teeth to tip or drift into the empty
spot. Teeth that shift from their normal position may
decrease chewing and biting efficiency. Crooked teeth
may be more prone to dental disease because they are
more difficult to keep clean than properly aligned
A missing tooth also can affect the
way upper and lower teeth fit together. For example, the
loss of several molars may cause a "collapsed" bite.
This increases the risk of damage to other teeth, such
Teeth are the strongest part of the
human body and they are meant to last a lifetime. When a
tooth is chipped, decayed, cracked or injured in some
way, your dentist tries to save as much of the natural
tooth as possible, restoring it so that you can continue
to eat and speak comfortably. It is usually less
time-consuming and costly to treat the tooth instead of
creating a replacement with a bridge or dental implant.
Unlike past generations, tooth loss
is not an inevitable part of aging. If you take good
care of your teeth, the likelihood of saving them is, in
most cases, high. Modern treatments and dental materials
can help save damaged teeth that might have been
considered 'hopeless' just a few decades ago. When
disease or an accident results, it's good to know that
there are options for saving your teeth.
When there is not enough tooth left
to support a filling, your dentist may recommend a crown
that covers, or caps, a tooth to restore it to its
normal shape and size. A crown may also be used to
attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from fracturing or
restore a fractured tooth.
Years ago, teeth with diseased or
injured pulp (a tooth's soft core) were extracted.
Today, your dentist may be able to save such a tooth
through root canal (endodontic) treatment. Endodontic
treatment can safely and comfortably save a tooth that
otherwise would have to be removed.
These measures can help you keep your
natural teeth and enjoy good dental health for a
Decay and Root Canal Problems Restorative materials are
used to "fill" the hole that is left after your dentist
removes the decay. Amalgam (silver) fillings,
tooth-colored composite resins and glass ionomers are
commonly used to repair decayed teeth.
inlays or onlays may be used to restore teeth that are
severely damaged by decay or wear. An inlay fits within
the contours of the tooth. An onlay fits within the
contours of the tooth and covers part or all of the
chewing surface. The restoration is made from a mold or
cast of the tooth.
When faced with a
badly decayed, cracked or injured tooth, it's not
uncommon for some patients to ask their dentists "Why
not just take it out?" Although this may seem like a
quick fix, in the long run, replacing the tooth may be
more expensive and time-consuming than simply repairing
it. Nothing can take the place of a healthy set of teeth
and each and every tooth is important.