I have a broken or chipped tooth. What should I do?
The enamel that covers your teeth is the hardest part of your body. Despite their strength, your teeth may fracture or fall out during extreme circumstances. Tooth decay increases the chances of a broken or chipped tooth.
If you have a chipped, fractured or broken tooth, you may or may not be experiencing discomfort. Even if pain is not present, it is important to see a dentist right away. The internal and delicate areas of the tooth may now be exposed to the bacteria in the mouth. Left unprotected, this could quickly lead to new or increased decay, and ultimately result in loss of tooth or root canal therapy.
If your tooth is knocked out, get the tooth and seek emergency dental care. Teeth can sometimes be implanted after being knocked out; however, time is critical. A permanent tooth that’s been knocked out has the best chance of being re-implanted within 30 minutes of the incident. If you cannot see an emergency dentist, you should visit the ER.
Will dental insurance cover my emergency dental care?
You will love that we contract with 90% of all dental insurance providers. Should this not be the case and we cannot find coverage, we will work with you to mitigate as much cost as possible so you can go home pain free, and not have you lose sleep over the overall cost. Our priority is to get you feeling better and eliminating the source of pain you are experiencing.
What happens if I lose a tooth filling?
If you lose a filling, send us a note as soon as you can. In the meanwhile, there are a couple of short-term remedies you can try. Inquire at your pharmacy, and pick up some over-the-counter dental cements available to use as a temporary stop gap.
For an even shorter term remedy, you may also use sugar-free gum to cover the cavity. Be sure it is sugar free gum, because any sugar entering the cavity can cause severe pain.
Cavities left untreated can develop into more serious problems, including loss of the tooth.
Should I go to the ER for a toothache?
Probably not. ER doctors, surgeons, and physicians cannot practice dentistry, and it is extremely rare to find an ER or urgent care center with an emergency dentist on call. In most cases, a visit to the emergency room or an urgent care center will result in a prescription for some painkillers and/or antibiotics. The emergency room staff will tell you to visit a dentist as soon as possible, and then hand you a bill.
In some extreme (yet very rare) cases, a tooth infection can spread and become a very serious health problem. To avoid an unexpected trip to the ER for a toothache, you should see a dentist once you begin to experience pain. Toothaches almost never disappear on their own, so even if the pain is manageable, you should see the dentist before the problem compounds and becomes more painful and expensive to remedy.
If you have experienced trauma to your face or have not yet taken antibiotics, you may want to consider the ER or an urgent care centers. Antibiotics can reduce swelling, and may be necessary before a dentist can perform any treatment. However, this is not a permanent solution.
CROWN & BRIDGE
Crowns vs. Bridges
Crowns act as the biting surfaces for one individual tooth while bridges are a way to connect multiple consecutive teeth and create a look, feel, and function of a fully functioning set of teeth. Our labs can create bridges so realistic they are almost indistinguishable from natural teeth, but an analysis of the bone structure must be made before options are presented to the patient. Although bridges are more affordable overall, it must be anchored by a minimum of two points in the jawbone, so an experienced dentist must assess the strength and adequacy of the surrounding jawbone first.
Crowns vs. Veneers
Each have their benefits. A dental crown covers your entire tooth structure and adds support when you bite and chew. It does, however, require the removal of more of your tooth structure to create enough space for the dental crown. In teeth visible when you smile, it is beneficial to use all porcelain crowns so that a dark margin is not visible at the gumline. This is common with metal and porcelain fused crowns.
Since porcelain veneers only require the removal of the front of your tooth structure, they leave more of your natural tooth structure intact. They contain no metal and are very natural in appearance. Often, patients opt for veneers on their front teeth because of their esthetic results. What will work best for you depends largely on the extent of the image to your tooth and your personal preference. We also take into account your bite and how your teeth come together. Anytime you have dentistry that affects your bite, it must be closely evaluated so that you can enjoy the best, long-term results.
How long do crowns and bridges last?
Everyone is different when it comes to the life span of their dental work. Since individual biology and behavior vary, it is difficult to say precisely how long a dental crown will last. After we’ve had a chance to examine your teeth, though, we can usually give you a fairly close estimate.
We’ve seen dramatic improvements in the last ten years in dental materials and technology used to create and place dental crowns. But the life of your crown has a lot to do with your own oral hygiene and behavior, which can significantly impact how long your crown will last. Some things that can affect this are a strong dental bite, gum disease, and excessive force on your teeth due to grinding and clenching.
In general, if you are healthy and follow practice proper oral hygiene, your crowns can be expected to last for about 15 years. If you are really diligent about your overall oral health care, your crowns could last a lifetime.
As part of your regular checkups, Dr. Jenny Ngai will examine your crowns for signs of weakness or damage and address any of these problems to prevent your crowns from breaking or coming loose.
We’ve placed many crowns over the years with great results. This experience helps to ensure that your crowns last for as long as possible, especially if you return to our office for your regular dental exams and cleanings.
What's the process like to get a crown or bridge?
Dr. Jenny Ngai is highly experienced with thousands of patients practicing painless dentistry and does everything to keep you as comfortable as possible. Having a dental crown placed should not hurt when it’s done correctly.
The process of getting a new crown takes a few visits. First, the placement area must be prepared. That means removing existing infections and stabilizing the tooth to support a crown. Next, we take impressions and create the exact specifications for the crown including, dimensions, how it interacts with your opposing bite, material, color, and send the order to a dental lab. The lab hand creates your crown to exact specifications, and the art is creating a look and feel that completely blends in with your existing teeth so it is indistinguishable in your smile.
When we prepare your tooth during the first appointment, we will numb the area so that you don’t feel anything. After that first visit, there usually is no need to use any anesthetic, but we certainly can if you are very sensitive.
Once the finished crown is placed, it may feel different than normal at first. This is only because the crown is a new fixture in your mouth, and it may take a day or two to get used to the feel of it.
Our doctors are very gentle and sensitive to your needs, and we will do everything to make sure you are comfortable throughout the process. If you would like more information about dental crowns and how they work, please give us a call!
Do root canals hurt?
Thanks to the advent of modern local anesthetics, root canals can now be a very nearly painless procedure. Root Canals tend to get a reputation since the infection leading up to the need can be painful, but once the strong numbing agent is on your teeth, you won’t feel a thing!
The inner portion of your tooth (the root canal) is home to nerves and tissue that become inflamed when decay is present. That is why most people experience severe pain as the primary symptom of an infected root canal.
In order to relieve the pain and save the tooth, we must remove the infected material to stop decay from spreading. If you put off treatment, the infection may damage the tooth beyond repair.
Obviously, putting off root canal treatment is not wise. If you are experiencing pain and think you may need a root canal, please contact our office as soon as possible. We will assess your situation and determine if a root canal is necessary and detail all your options on the table.
Why do I need a root canal?
You will most likely need a root canal if your tooth becomes damaged by large cavities, trauma, or severe gum disease. If this damage progresses, it can reach the inner portion of your tooth where the nerves are located. This results in great discomfort, and a root canal becomes necessary to relieve the pain and save the tooth.
Many people still have the impression that a root canal is something to worry about. In reality, dental techniques and materials have improved so much that a root canal is really no more complicated than having a tooth pulled.
During the root canal, the material inside the root is gently cleared away, and the area is disinfected and sealed. A dental crown may be needed to strengthen and protect the tooth from further damage.
Dr. Jenny Ngai has extensive experience in performing root canals and understand your concerns. They will answer any questions you have and make sure you understand the procedure before beginning treatment.
Do root canal infections always show symptoms?
In the majority of cases, you will notice some type of symptom that indicates an infected root canal. Although, there are cases where there are no symptoms and the infection will only be found by your dentist on an x-ray.
This is another reason why Dr. Jenny Ngai stresses the importance of regular checkups. When we take periodic x-rays of your teeth, we can detect a root canal infection long before it shows any symptoms and becomes serious.
Early treatment of an infected root canal is not just important for preventing symptoms, but it significantly increases the odds of saving the tooth and preventing the further spread of infection.
Some of the common symptoms of an infected root canal are:
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- A small bump on the surface of your gum
- Discomfort when touching the tooth
- Severe pain that worsens over time
But some of these symptoms, like increased sensitivity can indicate other serious oral health problems. Only a dentist can evaluate your situation properly and determine if a root canal is necessary.
Will I need a crown after root canal treatment?
It is difficult to say whether you will definitely need a crown but, in the great majority of cases, the answer is yes, you will most likely need a dental crown after root canal treatment.
In general, dental crowns are used to provide support and strengthen a tooth that has been weakened. In the case of a root canal, the condition of the tooth before treatment is one of the determining factors. If the tooth has already been compromised by extensive decay, a dental crown will help protect it from further damage.
Dental crowns are versatile restorations, and protecting a tooth after a root canal is just one of their uses. We can also use dental crowns to make cosmetic alterations like reshaping of a tooth. If your teeth are severely discolored and cannot be whitened using traditional treatment, a crown is a good choice for creating a new, fresh-looking surface.
At Jenny Ngai DDS, our first priority is protecting your oral health, and restorations like dental crowns help us accomplish that goal. But the type of treatment we choose really depends on your specific needs.
We’ll go over all your options, what we recommend, and the costs associated with each in detail so you can make the best decision to balance health and finances.
How do I know if I need to remove a tooth?
Your dentist should be able to tell you if you need a tooth or teeth removed for your overall oral health and comfort. If you are unsure of your dentist’s recommendation regarding your teeth, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion from another dental professional.
Whether or not you need a tooth extracted is your choice. It is a decision Dr. Jenny Ngai can assist you to determine your individual needs.
What happens after you pull a tooth?
Following an extraction, Dr. Jenny Ngai will send you home to recover. Recovery typically takes a few days. The following can help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed recovery.
- Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for three to four hours after the extraction.
- Apply an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure to keep down swelling. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time.
- Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Limit activity for the next day or two.
- Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
- After 24 hours, rinse with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
- Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
- Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.
Why do I need a filling?
Our bodies have the amazing ability to repair injured structures. For example, when we break a bone, our body is able to heal the bone by creating new cells that glue the bone back together. Unfortunately, this isn’t true when it comes to our teeth. Although we do get two sets of teeth in our life, once a hole forms in a tooth, the body cannot repair it. Hundreds of years ago (before fillings existed), cavities eventually caused people so much pain that they would have the tooth removed.
Amazingly, modern dentistry has found a way to let you keep your decayed teeth. All that needs to be done is to have the bacteria professionally removed and then to replace the hole in the tooth with a hard, tooth-like material known as a dental filling.
What types of fillings are there?
Amalgam (silver) Fillings: This is a common choice because it’s often the least costly and the fastest and easiest to use. It’s a mixture of metals such as mercury, silver, and tin. Some people are concerned about the level of mercury in amalgam fillings, but the Food and Drug Administration has said they’re safe for adults and children age 6 and above.
Composite Resins: These are tooth-colored fillings that can match the color of your teeth. They’re not as durable as metal, however, so you may have to get them replaced more frequently.
Ionomers: These tooth-colored materials are sometimes used for small cavities or cavities in between your teeth. Some release small amounts of fluoride, which can help if you’re prone to getting cavities.
Gold: Gold is durable and strong, but this option is costly, for obvious reasons. In addition, it’s hard to work with, so it may also make the procedure longer and more costly.
Ceramics: These tooth-colored fillings are costly, yet durable. They can be abrasive if they hit up against your natural teeth. You might need several appointments to ensure that you’re biting correctly and that the dental crown is smooth.
How long will it take to get rid of cavities?
The time taken to filling your teeth depends on the severity of the decay. Mild to moderate cavities may require 20-30 minutes to fill while bigger ones may take up to an hour. Filling cavities in children and senior patients may take a bit longer as it is difficult for these age groups to keep their mouth open continuously for extended periods of time.
In case your are undergoing a root canal therapy, it may take 2-3 appointments for the entire procedure to complete as it requires additional steps like fabricating and placing a crown.
How long will a filling last?
Statistics says that silver or amalgam fillings can last as long as 12 years whereas tooth colored fillings(white fillings) survive 8-10 years. Crowns and veneers can remain in good shape for 10-20 years or even longer. There are numerous factors that can affect the longevity of the fillings which Dr. Jenny Ngai is comfortable sharing with you if you feel like stopping in or scheduling an appointment.
It is extremely important that you do not neglect your oral health and visit the dentist at least once in six months. Identifying and removing dental decay in the early stages will save a lot of money, time and effort in the long run. Thus, if you feel something doesn’t feel right with your teeth immediately book an appointment with your dentist and visit at the earliest convenience.
What is the average cost of dentures?
Denture fees vary widely based on many factors including the complexity of your particular treatment, the time required to accomplish the treatment, and the insurance you may have. The best way to determine fees for the services you require is to visit with Dr. Jenny Ngai and discuss the care you may need.
You may also contact your state or local dental society to find out if the organization has any resources for the public related to the cost of dental services.
Complete vs. Partial Dentures
Here are the differences between complete and partial dentures:
Partial dentures – When we can save your natural teeth, we will. It is the best way to protect your health, plus your remaining natural teeth provide an anchor for your partial denture by attaching with clips. Many patients feel this feels more secure than a complete denture.
Complete dentures – If you have missing teeth on your upper or lower arch, using a partial denture will not be possible. We can create comfortable and secure complete dentures to replace all your missing teeth. In some cases, patients even opt to have their denture attached to dental implants to add additional security for eating, laughing, and smiling. With dental implant-retained dentures, you never have to worry about them moving at the wrong time.
How long do dentures last on average?
Statistics show that dentures last between 5 and 7 years. Just like natural teeth, dentures wear down and stain with age. Your mouth is constantly changing. To make sure your dentures fit properly, they will need adjustments from time to time. We suggest seeing your dentist yearly for a denture check-up. You should always notify your dentist at the first sign of irritation, no matter how minor it may seem. Your health and comfort are important.
How much pain is involved with getting dentures?
When you’re first fitted for new dentures, it’s normal to experience minor irritation, which should fade as your mouth becomes accustomed to them. The period of pain varies. If you’ve previously worn dentures and now have a new set it may take longer. Similarly, if you had some natural teeth present that were removed at the time of the new dentures, the areas where the extractions were performed may be painful or uncomfortable for up to several weeks after the removal of the teeth. Regular visits to your office to adjust the dentures as you go through the normal healing process are recommended.