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The Best Way to Restore a Large Cavity

No one likes to hear that they have a cavity but if one does develop, it’s important to treat it as early as possible with the right method. There are two main ways that a cavity can be restored: fillings or crowns. When it comes to large cavities, crowns are often the better option.

Why Choose a Crown Instead of a Filling? 

Restoring a cavity requires the removal of the infected or decayed tooth material. Smaller cavities can be treated with fillings since there is enough structure left to support the tooth. However, for large cavities, significant removal of the tooth material is needed to successfully clear away all the decayed matter. If the tooth does not have enough structure on its own, a filling might actually weaken the tooth and not give it the strength it needs. This could cause the tooth to crack or completely chip away, leading to larger complications

The Benefits of Crowns 

Fillings work just like their name sounds. A composite material is placed into the grooves of the teeth to seal off the inner layers and strengthen a cracked or decayed tooth. While fillings are a beneficial treatment, they aren’t always the best option for larger cavities. Instead, a dental crown might be needed. Rather than filling in a hole or deep crack in the tooth, crowns fit like a cap over the tooth’s surface. This gives the remaining tooth the structure and support needed to hold pressure when biting or chewing. Since crowns completely cover the tooth, they also have a better seal to keep out cavity-causing bacteria. 

Is a Filling or Crown Right for You?

The best way to determine whether you require a crown or filling is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. They will evaluate the size of the cavity and how much healthy tooth material remains. After this examination, they will recommend the best course of treatment to restore the tooth. 

If a crown is necessary to properly restore your tooth, there are several options available. Porcelain crowns can be used on any tooth while gold crowns are often used on the back teeth, especially for people who grind or clench their teeth. Porcelain fused to metal is another option that gives the restored tooth strength while blending into the surrounding teeth. These options will also be discussed in greater detail at your dental examination.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are noticing discoloration or tooth sensitivity, these might be signs that you have a cavity. We encourage you to schedule an appointment today at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics in Reno, NV. Our friendly team of dentists is here to help you restore a healthy, beautiful smile.

Margin Decay

Although crowns are a reliable tool for tooth restoration, the teeth are still susceptible to decay and damage over time. One type of decay that is indirectly caused by crowns is margin decay. Luckily, with early diagnosis and treatment, the teeth can be protected and your beautiful smile restored.

What is Margin Decay? 

Tooth decay is a breakdown of the tooth’s enamel caused by harmful bacteria that feed on sugars and carbohydrates left on the teeth. As the bacteria eat through the tooth material, a cavity forms. Cavities and tooth decay can form on any tooth as the result of improper brushing techniques, a sugary diet, and frequent snacking. Margin decay is a specific type of tooth decay that forms where the tooth meets the crown (the margin). A crown is a cap placed over the tooth to strengthen it after cavity removal or the repair of a cracked tooth. With early diagnosis and treatment, the crown and tooth can be restored to prevent further damage.

How Does Margin Decay Form? 

One of the most difficult places to access with a toothbrush is the margin between the crown and tooth. Food and bacteria can easily get stuck in this narrow area and without the right toothbrush, it is difficult to remove. It’s necessary to treat margin decay as soon as possible because it develops quickly, penetrating through the enamel into the deeper layers of the tooth. If bacteria reaches the soft pulp layer (dentin layer), containing the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels, there is the risk of a serious infection.

How is Margin Decay Treated? 

Margin decay can be diagnosed with a thorough dental examination at our office. During the exam, your dentist will assess the severity of the decay to develop an effective treatment plan. If the decay is newly developed and can be easily reached, your dentist will carefully remove the damaged tooth material and place a filling to support the tooth. More advanced margin decay may require a filling or crown replacement to re-seal and strengthen the tooth.

There are several options for crowns and fillings at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics. Your dentist will provide you with all your options and can help you determine the best choice for your specific needs, depending on the type of tooth being treated and the amount of damaged tooth material that is removed. 

Schedule an Appointment

If you suspect margin decay, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics in Reno, NV. Our skilled dental team will provide a thorough assessment of your teeth and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

How Do Crowns and Root Canals Work Together?

If you have ever had a cavity, you know how painful it can be. Although a root canal may sound scary, it is the only effective solution to restore healthy teeth and prevent future damage. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, you can expect compassionate care as we work to repair your teeth with a root canal and crowning.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that is often necessary if you have a decaying tooth. The inner tooth tissue (the pulp) can be infected by bacteria that enter the tooth from an untreated cavity or a crack caused by injury. During a root canal, the infected or dead pulp in the center of the tooth is removed with a special tool called a file. This is performed under local anesthesia so you will not feel any pain during the procedure.

How Root Canals Affect a Tooth

After a root canal, your tooth may be more brittle or weak. The inner pulp layer removed during a root canal contains much of the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. Therefore, the tooth’s blood supply is lost after a root canal. Additionally, the tooth is weakened because only the sides are left after a root canal. Hollowed teeth after a root canal are more at risk of cracking or breaking when you bite down on food or put pressure on the treated tooth.

How Crowns Protect the Teeth

A crown is a protective cap placed over decayed or broken teeth. Crowns are almost always placed after a root canal to restore the tooth’s strength and prevent future problems like tooth breakage. There are many types of crowns that can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or gold. Crowns are also custom fitted for every patient. The type of tooth and its location will often impact which material is chosen. For example, porcelain crowns are a great choice for the front teeth since they blend into your natural tooth color for a flawless smile.

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Infection or tooth decay that is left untreated could lead to a more serious infection, bone loss, or loss of the entire tooth. If you have any of the following symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away:

  • Pain in the tooth or gums
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Warm feeling in the gums
  • Tooth discoloration

Oral Health Care at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we specialize in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry as well as orthodontics. If you have an untreated cavity and are beginning to feel the effects of your damaged tooth, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today.

How Long Will My Dental Crown Last?

A crown is a cap made of very strong materials that’s placed over a defective tooth to preserve its function and avoid an extraction. Reasons to place a crown include:

  • A cracked or damaged tooth
  • A very deep cavity
  • As part of a root canal procedure
  • To anchor a dental bridge

Dental crowns are long-lasting solutions for these issues, but they are not permanent. To learn how long you can expect your dental crown to last, we need to know more about the specifics of how crowns work.

Crown Materials

Common materials used for crowns include porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, and gold. Gold used for crowns is mixed with other metals to make it stronger. This is because pure gold is too soft to use for dental crowns or jewelry.

Porcelain crowns give an excellent cosmetic result because the material closely matches the shade of the surrounding teeth. This is especially important if the affected tooth is easily visible. Gold is an excellent choice for back molar crowns, though. It’s a strong material that resists chipping and cracking and molds well to the contours of the tooth.

Preparing for a Crown

If one of our dentists determines you need a crown, the procedure is simple and painless. After numbing the area, the dentist will shape the affected tooth and prepare it for its crown. After that, a dental impression is taken. Next, the dentist will fashion a temporary crown for you to wear while you’re waiting for your permanent crown, which typically takes about two weeks. When your permanent crown is ready, your dentist will install it using very strong dental cement capable of holding the tooth firmly for many years.

If you’re receiving a dental bridge, your dentist will have to prepare the two teeth on either side of the gap in the mouth for a crown. These teeth will serve as anchors for the bridge itself that attaches to the anchor teeth.

How Long do Crowns Last?

Crowns can last for 5 to 15 years and even longer. The average time is about 10 years. You can care for your crown and increase its life by following some simple rules:

Reduce Refined Sugar and Soda Intake and Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Porcelain and gold crowns cannot decay, of course, but the teeth surrounding them can. The integrity of your crown is determined partly by the presence of healthy abutting teeth. Teeth are like herd animals; they like to crowd together. By avoiding sugar and soda as much as possible, you increase your chances of keeping the teeth next to the crowned tooth healthy. Remember, a crown is always weaker than a natural tooth.

Use a Mouth Guard

If you grind your teeth at night, a condition called bruxism, you can cause uneven and excessive wear on your teeth and their enamel. This constant grinding can also damage your crown. If your dentist tells you to wear a mouth guard, always follow this advice.

Don’t Use Your Teeth as A Tool

Use the proper implements to open packages, not your teeth.

Don’t Bite Down on Hard Objects

Hard candy, certain nuts, ice, and caramel may cause damage to your crown and even natural teeth, too.

South Meadows Dental and Orthodontics

Only a dental professional can determine if you need a crown or not. Here at South Meadows Dental, we offer full service general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry all in one place. You may schedule an appointment by contacting us online or calling (775) 413-2976 to reach our Reno, Nevada office. We warmly welcome new patients and can’t wait to see you!