Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowns and Bridges
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowns and Bridges

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowns and Bridges

What is a dental crown?

  • A dental crown encases a damaged tooth completely within a custom-fit cap, or crown, fitting perfectly over the affected tooth. A dental crown is designed specifically for you and your tooth’s particular design, fit and function. It is a restorative therapy that can restore function to a tooth that may have had excessive decay, has been cracked or has recently undergone root canal treatment.

How do dental crowns work?

  • A dental crown covers a damaged tooth entirely and can be used to improve not only the tooth’s appearance, but also its shape or alignment.

What is a dental bridge?

  • A dental bridge makes a literal bridge between two anchor teeth, filling a gap left by a missing tooth that has either fallen out naturally or is the result of acute decay or facial trauma. Dental crowns cover the bordering anchor teeth, allowing the bridge to fit securely and to function as your natural tooth.

What materials are used for dental crowns?

  • Dental crowns can be porcelain (ceramic), porcelain-fused-to-metal, or gold or other metal alloy. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be designed to closely match the color and translucency of your natural teeth. Metal alloys are usually stronger, and are a better choice for back teeth.

Is a dental cap a crown?   

  • Yes! A dental cap is another name for a dental crown.

Am I a candidate for a dental bridge?

  • If you are missing a tooth and you have adjacent teeth that are stable, dental bridges are for you. Even if you are missing a front tooth or a tooth that has only one border, there are types of dental bridges that could meet your needs.

Are there alternatives to a dental bridge?

  • Dental implants are rising in popularity as technology has improved. A dental implant can restore a single tooth or can restore several, and are the standard of care for the replacement of a missing tooth today. Because a dental implant continues to stimulate the jawbone, it doesn’t lead to bone loss over time.

Schedule your appointment at our Morehead City dental office

How Does Chewing Gum Affect my Teeth?

How Does Chewing Gum Affect my Teeth?

Gone are the days when chewing gum is considered poor etiquette. In today’s society, you can find people chewing gum in business meetings, church, and just about every other situation. With gum chewing so prevalent, you may have wondered what it’s doing to people’s teeth. You may be surprised to learn that research shows that chewing sugarless gum has a number of dental benefits. Let’s see how it can actually be a helpful addition to your oral care routine.

Saliva flow
Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which rinses away food particles. Saliva also neutralizes acids that result from bacteria in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay. Known to carry with it calcium and phosphate, increased saliva flow also helps strengthen your tooth enamel.

ADA acceptance
Choose gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal, indicating it as met the required safety and effectiveness criteria. This approval means that you can trust the gum’s packaging and labeling to be true.

Sugarless
The only gums carrying the ADA Seal are sugarless. They contain sweeteners that don’t cause cavities, like aspartame, mannitol, sorbitol, or xylitol. Chewing gum with xylitol is especially recommended, because it has been shown to combat tooth decay and cavities.

Dental hygiene
Even though chewing gum can be beneficial, remember that brushing and flossing are still the best ways to care for your teeth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss every day to remove plaque and debris between your teeth. Between these dental hygiene tasks, however, it is acceptable to chew sugarless gum to continue caring for your mouth during the day.

We treat patients from Morehead City and the surrounding area

General Dentistry: Why You Should Never Skip Regular Appointments

General Dentistry: Why You Should Never Skip Regular Appointments

Most of us know we should visit our general dentist every six months for exams and cleanings to ensure optimal oral health, but it seems we find many reasons to avoid those visits. Busy schedules or fear of dental treatments often mean people skip critical routine oral care. However, there are several reasons why you should make regular appointments with your general dentist a priority.

First, routine cleanings by your general dentist will give you a brighter, healthier smile. While brushing and flossing at home are important, it is impossible to remove all of the plaque that accumulates over time. Left untreated, plaque causes decay that leads to cavities and gum disease. Professional cleanings by your general dentist removes plaque and stains, leaving your breath fresher and your smile whiter.

Second, regular examinations allow your dentist to identify potential problems before they become severe. Cavities and gum disease caught early are much simpler to treat, preventing the need for procedures like root canal therapy, crowns, or even tooth extractions. Seeing your general dentist routinely will keep these types of problems in check, and save you from more complex and invasive procedures later.

Finally and most importantly, regular checkups with your general dentist can have a direct impact on your overall health. Poor oral health affects your entire body. A decayed tooth can cause a bacterial infection that spreads to other areas of your body. A general dentist checks your mouth for signs of disease, decay, and even certain cancers.

Stop making excuses and find a qualified general dentist with hours and an office location that is convenient to you. Consult with the staff about your dental fears and learn what types of services are offered to make your visit less stressful. If you value both your beautiful smile and your excellent health, be sure to keep regular visits to the dentist on your calendar.

We look forward to seeing you in our Morehead City dental office

Flossing: A Tool for Better Health

Flossing: A Tool for Better Health

Cleaning between your teeth and along your gums with dental floss is just as important as using your toothbrush. Although many people complain about flossing or completely avoid doing it, there should be no excuse for neglecting this part of your dental hygiene routine.

Flossing your teeth allows you to get rid of food particles and plaque that is caught between your teeth. It is able to reach areas that your toothbrush can’t. Therefore, flossing plays a key role in preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

You should floss your teeth at least once every day, using a gentle touch so you don’t damage your gums. You can use waxed or unwaxed dental floss, depending upon your preference and which one works best for you. Interdental cleaning aids like picks and sticks may also be carefully used, as well as floss holders. These tools are especially helpful for those with arthritis and vision problems.

Another item that may help remove trapped food debris is a water spray tool called an oral irrigator, although it shouldn’t replace flossing. The same is true for mouthwash, which may be used to help rinse away germs and temporarily freshen breath. You can add these items to your hygiene routine, but giving up flossing should not be an option. Using dental floss is the very best way to attack food particles and plaque so that you have the greatest chance for a healthy mouth.

Dr. Jack T. Winchester is a family and cosmetic dentist in Morehead City

How a Dental Crown or Bridge Can Improve Your Smile

How a Dental Crown or Bridge Can Improve Your Smile

Severely damaged, injured or diseased teeth can lead to not only cosmetic problems with your smile, but also functional ones. Your dentist may recommend dental crowns or dental bridges to treat your dental issues.

Dental crowns are a restorative dental therapy that covers the affected tooth completely, serving as the new outer surface of the tooth. A dental crown maintains the natural roots of a tooth and can prevent extraction. A dental bridge fills the gap left by one or more missing teeth and is affixed to bordering teeth with an anchoring crown.

Both dental crowns and dental bridges are made from a variety of materials that can be designed to match the color of your surrounding natural teeth. As opposed to removable prosthodontics such as full or partial dentures, dental crowns and bridges are permanently bonded to existing teeth or dental implants, allowing them to function and appear as natural teeth.

Dental crowns and bridges have a number of advantages and benefits, such as:

  • Dental crowns protect the natural tooth after a root canal therapy, helping to prevent bacteria re-infecting the tooth that could lead to extraction.
  • Dental bridges restore gapped or missing teeth, providing support to the surrounding teeth, preventing them from shifting in to fill the empty space and affecting your speech, bite and smile.
  • Your dentist can typically place dental crowns and bridges in as few as two appointments.
  • Dental crowns and bridges are both long-lasting, durable therapies, designed to protect your natural tooth for years to come.
  • Dental crowns prevent bone loss by preserving the natural tooth roots, thereby stimulating the jawbone, preventing resorption, or shrinkage, of the bone following extraction.

If you have questions about what a dental crown or bridge can do to improve the form and function of your smile, talk to your dental professional today. You can restore your healthy smile and preserve it for years to come with a dental crown or dental bridge treatment.

If you need a dentist in Morehead City contact us today

Oral Health Advice

Oral Health Advice

Why wait until you have a toothache, bleeding gums, bad breath, or other problems to decide it’s time to start focusing on your oral health? Your mouth and your whole body can benefit from maintaining good oral health. Here is some simple advice that will help you along the path to a healthy smile.

Brushing and flossing
Tooth decay and gum disease are both preventable with proper brushing and flossing. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, using a circular motion. It’s best to brush after every meal, but twice a day should be the minimum. Gently floss your teeth daily to remove food particles and bacteria between your teeth.

Eating right
Focusing on eating foods from each food group will aid your oral health in addition to your overall health. Not getting essential nutrients in your diet increases your risk of gum disease, and also makes it more difficult for your body to resist infection. Eat low fat dairy items, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Look for foods low in sugar, which can lead to tooth decay. Avoid snacking too much during the day when you aren’t going to brush your teeth afterwards, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Seeing your dentist
Visit your dentist at least twice a year for checkups. During these appointments, your dentist will look for problems and professionally clean your teeth. Delays in treatment of some conditions can cause them to worsen to the point that treatment may be more painful, difficult, or costly. Your dentist will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy so that you can keep smiling as long as possible.

If you live in the Morehead City area contact us today

Comprehensive Dental Center

Dr. Jack T. Winchester
3705 Symi Circle
Morehead City, NC 28557
252-247-3510

Our practice is conveniently located in Morehead City, NC

Our Hours
Monday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Tuesday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Wednesday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Friday: Closed

Directions to our office