need it.
Root Canal Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root Canal Therapy (also referred to as root canal treatment or endodontic treatment) is a dental procedure in which the diseased, decayed tooth, or damaged nerve of a tooth is removed and the inside areas (the nerve and canals within the roots) are cleaned, filled and sealed permanently to avoid infection. Without treatment, the surrounding tissues of the tooth (including the gums and bone) will become infected and a dental abscess can form.
A tooth’s nerve and blood vessel provide nutrients and hydration to a tooth as well as sense of temperature. It provides the sensation of hot or cold. The absence of a nerve will affect the strength of a tooth and make it become more brittle and susceptible to fracture if not protected by a crown.
How Do I Know If Root Canal Therapy Is Needed?
Common symptoms related to an infected tooth include tooth sensitivity (to hot or cold temperatures or even both), sensitivity to touch, toothache/sharp pain when chewing, swelling in the area of the tooth, or a bad taste in the mouth. These symptoms need to be evaluated by a dentist immediately to prevent further pain or damage.
What If I Ignore My Symptoms? Will They Just Go Away?
If the symptoms are ignored and treatment is not begun, the inflammation can progress to infection. Infection will continue to invade the tissues and tooth causing the tooth to become more painful and may become a health threat. Once the tooth “dies”, there are only two choices: extract the damaged tooth or perform root canal therapy.
How Is My Tooth Restored After Root Canal Therapy?
Depending on the extent of the damage to the tooth, your dentist can recommend a dental composite restoration to close the tooth or in most cases recommend a dental crown to protect the tooth against future damage. Over time, the tooth with the root canal therapy will dehydrate. This will make the tooth brittle and more susceptible to fracture/breaking. Most often, a crown is placed after root canal treatment is completed to protect the tooth and restore full function.
Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?
Typically, root canal therapy should cause no more discomfort than a simple dental filling). The pain most people associate with root canal therapy is due to the infection that develops. Root canal therapy actually relieves the pain by removing the dental infection and pressure.
What Are The Advantages Of Root Canal Therapy?
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
-Maintains Normal Biting Force And Sensation.
-Natural Looking Appearance.
-Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain.
Root Canal Therapy helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.
Are There any Risks Or Complications?
Over 90 % of root canal therapy procedures are successful. However, there is a chance of a failed root canal. Sometimes the root canal therapy needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots that went unnoticed, the fracture of a filing instrument, or a fracture or perforation in the root. The signs of a root canal therapy failure are marked by a return of pain, pressure, and sensitivity.
Is There An Alternative To Root Canal Therapy?
There are other options. One includes extracting the infected tooth. Then the question becomes how to replace the tooth. A few options are possible and these include a dental bridge and a dental implant. The success rate of root canal therapy is over 90% so it is an excellent option to save your own natural tooth if at all possible.
What Can You Expect After Root Canal Therapy?
Most patients feel some sensitivity for a few days afterward. For many it is easily relieved with an over the counter pain medication (aleve or ibuprofen).
Can Root Canal Therapy Be Avoided?
Some tips include maintaining good dental hygiene, see your dentist and hygienist regularly, eat a well balanced diet, and wear a custom made sports mouthguards to decrease dental trauma. Root canals, unfortunately, are not entirely unavoidable, and may happen even with good hygiene and care.
Root Canal Therapy Conclusion
Many are fearful of the root canal therapy procedure but in reality it is not the horror that many believe it to be. Root canal therapy is an easy way to save your teeth in the event of dental trauma, decay, or dental infection. Knowing what to expect can go a long way to alleviating any fears you may have. It is important to save your natural teeth whenever possible.
Sensitive teeth can occur for a variety of reasons and in many ways. Sensitivity to temperature, sweets, touch, or pressure are the main types of tooth sensitivity. The pain and discomfort from sensitive teeth are generally a sign of trauma, tooth decay, or wear, and can range from mildly irritating to quite painful. Did you know there are effective treatments against sensitive teeth?
Types Of Sensitive Teeth
There are two very different types of sensitivity:
Dentinal Sensitivity. This occurs when the middle layer (dentin) of a tooth is exposed. Dentin is usually covered by enamel above the gum line and by cementum (bone like connective tissue covering the root of a tooth) below the gum line. There are tiny openings called tubules in the dentin. Inside each tubule there is a nerve branch that comes from the tooth’s pulp (the nerve center of the tooth). When the dentin is exposed, these nerve branches can be affected by hot, cold, or certain foods. This causes tooth sensitivity.
When the outer protective layers of enamel or cementum wear away the dentin becomes exposed. This can affect one tooth or multiple teeth. Dentin exposure can be be caused in a variety of ways. These can include:
1. Aggressive brushing. The enamel layer can be worn away from brushing too hard.
2. Plaque build up. The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.
3. Tooth wear that occurs over time from clenching and grinding.
4. Untreated dental cavities.
5. Gingival recession. When the gums recede they expose the tooth’s roots. Receding gums are often caused by periodontal diseases or by aggressive brushing. Receded gums are very common and up to four fifths of people have gum recession by the time they are 65.
6. Periodontal surgery (gum surgery) that exposes the tooth’s roots.
7. Tooth whitening.
8. Frequently eating acidic foods or liquids.
Pulpal sensitivity. This is a reaction of the tooth’s pulp. The pulp consists of a mass of blood vessels and nerves in the center of each tooth. Sensitivity of the pulpal tissue tends to affect only one tooth. Causes of this type of sensitivity can include:
1. Dental cavities or infection.
2. Placement of a recent filling.
3. Excessive pressure from grinding or clenching your teeth.
4. A cracked or broken tooth. If you feel a sharp pain upon biting, you may have a broken or cracked filling. Pain when you release your bite is a sign of a cracked tooth.
Your dentist will be able to diagnose the type of sensitivity you have.
Can Sensitive Teeth Be Strengthened?
Your dentist can strengthen your weakened teeth in two ways. These include the following:
-Attempt to rebuild the worn enamel. Fluoride treatments are highly effective at strengthening weakened tooth enamel. Fluoride contains minerals that can help to strengthen your teeth enamel. Exposing your teeth to more fluoride can be done in several ways:
-In Office Fluoride Treatment. This is the most concentrated fluoride treatment available. During this procedure, trays of fluoride gel, varnish, or foam are placed over your teeth, and allow the fluoride to take effect for several minutes to several weeks.
-At Home Fluoride Treatment. You can also use fluoridated toothpaste, gel, or mouthwash at home for gradual enamel maintenance.
-Create A New Enamel-like Layer. The cosmetic dentistry procedures that are highly effective are dental bonding, crowns, and porcelain veneers.
Dental bonding gives the dentist the ability to add tooth colored material to cover the areas lacking in tooth enamel. This effectively creates a protective layer between the sensitive areas of your teeth and the outside stimulants in the outside world.
Sometimes the sensitivity is related to the tooth nerve suffering from inflammation. This may or may not lead to a need for root canal therapy to stop the pain.
Porcelain veneers and crowns can act as a protective layer and decrease sensitivity or protect a tooth after root canal therapy.
Sensitive Teeth Conclusion
Dealing with sensitive teeth can be very frustrating. Oftentimes sensitivity can be treated effectively and quickly. If you are experiencing sensitive teeth, consult your dentist to see what can be done for you to relieve your discomfort and address problems which may be occurring. The sooner the sensitivity is addressed the less chance of more serious problems.