This month’s blog will focus on frequently asked questions and their answers, we hear routinely in our office!
(Q) Why do I need a Crown and not just a Filling?
(A) If it hurts when you bite down or chew, it is possible that your tooth is cracked. If a tooth is cracked, it is a serious condition, called cracked tooth syndrome and does usually require a crown. Unlike a broken bone, the fracture in a cracked tooth will not heal.
If a substantial portion of your tooth needs to be filled, a better solution is usually the crown because fillings do not give you the same kind of protection as crowns do. Also, if the filling is extremely large, it can cause the tooth to break, making it irreparable.
The reason crowns are recommended frequently is that a dental crown is often the best option to extend the life of a tooth for years to come.
(Q) How long should a crown last?
(A) Generally, dental crowns last between 5 and 15 years. Some crowns can last even longer up to 25 or 30 years. If you are an excessive clencher or grinder, then crowns may not last as long. Crowns can get cavities under them; therefore good home care and regular dental visits are imperative. Patients are often pleased to know that crowns can potentially last a lifetime – with the right care.
(Q) Why do I need a Root Canal if I have no pain?
(A) Here are a few examples that may precipitate the need for root canal treatment.
- The tooth may have a chronic infection that the body has accommodated enough that they have not gone beyond their pain threshold. The area of concern may be seen on an x-ray and a test is done by your clinical team to the tooth’s nerve to determine the need for treatment.
- A tooth may have fractured so much that there isn’t adequate tooth structure to hold a crown long term. It’s necessary to place a post inside the tooth to allow for a more stable structure for the crown. A post cannot be placed in a tooth if the nerve space has not been treated with a root canal. The tooth will need the root canal intentionally to allow for the post to be placed and the final crown restoration to have the best success rate.
- Another situation that may occur is when a tooth has large old filling that has a new cavity that requires a crown for rehabilitation. When the filling is so large that it is close to the nerve, the tooth will eventually become sensitive or develop a detectable nerve condition requiring a root canal.
Please be aware that a root canal my be indicated for a tooth or indicated due to an expected course of degradation of the tooth’s nerve even if you have no pain. If you are still unsure of why you need a root canal when you are not experiencing pain, Please feel free to ask Dr.Amin more questions.
Hygiene Q & A
(Q) What causes cavities?
(A) Bacteria – tiny colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. Having bacteria in your mouth is a normal thing. While some of the bacteria can be harmful, most are not and some are even helpful.
Certain types of bacteria, however, can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the enamel that covers your teeth. If they’re not removed, they multiply and grow in number until a colony forms. More bacteria of different types attach to the colony already growing on the tooth enamel. Proteins that are present in your saliva (spit) also mix in and the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film on the tooth. This film is called plaque, and it’s what causes cavities.
When refined carbohydrates or sugars are ingested, these bacteria present in the mouth use the sugar and convert it to acid that dissolves tooth enamel. The acid attacks start immediately after consuming sugars and last for 20-30 minutes.
(Q) What Is Tooth Sensitivity and Why Do I Have It?
(A) Patients with tooth sensitivity feel pain when they consume items that are hot or cold, sweet or acidic. This comes from thinned tooth enamel, which doesn’t protect the tooth pulp or dentin from exposure to extreme temperatures. In some patients, this may be a result of:
Tooth grinding during sleep
Chipped or fractured teeth
Orthodontics and fillings
Dr. Sapna Amin will examine the affected teeth and recommend treatment to reduce your sensitivity.
(Q) At What Age Should My Child First See a Dentist?
(A) Studies show children can develop their first cavities by two years old, so the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends booking the first visit once their first tooth erupts – or, at the latest, their first birthday. This helps your dentist catch potential problems that can affect the child’s overall health and well-being as more teeth erupt over time.
(Q) What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?
(A) Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) — to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for many years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wear at regular dental check-ups