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Archive for April, 2013

Tooth Decay: Will I need a dental crown?

Friday, April 26th, 2013

When cavities are identified, patients should seek treatment promptly so that the dentist can be conservative with the initial attempt to address the problem. A small cavity can be treated with a simple filling.

However, some patients don’t seek treatment until the decay has progressed significantly. In these cases, a filling alone may not suffice.

Instead, dental crowns may be used for advanced decay that is too extensive to be addressed by a standard filling.

Dental crowns may also be used if additional decay has developed under a filling, or if the original filling breaks and causes more damage to the tooth. Crowns are also appropriate when some other damage, like a deep crack, has compromised the integrity of the tooth.

These tooth-shaped caps can be made of a number of materials, including gold and porcelain. Sometimes the porcelain may be fused to metal to further strengthen the crown.

If you do need to get a crown, the dentist will remove the decayed tooth material to prep the tooth before placing the crown. The patient wears a temporary crown until the permanent device is ready to be placed.

At a second appointment, a week or two later, the patient will be fitted with the permanent crown, which is bonded to the tooth with a dental cement.

The process of getting a dental crown involves little or no discomfort. A local anesthetic will suffice to minimize discomfort in most patients and may not even be needed by all crown candidates.

Dental crowns are valuable tools for protecting and preserving a natural tooth that has experienced extensive damage, and with modern materials, crowns can be designed to look remarkably lifelike and blend in with the patient’s natural teeth.

Patients who have tooth decay should be examined by a dentist to determine what treatment is most appropriate in their case. Ideally, you’ll be able to start with a standard filling, but some circumstances will warrant a dental crown. Schedule an appointment with our skilled team of dentists as soon as possible if you have signs of decay.



How can the appearance of misshapen teeth be improved?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Misshapen teeth can significantly detract from your smile’s appearance. An undersized tooth or one that has been compromised by a chip or crack is quite noticeable and can compromise an otherwise perfect set of pearly whites.

If misshapen teeth are bothering you, a cosmetic dentist can intervene and enhance your smile to correct the problem. Veneers are commonly used for this purpose. Aesthetic tooth and gum contouring also will give you aesthetically pleasing results in as little as a half hour.

When the primary objective is improving the shape or proportionality of the teeth, porcelain veneers may be used to bring the tooth into the proper shape and proportion to help it blend in with the rest of the smile. Alternatively, diamond-impregnated burs and discs can be used to redefine the tooth’s shape without removing biological tooth material, although this approach may not be helpful in cases of undersized teeth. Gum contouring involves laser surgery to re-shape the gum line to improve symmetry. 

If misshapen teeth are bothering you, a cosmetic dentist can intervene and enhance your smile to correct the problem.

Prior to placing veneers, a cosmetic dentist will remove a thin layer of enamel, just thick enough to allow the tooth to accommodate the veneer that is bonded to it. The veneer will then be designed to the patient’s specifications and attached to the tooth when it is ready. At a dental practice that uses an off-site lab, this process typically takes around two weeks.

Aesthetic contouring is useful in a number of situations. It can be a stand-alone treatment or part of a comprehensive smile makeover. Patients may also request to have their teeth re-shaped following orthodontic treatment as a final improvement to the smile. This treatment can be applied to a single tooth or multiple teeth as needed, and it requires minimal anesthetic.

Don’t feel that you have to resign yourself to a smile that includes misshapen teeth. This problem can be corrected, so consult with our skilled cosmetic dentists at Ora Dental Studio if you feel that you might benefit from aesthetic contouring. Call 312-491-9494 to schedule an appointment today.



Sensitive Teeth: What could be the cause?

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Sensitive teeth can have a serious impact on your lifestyle. You may find yourself avoiding your favorite foods, and the discomfort can disrupt your daily routine.

Many patients ask the dentist about solutions for the problem of sensitive teeth, but before proceeding with treatment, it’s important to know what is causing the condition.

If you have sensitive teeth, a number of factors could be at fault. Here’s an overview of some of the potential culprits:

  • Brushing technique –Although you should be diligent about brushing twice a day, don’t overdo it. Brushing too aggressively can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Injured teeth – A deep crack or large chip to the tooth can expose the tooth’s inner core and the sensitive nerve center it contains. Subsequently, tooth sensitivity can result.
  • Problems with the gums – Gum disease can expose the roots of the teeth, also leading to increased sensitivity.
  • Age – As you get older, the protective outer enamel layer gets thinner. This can cause the teeth to become more sensitive as you age.
  • Diet – Consuming a lot of acidic foods can increase tooth sensitivity.
  • Certain dental procedures – Recent tooth restorations or teeth whitening can make your teeth more sensitive, although this effect is often temporary.
  • Bruxism – Grinding your teeth will wear them down and make them more sensitive.

Your dentist will explore your behaviors and history in diagnosing the cause of your tooth sensitivity. After diagnosing the cause of the problem, the dentist will recommend treatment and may teach you a gentler brushing technique using a soft-bristled brush.

Patients who struggle with tooth sensitivity have a number of options. Several toothpastes specifically formulated for sensitive teeth are available on the market. You may need to eliminate acidic foods from your diet or cut back on them. If bruxism is the problem, the patient may be fitted with a night guard to address that issue.

If you have noticed increasing tooth sensitivity, talk with our experienced dental team at your next appointment to plan an effective treatment for the problem.