Dental Education Lecture: Bases for Beauty
When Mr. Cheng became our patient two years ago, he was in a pretty bad shape. He has several cavities, including one in the front (Fig.1: C). The gums are reddish and bleeding (arrowheads). So he has gum disease. Most of patients would ask to fix the cavity in the front. But Mr. Cheng accepts comprehensive treatment plan. X-ray shows that the tooth with big cavity has root tip infection (Fig.2: arrowhead). Root canal is done for this tooth. After removing the cavity, the tooth is almost gone. So a cast post is needed before making a crown (Fig.3: P). Do you notice another big change in his mouth?
In fact, his gums are much healthier: no plaque, no reddish gums (Fig.3). Because deep cleaning is done as well as several broken teeth in the back having been removed. Mr. Cheng is trying hard to keep his mouth clean at home: brushing and flossing. Shade guides (Fig.3: *) are being used to choose shade for the tooth to be repaired by a crown. Actually Mr. Cheng has also Tetracycline teeth, which does not bother him.
Finally he gets what he wishes: a crown (Fig.4: C). P represents a portion of a cast post inside the root. As a matter of fact, a cast post has two portions: one in area of the tooth to restore the middle portion of the crown (Fig.3: P, also being called core). The other one is inside the root for retention purpose. Root canal (R) should be done before making the post. X-ray in Fig.4 is taken about a year after root canal. You may see that the root tip infection is gone (arrowhead), as compared to that in Fig.2.
In summary, the bases for tooth beauty are to get rid of pain and gum infection.
Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 03/28/2011, last revision 03/28/2011