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Our teeth can take a beating. If yours are broken, cracked, missing, or otherwise, we can bring your smile back! Read more below.
Replacing Broken or Missing Teeth
A missing tooth can cause problems with your bite. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth or the tooth that would occlude (bite) against the missing tooth can shift into the open space. When teeth tip or drift, it may become difficult to keep them clean. This can eventually lead to decay, gum disease, and the loss of additional teeth. There are several options available to replace missing teeth.
A bridge is a lab fabricated restoration that literally bridges the "gap" left by the missing tooth or teeth. The restoration is bonded permanently into place. Materials used to create this type of restoration include gold or porcelain. "Fixed" bridgework is easy to maintain with good brushing and flossing.
Implants are metal posts and are inserted directly into the bone in the area of the missing tooth. After placement of an implant, the post will need to remain undisturbed for several months while the implant and the bone fuse together. A final restoration can then be placed onto the exposed metal post. The metal posts can be placed by oral surgeons, periodontists, and some general dentists. Dr. McGary will place them, on a case-by-case basis. These implant posts can also be used to retain dentures for more stability. Dr. McGary, after sufficient healing time, can place the final restoration (crown or bridge). In order for implants to be a viable option, there must be sufficient, good quality bone in the area of the missing tooth or teeth.
If there are several missing teeth which we need to replace, and adequate bone support is not present for implant or fixed bridge treatment, a removable bridge or partial denture may be the treatment option for you. A removable appliance can help with chewing, aid in speech, and give facial support. The appliance usually requires metal clasps that attach to existing teeth.
The success of any bridge, implant, or removable dental appliance depends on the health of the teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. It is important to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.
Teeth may crack due to:
Chewing on hard objects or foods, such as ice, nuts, or hard candy.
Grinding or clenching teeth.
Loss of a significant portion of tooth structure through wear, large fillings, or other restorations.
Exposure of tooth enamel to temperature extremes, drinking and/or eating hot and cold food.
Brittleness of teeth that have had root canals.
Trauma such as car accident or a fall.
It can be difficult to tell which tooth hurts or whether the pain is from an upper or lower tooth. A crack may appear as a hairline fracture, running vertically along the tooth. It often is invisible to the eye and usually will not show on an x-ray. A cracked tooth may cause discomfort because the pressure of biting causes the crack to open. When you stop biting, the pressure is released and a sharp pain results as the crack quickly closes. Even thought the crack may be microscopic, when it opens, the nerve chamber inside the tooth may become irritated. If this nerve chamber becomes damaged or diseased as a result of the crack, root canal treatment may be necessary to save the tooth. A severely cracked tooth may need to be extracted if the tooth cannot be saved. Recommended treatment for a cracked tooth is a full coverage crown. This type of restoration is needed to cover the tooth to keep the crack from opening when biting. Regular dental check-ups are important. They allow diagnosis and treatment of problems in their early stages.