While you can't typically see your second and third molars when you smile, your first molar likely peeks out a little, or is fully visible, when you flash your pearly whites. If you have a bad cavity in your first molar, then you may be putting off getting the restoration you need due to worry that the root canal will be painful and/or the fear that the tooth will end up looking unnatural afterward. Before you put off your needed dental work any longer, realize that fixing it soon is important, or you could end up facing an extraction when the decay becomes too extreme for your dentist to restore with a root canal. Follow these two tips for getting a pain-free root canal and a crown that looks extremely natural.
1. Take Advantage of New Drill-Free Root Canals
While every dentist takes steps to ensure patients don't experience pain during any type of root canal, some people just don't like the sensation of the dental drill against their teeth. If you dislike drills, then it is is a great time to take advantage of new laser dentistry technology. Lasers can now be used to perform root canals, and they work by dissolving your tooth pulp and existing tooth decay. Once the tooth pulp and tooth decay is removed, your dentist just needs to fill your tooth and top it with a crown.
2. Choose the Right Crown for the Most Natural Look
If this will be your first crown, then you need to know that there are three types -- all porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, and all metal. Which is the best? It depends on the tooth it is being placed on. Since your first molar is likely at least slightly visible when you are smiling or talking, an all-metal crown is not the best option for the most natural look. Metal is typically reserved for back molars that aren't easily seen. So that should narrow down your decision to either an all-porcelain crown or the porcelain-fused-to-metal one.
The first step to deciding between these two crown options is taking a look in the mirror and flashing a big smile. Since all smiles are different, you may see just a sliver of this molar or the entire tooth. However, focus your eyes on the gum-line. Does the gum-line just above this tooth show? If so, then an all-porcelain crown is your best bet. If it doesn't show, then either one will look natural.
The reason lies in what could potentially happen over time with a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown. Some people who have this type of crown for many years eventually experience a slight wearing of the porcelain at the gum-line, and this thinner layer of porcelain can look slightly gray as the tone of the underlying metal peeks through. This poses no hazard to the integrity or strength of the crown itself, but it just leads to a slight imperfection in the look of the tooth that likely won't be noticeable to others, but you personally may not like the look of.
When you follow these steps, you can determine the crown for this tooth that will look the most natural for many years, but if your dentist—like Patrick M Pitts and other professionals—suggests that a different crown is a better option for the tooth, then go with his or her advice, because every person and every tooth is different.
If your first molar has a deep cavity or extensive decay, then realize that the sooner you have the tooth restored, the more of your natural tooth your dentist will likely be able to save. If you fear that the root canal process will be painful or leave you with a tooth that looks unnatural, then don't worry, because today's modern root canal techniques and crown options can help your dentist give you a great, pain-free restoration that looks just like your natural tooth.