If you’re missing a tooth in the back of your mouth, remember the old adage, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link." Missing teeth can turn into a serious issue.
Missing Teeth Cause Serious Problems
Aside from the discomfort that can arise with a missing tooth, you may experience serious oral problems. To start with, the tooth that originally was there acted as a placeholder, keeping other teeth from shifting. Without that tooth, the surrounding teeth may move; affecting your visible smile and causing the gums and neighbouring teeth to become far more susceptible to decay and gum disease.
What a Bridge Does
One of the solutions we can offer for patients with missing teeth is called a dental bridge – a false tooth or teeth replacing one or more missing teeth. Bridges can reduce your risk of gum disease, help to correct minor bite issues and even improve your speech. The false tooth acts as placeholder to avoid the shifting of other teeth, helping you maintain your oral health and enhancing/protecting your smile.
Do I Need a Bridge?
If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, ask East Mall Family Dental if a dental bridge is right for you. Your mouth will thank you.
A crown is a covering that sits over the top of the tooth, creating a surface to protect, cover, seal and strengthen your tooth. Crowns are used in many different scenarios, since they are effective and often allow us to save a tooth rather than turning to implants.
When is a Crown Needed?
• If some of your larger fillings have broken down or have formed decay around them, you may need a crown to
save the tooth.
• A cracked tooth may need a crown to hold it together. Be careful not to wait too long, as an untreated cracked
tooth can become sensitive and eventually break.
• Teeth that are very sensitive, either from a lot of wear or from receded gums, sometimes require crowns to
seal and protect them from hot and cold sensitivity.
• A tooth that has broken may be too weak to hold a filling. A crown will hold the tooth together and prevent it from
breaking again. If the fracture is too deep, root canal therapy may be required before the tooth is crowned.
• A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy will need a crown to properly seal and protect the tooth.
We’ll Suggest Options
Come in and let the experienced dentists at East Mall Family Dental evaluate your needs, depending on your oral health and the condition of your teeth. A crown may be the solution to saving your tooth.
All too often, an individual missing a tooth in the back of his/her mouth will have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. But a missing tooth is more than just an aesthetic concern.
What’s Wrong with Missing a Tooth?
A missing tooth’s purpose included acting as a chewing surface, holding its place with regard to adjacent teeth, maintaining the bone structure where it was rooted and many other structural and preventative roles. Without that tooth in place, surrounding teeth can shift; causing gaps and making decay more likely. Bone loss and damage can occur, the area can become more apt to periodontal disease and the list goes on.
What is a Dental Implant?
To avoid bone loss, to maintain the proper spacing of your teeth and to avoid the maladies associated with a missing tooth, an implant may be required. An implant will fill the space that your missing tooth once held. A dental implant is a small prosthetic post that is placed into the bone of the upper or lower jaw. The post functions as the root portion of the lost natural tooth and serves as an anchor for the artificial tooth. Once the post has settled and the spot healed, an artificial tooth is attached to it and fills the space.
Like Natural Teeth
A dental implant often gives back a patient’s confidence in their smile, the ability to eat comfortably and a clean, healthy oral environment. Dental implants look and feel exactly like natural teeth. No one other than you and your dentist will be able to tell the difference. There are many different types of dental implants available. East Mall Family Dental staff would be pleased to discuss the benefits of implant prosthetics with you.
At the core of your tooth is an area we call the pulp. The pulp is the nerve of your tooth, where blood and nutrients needed by a healthy tooth circulate. If the pulp is damaged for any reason, it is susceptible to infection and can result in pain, swelling, bone damage and loss of the tooth. To save the original tooth and avoid the problems associated with damaged pulp, root canal therapy is often an option.
What’s the Procedure?
Root canal therapy allows us to save your tooth, avoiding more costly procedures such as an implant or denture. The process involves creating an opening in the crown of your tooth. The pulp in the root canal is completely removed, and the canal is cleaned out, shaped and smoothed. Any infection (we refer to infection as abscess) is treated, and the bacteria that caused it is cleaned out.
Filling and Capping
The canal area, once infection-free, is filled and sealed. As the tooth will no longer be receiving vital nutrients, it will be more brittle than the surrounding teeth. For this reason, we create a crown or cap to strengthen and protect your tooth’s chewing surface, especially if it was one of your back teeth. Once ready, the crown is cemented into place. Your own natural tooth, rather than an artificial replacement, keeps its place in your smile.
A root canal procedure involves a few visits to our office, as the procedure is done in stages to allow for proper healing of infection and creation of the crown. You may notice that the treated tooth will often darken or discolour once the pulp is removed. If the treatment involved one of your front teeth, our whitening procedure can brighten up that tooth – along with the rest of your smile.
Why Have Them Removed?
Sometimes, wisdom teeth grow in and cause no problems – but not very often. For the rest of us, the development of wisdom teeth comes with a whole series of complications. When wisdom teeth begin to erupt, they create a flap of gum tissue that grows over the tooth, creating a space for food to become trapped and cause gum infection.
Bone and Nerve Damage
The biggest and most common complication is misalignment of the wisdom teeth. Misaligned wisdom teeth can be angled towards or away from the second molars. Poor alignment can cause crowding or even damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone or nerves.
Signs of Wisdom Tooth Problems
If you feel any of the following symptoms, contact East Mall Family Dental immediately. These symptoms usually develop between the ages of 15 and 25:
• Pain or stiffness near the back of your mouth.
• Pain or irritation from a tooth coming in at an awkward angle and rubbing against your cheek, tongue or top or
bottom of the mouth.
• An infected swelling in the flap of gum tissue that has formed on top of an impacted tooth that has partially
broken through the gum.
• Crowding of other teeth.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
If your dentist thinks you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, don’t despair – the procedure is quite common. Before your tooth is extracted, the tooth and surrounding gums will be numbed with a local anaesthetic. This anaesthetic can be complemented – if your doctor chooses to do so – with a sedative like nitrous oxide (or “laughing gas”), an oral sedative or an intravenous sedative. The tooth can be removed just like any other tooth if it has completely erupted through the gums. If it is still sitting under the gums, we will make a small incision to remove the tooth.
Immediately after the operation, we will monitor you in a recovery room. Depending on the type of sedative used, you may need someone to drive you home after the procedure. For the first 24 hours, you will experience the following symptoms:
• Bleeding will occur for several hours after the removal of the tooth. We recommend placing a piece of gauze
over the area and biting down to apply pressure. Avoid rinsing, sucking or spitting for the first 24 hours, as it
will inhibit the growth of clots to stop the bleeding.
• Facial swelling in the area where the tooth was removed is very common. Just place a piece of ice wrapped
in a cloth on the swelling for 10 minutes, then remove for 20 minutes.
• Tylenol® or Advil® over-the-counter pain relievers can be taken to alleviate some of the discomfort. Your
dentist may prescribe a more potent painkiller.
• Food should be chewed as far away as possible from the site of extraction. Avoid hot liquids and alcohol for
at least 24 hours. In the case of difficult extraction, consume soft or liquid foods for the first 24 hours.
• Continue to brush your teeth, but avoid the teeth directly next to the site of extraction. Do not use mouthwash,
as it can irritate the extraction site.
When Can I Eat Normally?
Full healing can take from a few weeks to a few months to occur. Within the first week or two, your mouth should be comfortable enough to use normally again. If you are concerned that your recovery is not proceeding normally, call your dentist immediately.
Come See Us
Let East Mall Family Dental staff keep a close eye on the development of your wisdom teeth and solve any problems you may encounter. With vigilance and preventative care, we can avoid the complications of misaligned wisdom teeth.