Composite fillings allow Dr. Cunningham to repair an area of decay in a tooth while maintaining the tooth’s natural, white beauty. Composite restorations require only the most conservative tooth preparations, allowing the Dr. Cunningham to save as much of your natural tooth as possible.
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic.
Dr. Cunningham may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
Our crowns and veneers are custom made in Vero Beach, Florida by Mike Addabbo- a true ceramic artist. Mike only works with a handful of dentists and provides some of the most beautiful ceramic restorations available anywhere.
A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Dr. Cunningham can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
Sealants are protective coatings placed over the tops of the back teeth — molars. They block bacteria and acids from sticking in the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces of these teeth. Sealants can be placed in adults and children. Children can have sealants placed on their permanent molars once they come in, around age 6. Sometimes they are also used on primary (baby) molars.
Whitening can be achieved using an at-home bleaching gel and a mouth guard given to you by our office. Results are typically seen in two to four weeks. Whitening toothpastes may remove minor stains, but they aren’t very effective in most cases.
If you’ve had a root canal and the tooth has darkened, Dr. Cunningham may apply a bleaching material to the inside of the tooth.
When a tooth has been chipped or badly damaged or when stains don’t respond to bleaching, Dr. Cunningham may recommend covering the discolored areas. This can be done with composite filling material that is color-matched to the surrounding tooth. Another option is to get veneers, which are thin shells of ceramic that cover the outer surfaces of the teeth.
Dental implants are posts, or anchors, that are surgically implanted into the jawbone and fulfill the role that the root did in the original teeth. Once the dental implants are in place, false teeth are attached to them.
Dental implants provide an incredibly stable and strong base for false teeth which means they won’t wobble or shift in the mouth, providing the most natural feel possible.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are “stages” of periodontal, or gum, disease. Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease marked by inflamed, swollen, bleeding and red gums. Gingivitis is reversible, but if not treated can progress to the more advanced stage called periodontitis where gums pull away from teeth allowing bacteria to cause infection that can damage teeth and their supporting bones. Periodontitis is actually the leading cause of tooth loss.
Periodontitis can cause permanent damage. Follow a strict oral hygiene routine to catch gingivitis early and avoid the progression to more serious gum disease.
Teeth tartar, also called dental calculus, is a crusty deposit that can trap stains on the teeth and cause discoloration. It creates a strong bond that can only be removed by a dental professional. Tartar formation may also make it more difficult to remove new plaque and bacteria. Individuals vary greatly in their susceptibility to plaque and tartar on teeth. For many of us, these deposits build up faster as we age. If plaque is not removed regularly, and completely, minerals in your saliva combine with plaque to form crystals that harden into tartar. While plaque can be removed by thorough brushing and flossing at home, dental calculus can only be removed by a professional in the dental office. Our hygienists will use sharp instruments to scrape (scale) the tartar above and below the gumline and smooth the tooth’s surface which helps prevent plaque from adhering and more tartar from forming.
Endodontic Treatment/Root Canals
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment.
To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.
The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay repeated dental procedures on the tooth or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
The dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. They are custom made to the contour of your teeth and are bonded to the tooth’s original enamel during a series of in-office procedures. Veneers are a less intrusive option than crowns or braces. Veneers can be used to close gaps or correct small misalignments. Patients also choose veneers as a comestic solution to enhance the brightness of their teeth and to straighten their smile, correcting issues like discoloration, fractures, or chips.
Our veneers are custom made in Vero Beach, Florida by Mike Addabbo- a true ceramic artist. Mike only works with a handful of dentists and provides some of the most beautiful ceramic restorations available anywhere.
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