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“Restorative dentistry” is the term dental professionals use to explain how they replace missing or damaged teeth. The goal is to bring back your natural smile and prevent future oral health issues.

Why restorative procedures are important:

  • Filling in empty spaces in the mouth helps to keep teeth in the right place.
  • Replacing teeth helps to maintain good oral care habits, which can help prevent oral disease and plaque buildup.
  • Missing teeth can affect your health, looks, and how you feel about yourself.

There are a few different treatment options your dental professional may suggest. These include bridges, crowns, and implants.

Restorative treatment options

Crowns

A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a tooth. It is used to strengthen and protect your tooth structure. Most crowns are made of a hard, white substance to help them look natural

A crown is ideal for people with broken teeth or cavities.

The crown is cemented into place over the damaged tooth.

Bridges

A dental bridge covers or “bridges” the gap between missing teeth.

After you lose a tooth, your dentist may suggest that you get a bridge. A bridge can keep your other teeth from moving out of place.

Once a bridge is placed, it works just like your natural teeth.

Dental Implants

The metal anchor is inserted into the jawbone. After the anchor has been inserted, a false tooth is put into place.

Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. An implant has 2 parts: a metal anchor and a false tooth. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth.

Quick facts on how to take care of your restorative work

  • Brush your teeth in the morning, at night, and after meals to help reduce plaque buildup.
  • Electric toothbrushes can help remove plaque from your teeth and restorative work.
  • Make sure to floss around your teeth, dental implants, crowns, and bridges every day.
  • Try not to chew on hard or sticky foods. These can damage your implant, bridge, or crown.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash to help get rid of plaque bacteria around restorative work

What is Cracked tooth syndrome?

Some teeth have cracks that are too small to show up on X-rays. Sometimes the cracks are under the gum. These small cracks are known as cracked tooth syndrome.

Cracked tooth syndrome is most common in lower back teeth (molars). That’s because these teeth absorb most of the forces of chewing.

Some people grind or clench their teeth. These people may be more likely to have cracked tooth syndrome. Sometimes, the way a person’s teeth come together can put too much pressure on one tooth. This can cause the teeth to crack.

Teeth with large fillings may be more likely to crack. Teeth that have undergone root canal treatment are weaker than other teeth and also may be more likely to crack. People with one cracked tooth are more likely to have others, either at the same time or in the future.

Symptoms

The tooth may hurt sometimes when you bite or chew. The sensitivity or pain can be mild or intense. It may last a brief time or a long time. It may be painful only when you eat certain foods or when you bite in a specific way.    You will not feel a constant ache, as you would if you had a cavity.  The tooth may be more sensitive to cold temperatures.

If the crack gets bigger, a piece of the tooth may break off. You may also develop an infection. This can happen in the gum around the fractured tooth.  You may notice a pimple-like bump on the gum near the tooth. Pus may drain from the pimple. This is known as a fistula.

Many people with cracked tooth syndrome have symptoms for months. Cracked tooth syndrome is one of the most difficult dental problems to diagnose because the pain is not predictable.

Diagnosis

Your dentist will examine your mouth and teeth, focusing on the tooth in question. He or she may use a sharp instrument called an explorer to feel for cracks in the tooth. Your dentist also will look at the gums around the tooth. You may have X-rays taken. But X-rays often do not show the crack.

Your dentist may use special tools to test the tooth. One tool looks like a toothbrush without bristles. It fits over one part of the tooth at a time as you bite down. If you feel pain, the part of the tooth being tested most likely has a crack in it.

Your dentist may shine a very bright light on the tooth. He or she may stain it with a special dye. If the tooth already has a filling or crown, your dentist may remove it in order to see the tooth better.

Expected Duration

How long symptoms last depends on how quickly a cracked tooth can be diagnosed. Even after a crack is found, treatment may not completely relieve the symptoms.

Prevention

If you grind or clench your teeth, talk to your dentist about treatment. Grinding can increase your risk of cracked tooth syndrome.

Treatment

Treatments for cracked tooth syndrome do not always relieve the symptoms.

Treatment depends on:

  • Where the crack is
  • How deep it is
  • How large it is

Sometimes a crack affects one or more cusps of a tooth. These are the highest points of the tooth. In this case, the tooth may be fixed with a crown, also known as a cap. Some cracks affect the pulp: the center of the tooth, where the nerves and blood vessels are. In that case, the tooth will need root canal treatment.

About 20% of teeth with cracked tooth syndrome will need root canals. After a root canal, the tooth will no longer be sensitive to temperature, but it still will respond to pressure. If you felt pain before the root canal, you may still feel some pain afterward. It probably will not be as intense or as frequent, but it may still occur.

Your dentist can make a night guard (a plastic bite piece) to prevent you from grinding your teeth. This will relieve the pain from grinding. For some people it can stop tooth sensitivity. The night guard can be worn during sleep. It also can be worn at other times if clenching or grinding happens during waking hours.

When To Call a Professional

If you feel pain when you bite or chew, contact your dental office.

Prognosis

Treatment of cracked tooth syndrome is not always successful. Your dentist should talk with you about what might happen. In some people, a crown will fix the problem. In others, root canal treatment solves the problem. Some people continue to have occasional symptoms after treatment. They may need to have the tooth taken out

Let’s start with what dental implants are. When a tooth or teeth are missing, dental implants can be thought of ‘replacement tooth roots’. There are different situations for most people but the most common type of dental implant used today is the ‘root-form’ dental implant.

Implants can be used to replace one or all missing teeth. There are many advantages of dental implants, here are just a few.

1. They preserve the tooth bearing bone. 2. Avoiding reducing healthy tooth structure to support fixed bridges. 3. Provides excellent cosmetic results. 4.Implants are not suseptible to tooth decay.

If you choose to do nothing about your missing tooth or teeth, the risk of bone loss, shifting of the remaining teeth in to the new position, additional stress on the remaining teeth which can cause chipping or cracking and greater force placed on the jaw joints leading to TMD.

Every situation is different for everyone. If you have missing teeth, see your dentist to evaluate, diagnose and treatment plan if you are good candidate for dental implants.

Cold sores are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters often called “fever blisters”. These unsightly sores usually erupt on the lips, and sometimes on skin around the lips. Clusters of small blisters also may occur on the gum tissue near the teeth and/or on the bony roof of the mouth.

Cold sores are caused by herpesvirus Type 1 or Type 2 and are contagious. The initial infection (primary herpes), which often occurs before adulthood, may be confused with a cold or the flu. The infection can cause painful lesions to erupt throughout the mouth, and some patients can be quite ill for a week. Most people who become infected with herpes do not get sick.

Once a person is infected with herpes, the virus stays in the body, where it may remain inactive. Unfortunately, in some people, the virus becomes activated periodically, causing the cold sore to appear on the lips or other sites. A variety of irritants wind, sun, fever,and stress can cause a outbreak.

Cold sores usually heal in about a week. Once the blister breaks, an unsightly scab forms. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics and protectants or anti-inflammatory agents or topical antiviral agents may provide temporary relief for the discomfort, but they do little to speed healing.

As with the common cold, there is no cure for these viral infections. Topical or systemic antiviral drugs can be prescribed by your dentist, but they are ineffective after three to four days of blister formation and usually are not recommended in otherwise healthy patients.

Not all sores are harmless. Schedule an appointment if you notice any change in your mouth, including pain or discomfort, or the presence of sores in the mouth, even if they are not painful. A biopsy usually can determine the cause or rule out another disease.

Your dentist can recognize and often diagnose the type of mouth sore or spot on the basis of its appearance and location.

A strong relationship between stress and periodontal disease was recently studied and 57% of the study showed a postitive relationship between periodontal disease and psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

How do the two correlate? Researchers think the hormone cortisol may play a role in the connection between stress and periodontal disease. Increased levels of cortisol can lead to the degeneration of gums and supporting bone due to the disease. We already know if left untreated, it can lead to bone loss or tooth loss.

Some people who experience high stress levels tend to have bad habits. They seem to be less attentive to their oral hygiene, be smokers, drink alcohol excessively or even use drugs.

Patients should seek healthy ways to handle stress. Such things as exercise, healthy eating habits, sleep, and keeping a positive attitude.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, it is important to see your dentist regularly to keep your teeth and gums in check.

Proper hydration is essential for everyone. Whether you are a professional athlete or someone who does the occasional workout.

Water is the most important nutrient for life. It has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients throughout the body.

During exercise, it is particularly important to stay hydrated. Proper fluid intake is essential to comfort, performance and safety. The more intense and longer exercise you do, the more important it is to drink the right fluids.

Dehydration can happen through loss of sweat leading to a drop in blood volume which in turn causes the heart to work harder to circulate blood. A drop in blood volume can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue. All counter productive to an athlete in training or someone who is working at getting in shape.

So how do you find the right amount? While it is nearly impossible to provide specific recommendations, there are two simple methods for estimating adequate hydration that everyone can use.

1. Monitoring urine volume, output and color. Light colored/diluted urine and going frequently are signs you are hydrated. Dark colored and concentrated urine most likely means you are dehydrated.

2. Weighing yourself before and after exercise. Any weight loss is likely from fluid, dry to drink more to replenish. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.

Living in high altitude increases fluid losses and ‘up’s’ the need for fluid replacement. Exercising in the heat, excessive sweating, duration and intensity also need to be taken into consideration to prevent dehydration.

Here are some guidelines on getting hydrated before, during and after exercise. Before your workout, weigh yourself and drink between 15 and 20 fluid ounces 2-3 hours before beginning. During your workout, drink 8-10 ounces every 10-15 minutes. After your workout, weigh yourself again and for every pound lost drink 20-24 fluid ounces.

Regardless if you are an professional athelete or the casual exerciser, use this information as a guideline to cater to your individual workout regimen.