My Blog

Posts for: September, 2018

By Laura Elliff, DMD
September 20, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

Dental crowns are an essential means for restoring damaged or unattractive teeth. A well-crafted crown not only functions well, it looks and blends seamlessly with the rest of the natural teeth.

Crowns are artificial caps that cover an entire visible tooth, often used for heavily decayed or damaged teeth or as added protection after a root canal treatment. Most crowns are produced by a dental lab, but some dentists are now creating them in-office with computer-based milling equipment. On the whole, the various crowns now available function adequately as teeth—but they can vary in their appearance quality.

In the early to mid 20th Century the all-metal crown was the standard; but while durable, it could be less than eye-pleasing. Although more life-like dental porcelain existed at the time, it tended to be brittle and could easily shatter under chewing stress.

Dentists then developed a crown that combined the strength of metal with the attractiveness of porcelain: the porcelain fused to metal or PFM crown. The PFM crown had a hollow, metal substructure that was cemented over the tooth. To this metal base was fused an outer shell of porcelain that gave the crown an attractive finish.

The PFM reigned as the most widely used crown until the mid 2000s. By then improved forms of porcelain reinforced with stronger materials like Lucite had made possible an all-ceramic crown. They’re now the most common crown used today, beautifully life-like yet durable without the need for a metal base.

All-ceramics may be the most common type of crown installed today, but past favorites’ metal and PFM are still available and sometimes used. So depending on the type and location of the tooth and your own expectations, there’s a right crown for you.

However, not all crowns even among all-ceramic have the same level of aesthetic quality or cost—the more life-like, the more expensive. If you have dental insurance, your plan’s benefits might be based on a utilitarian but less attractive crown. You may have to pay more out of pocket for the crown you and your dentist believe is best for you.

Whatever you choose, though, your modern dental crown will do an admirable, functional job. And it can certainly improve your natural tooth’s appearance.

If you would like more information on dental restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Laura Elliff, DMD
September 10, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

When things get unpleasant in your mouth, it’s most often related to some underlying cause. In fact, the discomfort you’re feeling is often a call to action to have it checked and treated.

The American Dental Association recently surveyed approximately 15,000 U.S. adults about their oral problems. If you have any of the top 3 problems found in this survey, it could be a “warning bell” sounding in your mouth right now.

Here, then, are the top 3 dental problems in America, what they mean and what you should do about them.

#3: Tooth Pain. About a third of respondents (more among those younger or from lower-income households) indicated pain as a problem. As a warning sign of something wrong, tooth pain could be telling you that you have a decayed tooth, a gum abscess or something similar. The best thing to do is get a checkup as soon as possible. It’s unlikely that whatever is causing the pain will go away on its own and procrastination could make ultimate treatment more complex and difficult.

#2: Difficulty Biting. A slightly higher number of people named difficulty chewing and biting as their main oral problem. As with tooth pain, chewing difficulty causes could be many: cracked, loose or decayed teeth, ill-fitted dentures, or a jaw joint disorder (TMD). Again, if it hurts to chew or bite, see a dentist. Besides the underlying problem, chewing difficulties could also affect the quality of your nutrition.

#1: Dry Mouth. Chronic dry mouth garnered the highest response in the survey, especially among older adults. This is more serious than the occasional “cotton mouth” feeling we all experience—with chronic dry mouth the salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva to neutralize mouth acid or fight disease, thus increasing your risk for tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. It’s most likely caused by medications or systemic conditions, so talk with your dentist or physician about boosting saliva flow.

If you would like more information on comprehensive dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Laura Elliff, DMD
September 07, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   crowns  

Dental Crowns and BridgesDental crowns can help you maintain a full, healthy smile. Batavia, IL, dentists Drs. Laura and Andrew Elliff offer dental crowns and other treatments and services that help improve your family's oral health.

What are crowns?

Crowns, also called caps, completely cover damaged, fragile or unattractive teeth. The restorations are hollow inside, allowing them to slide over teeth that have first been reduced in size. Crowns must stand up to intense biting forces every day, making durability a must. They're constructed of strong materials that closely resemble natural tooth enamel, such as porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic or resin.

At your first crown appointment, your dentist will reduce the size of your tooth and make an impression of your mouth. You'll wear a temporary crown for about two weeks. At your next appointment, your permanent crown will be adjusted, then cemented to your tooth.

Your Batavia dentist may recommend a crown in any of these situations:

  • You've fractured a tooth: Fractures can occur due to vehicular accidents, falls, blows to the mouth or cracks in teeth. Although fractures are unsightly, appearance isn't the only concern if you've broken a tooth. Pain and difficulty eating often occur after you've fractured your tooth. Luckily, crowns restore the normal height, width and shape of your teeth.
  • Your tooth is fragile: Fragile teeth are more likely to fracture unless they receive crowns. Teeth can become fragile due to cracks that weaken their structure, root canal therapy or large fillings. In some cases, crowns may be needed because your teeth have become brittle with age. Crowns absorb biting forces, preventing fragile teeth from breaking.
  • Your tooth is too short: Grinding your teeth can shorten teeth, but short teeth can also occur naturally. Shorter teeth can affect both your bite and your appearance. Fortunately, crowns offer a simple way to lengthen the teeth.
  • You don't like the way a tooth looks: Crowns hide discolorations and can completely change the appearance of your teeth. They're an excellent choice if you feel self-conscious about a pointed, crooked or oddly shaped tooth.
  • You lost a tooth: Bridges, restorations that consist of one or more artificial teeth connected to crowns, can fill in the gaps if you've experienced tooth loss.

Could a crown improve your smile? Call Batavia, IL, dentists Drs. Laura and Andrew Elliff at (630) 482-7200 to schedule your appointment.