When it comes to your teeth, one major downside is that there’s more than a few ways for problems to arise with your teeth. While it’s not incredibly hard to avoid these problems by following a few simple oral health guidelines, prevention is always a more convenient (and inexpensive) option than treatment.
As dental treatments go, 3 of the most common tend to treat damage in different ways and in different contexts, whether teeth need to be shielded and corrected or completely replaced. These 3 options for treatment are dental crowns, dental bridges, and the “infamous” root-canal.
Dental Crowns: a Cover-Up for Your Mouth
Whenever anything appears less than perfect, it’s not uncommon that the first recourse is to cover it up. While this isn’t always the best solution for something like a mess in the kitchen or damage to your home, modern dental technology has made a great cover-up out of dental crowns.
In most cases, a dental crown is used to cover and protect a tooth that’s weakened from decay. If your teeth are cracking or broken from weakness, a dental crown could often be your dentist’s first choice. A crown might also be considered if a tooth requires a larger filling, or the amount of tooth left requires more support. But the utility of dental crowns isn’t just to cover up breaks and cracks, they’re also used as a cosmetic cover-up. When you have dental work done (such as a dental bridge, mentioned below) or want to cover up severely discolored teeth, a dental crown can help effectively “even things out”.
Dental Bridges: Filling the Gap in Smiles
Dental Bridges are sometimes used alongside dental crowns, but they’re very different. While a dental crown slides into place to perfect and cover-up a failing or cosmetically inferior tooth, a dental bridge literally bridges the gap between missing teeth.
If injury or decay lead to the loss of a tooth or teeth, the gap left behind is typically filled with a dental bridge. Not only does a dental bridge fill the gap for the patient’s cosmetic benefit, it also serves to minimize long-term damage from the empty spaces negatively affecting the positioning of adjacent teeth. Typically, dental crowns are used on the adjacent teeth, while a fake replacement tooth (a pontic) is attached to the crowns.
Root Canals: Preventative Treatment for Serious Damage
If you think about your tooth as a “house”, you can think about the visible part of your tooth as the actual exterior of your home, with a roof, a “body”, and the underlying pipes that make everything work. Your root canals are the “pipes” and veins that make your tooth work, by supplying it with vital nutrients and support. If your tooth is severely decayed, there’s a chance that bacteria and infection can creep into the root canal. When the pulp of your tooth inside the root canal is infected your tooth needs to be cleaned out. To accomplish this, root canal therapy requires your dentist to drill into the root canal and clean out infection and bacteria inside the pulp.
But most patients wonder, “when do I need root canal therapy?”. The most common symptoms that point to the need for root canal therapy include:
- Pain ranging from minor to extreme?=
- Throbbing in your tooth, as if it has its own heartbeat
- Pain that gets worse when you bend over, stand up, or change position
- Tooth pain that spontaneously intensifies when you eat or drink hot food or liquids
- Toothaches that wake you up from a deep sleep
It’s most common for a root canal to be required when your tooth or teeth are affected by the long-term effects of decay. However, a root canal can also be necessary if your tooth is cracked or broken, exposing the inside of your tooth to bacteria and infection.
Do you have questions about your teeth? We can help. If you have questions about dental crowns, bridges, or root canals — we can help. Garden Grove Primary Dental Care provides patients with the treatment needed to save and beautify teeth every day. Think you might need one of the above procedures? Get in touch with our friendly staff today.