From Our Family To Yours, Welcome To Our Practice
Dr. Perry W. DuRant, DMD & Dr. Ashley G. Covington, DMD
From first contact, we are committed to your individual attention and strive to provide personalized oral health care tailored for your unique dental needs and goals. We work hard to create the ultimate stress-free and comfortable dental experience. Your health and comfort are our top priorities, and we do what it takes to help every patient understand their symptoms and treatment options in a relaxed office setting.
It is our mission to educate and provide our patients with the best dental care in Beaufort, SC.
For that reason, we’ve designed this website to provide you with all of the important information you need to make healthy decisions about your teeth and gums. We encourage you to browse our Services & Procedures section, Location & Hours section and our Contact section if you have any questions about our practice or your oral health.
At Lowcountry Family Dentistry we make it simple to achieve your healthiest, most beautiful smile. Whether you are looking for information on implants, teeth whitening, crowns, or preventive care, you can learn more about all of your options from our FAQ section.
Meet Our Doctors & Staff
All our professionals at Lowcountry Family Dentistry maintain the highest levels of accreditation and pursue ongoing education to stay abreast of the latest trends in dentistry.
Ashley Covington, DMD
Dr. Ashley Covington grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating from Fort Dorchester High School, she went on to study at the College of Charleston. While at College of Charleston she was an active member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and served on its philanthropy committee. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
During her time at College of Charleston, she decided to pursue a career in dentistry. To her, dentistry is a great mix of science and art. Dr. Covington received her Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, where she was an active member of the American Student Dental Association and Psi Omega Fraternity. She volunteered with Give Kids a Smile and Special Smiles in the Charleston Area Special Olympics.
After graduation, she practiced for two years as an associate dentist in a Bluffton dental office and was in private practice in Florence, South Carolina for seven years. Dr. Covington has had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Perry Durant over the years and is excited to assume his practice in Beaufort, South Carolina. Her professional affiliations include the American Dental Association and the South Carolina Dental Association. For Dr. Covington, dentistry is more than just a job; it is also a hobby. She attends many continuing education classes yearly to advance her knowledge. She volunteers in the community by participating in Dental Access Day and by visiting schools to teach elementary and preschool students good oral hygiene habits.
Dr. Covington and her husband, Todd, met at College of Charleston and got married while she was in dental school. They have two beautiful children and devote most of their time to them. As a family, they enjoy visiting parks, going to church, traveling, and doing anything on the water. They are excited to be back in the Lowcountry and to experience all it has to offer.
Perry DuRant, DMD
Dr. Perry W. DuRant graduated from Clemson University in1973 with a BS degree. He then entered the Medical University of South Caolina College of Dental Medicine graduating in 1976. He set up his private practice in Beaufort SC in July of 1976.
To keep abreast of the latest advances in dentistry, Dr. DuRant has studied under dental experts Dr.Peter Dawson, Dr. Michael Schuster and Dr. George Priest. He has taken over and above the required hours of continuing education offered through the Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine, the Medical College of Georgia and the University of North Carolina Dental School. Dr DuRant is a graduate of the Dental Implant Maxi-course post graduate program presented by the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. DuRant is a member of the American Academy of General Dentistry. He was elected to the prestigious Pierre Fauchard Academy.
Dr. DuRant believes in helping his patients maintain their mouth in a healthy, functioning condition with a pleasing smile; all in a caring environment.
Dr. DuRant has been involved in many civic organizations, notably past president of the Beaufort Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He is also invoved in his church. He enjoys family time with his wife, son, daughter, son-in-law and 6 year old grandson.
Lisa Ranger RDH, Dental Hygienist
Lisa is a native Beaufortonian. She received her Dental Hygiene training at Midlands Technical College in Columbia SC and a Bachelor’s degree at the University of SC. Upon graduation she worked in a busy periodontal practice in Columbia for four years before returning to Beaufort and the beautiful coast of SC. She has been with Dr. DuRant for 23 years. She is a strong believer that good oral health is important to your overall health and well being. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys kayaking and walking on the beach with her husband of 28 years, Brian. She has one son, Jimmy, who is a Furman University graduate.
Olivia Crenshaw, Receptionist
Originally from Ohio, Mandy’s dedication to her patients shines through as she seeks to
understand and care for their individual needs. Her genuine concern for patient care makes her an amazing assistant. She received her Dental Assisting Certificate® from New Image Dental Academy in Canton, OH. Now in Beaufort for the past 8 years, we are blessed to have her on our team.
In her spare time enjoys apending time with her husband and beautiful little girls. They can often spent time at the beach, local festivals and fishing.
Mandy Madeline CDA, Dental Assistant
Olivia was born and raised in Columbia, S.C.. She moved to her current home in Beaufort after she and her husband Kyle married in 2012. After 5 years with 303 Associates, she entered the dental field as a receptionist. She enjoys family, camping, vacationing in the mountains, and her two cats.
Tina Calkins CDA, Dental Assistant
Olivia was born and raised in Columbia, S.C.. She moved to her current home in Beaufort after she and her husband Kyle married in 2012. After 5 years with 303 Associates, she entered the dental field as a receptionist. She enjoys family, camping, vacationing in the mountains, and her two cats.
Cheryl Polk RDH, Dental Hygienist
Mandy was born and raised in South Eastern Ohio and relocated to Beaufort in 1998. She graduated in 1985 form Jefferson Technical College as certified Dental Assistant, and has 29 years of dental experience. She has been working with Dr. DuRant for the past 17 years.
Services & Procedures
Regular dental visits are essential to make sure oral health problems — from tooth decay to oral cancer — are detected and treated in a timely manner. At our office, your oral health is our paramount concern. We want to make sure your teeth stay healthy, function well and look great! From regular cleanings and exams to advanced restorative treatments, all of your routine dental needs can be met right here at Lowcountry Family Dentistry. Services we offer include:
- Bonding, to repair small chips or cracks
- Crowns & Bridgework, to replace large amounts of lost tooth structure and/or missing teeth
- Dental Implants, for the longest-lasting tooth replacement available today
- Fillings, to make your teeth strong and healthy again
- Oral Cancer Screenings, to detect disease at a curable stage
- Orthodontic Treatment, to move teeth into the right position
- Periodontal (Gum) Disease Therapy, to prevent tooth loss
- Porcelain Veneers, for repairing larger chips and cracks, and reshaping teeth
- Professional Teeth Cleanings, to maintain good oral health
- Removable Dentures, to help you smile again
- Root Canal Treatment, to save an infected tooth
- Sealants, to protect children’s teeth from decay
- Teeth Whitening, to brighten a faded or discolored smile
- TMJ/TMD Treatment, for chronic jaw pain
- Tooth Extractions, when a tooth is hopelessly damaged or decayed
- Implant Restorations
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
- Oral Sedation
- Cerec Restorations
- Snoring/Mild Sleep Apnea Appliances
Emergency Dental Treatment
If you have a life-threatening or severe injury, call 911 or go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room. We can treat a variety of traumatic dental injuries, including teeth that have been chipped, moved, or knocked out entirely. Please call our office for assistance.
Contact our Beaufort office for Appointments or questions.
We look forward to making each visit to our office a positive experience.We are committed to your individual attention and strive to provide personalized oral health care tailored for your unique dental needs and goals. We work hard to create the ultimate stress-free and comfortable dental experience. Your health and comfort are our top priorities, and we do what it takes to help every patient understand their symptoms and treatment options in a relaxed office setting. Feel free to use our Contact Form below or call us during business hours at: 843-986-0177
We do everything we can to make your visit to Lowcountry Family Dentistry even easier! Get to your appointment faster and skip waiting time by downloading our new patient forms so you can fill them in and have them ready before your appointment! Click HERE to download the new Lowcountry Family Dentistry Patient Forms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, Contact Us.
What does General Dentistry handle?
In general dentistry, the dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of conditions, disorders and diseases affecting the teeth, gums and maxillofacial (jaw and face) parts of the body. Even though general dentists primarily provide preventative care and minor restorative therapy, they are often able to perform a wide array of other dental procedures, including some minor cosmetic treatments.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients visit their general dentist at least once every six months to ensure proper oral health and functionality. Regular oral health check-ups and maintenance help to prevent the development of serious dental problems that may require more extensive and costly treatments. General dentists are highly educated and trained in multiple facets of dentistry, providing a variety of different services for you and your family including:
- Crowns and bridges
- Dental implants
- Gum disease (Periodontal) treatment
- Root canal therapy
- Teeth cleanings
- Dental fillings
General dentists who do not perform a certain treatment will provide you with a specialist referral.
Where can I find more information about dental care?
Click here to gain access to the latest information about these and other oral health topics, from the American Dental Association.
How do I prevent future dental problems?
Both natural teeth and teeth with restorations survive best in an oral environment that is clean and where the intake of harmful foods is controlled. Our program is designed to help prevent new cavities, preserve teeth that have been restored and manage periodontal disease. At the initial visit oral hygiene instructions are reviewed and are reinforced at subsequent recall visits. The following are helpful recommendations:
- Brush your teeth twice a day in a circular motion with a soft bristled toothbrush aimed at the gum.
- Floss every night in an up-and-down motion while keeping the floss in a U-shape and against the tooth surface.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid sticky sugary foods.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Use antiseptic and fluoride rinses as directed.
- Have sealants placed on young permanent teeth.
What should I know about Fluoride?
For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, which thereby helps to prevent decay of tooth structures.
Water fluoridation is endorsed by nearly every major health and safety-related organization in the world. Communities make it a common practice to “fluoridate” their drinking supplies in order for the general population to benefit from this inexpensive and effective preventative treatment. According to the American Dental Association, more than 144 million U.S. residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated water, most from public water supplies with sodium fluoride added artificially.
Bottled water, home water treatment systems, and fluoride exposure
Can the consistent use of bottled water result in individuals missing the benefits of optimally fluoridated water? Can home water treatment systems (e.g., water filters) affect optimally fluoridated water supplies? The answer is yes to both. Read how you can avoid some of the pitfalls that may be preventing you from getting the maximum value of fluoride, in this article from the American Dental Association.
ADA statement on FDA toothpaste warning labels
The American Dental Association`s Council on Scientific Affairs believes that one part of the warning now required on fluoride toothpastes by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could unnecessarily frighten parents and children, and that the label greatly overstates any demonstrated or potential danger posed by fluoride toothpastes. The label language, “If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately,” is now required on all fluoride toothpastes. But the ADA, in a letter sent to the FDA last year, pointed out that a child could not absorb enough fluoride from toothpaste to cause a serious problem and that the excellent safety record on fluoride toothpaste argues against any unnecessary regulation.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child may face a condition called enamel fluorosis if he or she receives too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel.
CDC web site provides information on community water fluoridation
People seeking information on whether their water system is fluoridated can now find out by visiting a new Web site at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new feature, “My Water`s Fluoride,” allows consumers in participating states to check out basic information about their water system, including the number of people served by the system and the target fluoridation level. Optimal levels recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC for drinking water range from 0.7 parts per million (ppm) for warmer climates, to 1.2 ppm for cooler climates accounting for the tendency to drink more water in warmer climates. States that are currently participating include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
What should I know about Fillings?
Are dental amalgams safe? Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam? Is it true that dental amalgams have been banned in other countries? Is there a filling material that matches tooth color? If my tooth doesn’t hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced? Read this interesting and informative discussion from the American Dental Association.
FDA consumer update: dental amalgams
The Food and Drug Administration and other organizations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) continue to investigate the safety of amalgams used in dental restorations (fillings). However, no valid scientific evidence has shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations, except in rare cases of allergic reactions.
ATSDR – public health statements: mercury
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some scientific background on mercury (contained within silver-colored fillings), and whether it believes the substance presents any health hazards.
Analysis reveals significant drop in children’s tooth decay
Children have significantly less tooth decay in their primary (baby) and permanent teeth today than they did in the early 1970s, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). The analysis reveals that among children between the ages of six and 18 years, the percentage of decayed permanent teeth decreased by 57.2 percent over a 20-year period. In addition, children between the ages of two and 10 years experienced a drop of nearly 40 percent in diseased or decayed primary teeth.
Advances in modern dental materials and techniques increasingly offer new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking smiles. Researchers are continuing their often decades-long work developing esthetic materials, such as ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials used to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
The advent of these new materials has not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental restoratives, which include gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Alternatives to amalgam, such as cast gold restorations, porcelain, and composite resins are more expensive. Gold and porcelain restorations take longer to make and can require two appointments. Composite resins, or white fillings, are esthetically appealing, but require a longer time to place.
Here’s a look at some of the more common kinds of alternatives to silver amalgam:
- Composite fillings – Composite fillings are a mixture of acrylic resin and finely ground glasslike particles that produce a tooth-colored restoration. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. Composites can also be “bonded” or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth. In teeth where chewing loads are high, composite fillings are less resistant to wear than silver amalgams. It also takes longer to place a composite filling.
- Ionomers – Glass ionomers are tooth-colored materials made of a mixture of acrylic acids and fine glass powders that are used to fill cavities, particularly those on the root surfaces of teeth. Glass ionomers can release a small amount of fluoride that help patients who are at high risk for decay. Glass ionomers are primarily used as small fillings in areas that need not withstand heavy chewing pressure. Because they have a low resistance to fracture, glass ionomers are mostly used in small non-load bearing fillings (those between the teeth) or on the roots of teeth. Resin ionomers also are made from glass filler with acrylic acids and acrylic resin. They also are used for non-load bearing fillings (between the teeth) and they have low to moderate resistance to fracture. Ionomers experience high wear when placed on chewing surfaces. Both glass and resin ionomers mimic natural tooth color but lack the natural translucency of enamel. Both types are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.
- Porcelain (ceramic) dental materials – All-porcelain (ceramic) dental materials include porcelain, ceramic or glasslike fillings and crowns. They are used as inlays, onlays, crowns and aesthetic veneers. A veneer is a very thin shell of porcelain that can replace or cover part of the enamel of the tooth. All-porcelain (ceramic) restorations are particularly desirable because their color and translucency mimic natural tooth enamel. All-porcelain restorations require a minimum of two visits and possibly more. The restorations are prone to fracture when placed under tension or on impact. Their strength depends on an adequate thickness of porcelain and the ability to be bonded to the underlying tooth. They are highly resistant to wear but the porcelain can quickly wear opposing teeth if the porcelain surface becomes rough.
Research has shown that almost everybody has a 95 percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of their teeth.
Sealants were developed in the 1950s and first became available commercially in the early 1970s. The first sealant was accepted by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics in 1972. Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. In fact, research has shown that sealants actually stop cavities when placed on top of a slightly decayed tooth by sealing off the supply of nutrients to the bacteria that causes a cavity.
Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on the grooves and pits of teeth. Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars, which erupt around the age of 6, and second molars, which erupt around the age of 12.
Sealants are most effective when applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in. Because of this, children derive the greatest benefit from sealants because of the newness of their teeth. Research has shown that more than 65% of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child`s newly erupted teeth because of trapped food particles and bacteria.
Sealant application involves cleaning the surface of the tooth and rinsing the surface to remove all traces of the cleaning agent. An etching solution or gel is applied to the enamel surface of the tooth, including the pits and grooves. After 15 seconds, the solution is thoroughly rinsed away with water. After the site is dried, the sealant material is applied and allowed to harden by using a special curing light.
Sealants normally last about five years. Sealants should always be examined at the child`s regular checkup. Sealants are extremely effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
Insurance coverage for sealant procedures is increasing, but still minimal. Many dentists expect this trend to change as insurers become more convinced that sealants can help reduce future dental expenses and protect the teeth from more aggressive forms of treatment.
How do I control infection??
Standards and Best Practice
With all of the increased media attention on infection outbreaks such as AIDS and multi-drug resistant strains of viruses, it’s no wonder people have heightened concerns about infection control during a medical procedure.
Gloves, gowns and masks are required to be worn in all dentist offices today—a far cry from just a few decades ago—when fewer than one-third of all dentists even wore such personal protective equipment, or PPE. After each patient visit, disposable PPE-such as gloves, drapes, needles, and scalpel blades-are thrown away, hands are washed, and a new pair of gloves used for the next patient.
All hand instruments used on patients are washed, disinfected and/or sterilized with chemicals or steam after each use.
One of the most effective methods for preventing disease transmission—washing one’s hands—is practiced in our office. It is routine procedure to wash hands at the beginning of the day, before and after glove use, and after touching any surfaces that may have become contaminated.
Water Quality and Biofilms
Concerns about the quality of water used in a dentist’s office are unfounded, provided the dentist follows the infection control guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association.
Some health “experts” in recent years have called into question the risks associated with so-called “biofilms,” which are thin layers of microscopic germs that collect on virtually any surface. Essentially, these bacteria and fungi occur everywhere, including faucets in your home; your body is no less accustomed to being exposed to them than in any other situations.
In fact, no scientific evidence has linked biofilms with disease. If you have a compromised or weakened immune system, you are susceptible to germs everywhere. Consequently, let our office know if you have such a condition so additional precautions, if any, can be taken.
What kinds of medications can have an adverse effect on my teeth?
Long ago, children exposed to tetracycline developed tooth problems, including discoloration, later in life. The medication fell out of use, however, and is not an issue today.
The best precaution is to ask your family physician if any medications he or she has prescribed can have a detrimental effect on your teeth or other oral structures.
A condition called dry mouth is commonly associated with certain medications, including antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants and pain killers. People with medical conditions, such as an eating disorder or diabetes, are often plagued by dry mouth. Other causes are related to aging (including rheumatoid arthritis), and compromised immune systems. Garlic and tobacco use are other known culprits.
Dry mouth occurs when saliva production drops. Saliva is one of your body’s natural defenses against plaque because it acts to rinse your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials.
Some of the less alarming results of dry mouth include bad breath. But dry mouth can lead to more serious problems, including burning tongue syndrome, a painful condition caused by lack of moisture on the tongue.
If dry mouth isn’t readily apparent, you may experience other conditions that dry mouth can cause, including an overly sensitive tongue, chronic thirst or even difficulty in speaking.
Poor dental hygiene can cause a host of problems outside your mouth—including your heart.
Medical research has uncovered a definitive link between heart disease and certain kinds of oral infections such as periodontal disease. Some have even suggested that gum disease may be as dangerous as or more dangerous than other factors such as tobacco use.
A condition called chronic periodontitis, or persistent gum disease, has been linked to cardiovascular problems by medical researchers.
In short, infections and harmful bacteria in your mouth can spread through the bloodstream to your liver, which produces harmful proteins that can lead to systemic cardiac problems. That’s why it’s critical to practice good oral hygiene to keep infections at bay—this includes a daily regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing.
In some cases, patients with compromised immune systems or who fear an infection from a dental procedure may take antibiotics before visiting the dentist.
It is possible for bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream during a dental procedure in which tissues are cut or bleeding occurs. A healthy immune system will normally fight such bacteria before they result in an infection.
However, certain cardiovascular conditions in patients with weakened hearts could be at risk for an infection or heart muscle inflammation (bacterial endocarditis) resulting from a dental procedure.
Patients with heart conditions (including weakened heart valves) are strongly advised to inform our office before undergoing any dental procedure. The proper antibiotic will prevent any unnecessary complications.
What if I have a latex allergy?
Naturally occurring latex has been linked in recent years to allergic reactions in people who use such products as latex gloves. The proteins in the latex, which can also become airborne, can cause problems in vulnerable people such as breathing problems and contact dermatitis. Some allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, have been more severe.
Many health experts have rightly attributed the dramatic increase of allergic reactions to latex in the health care community to the increased use of gloves and other personal protection equipment in light of the AIDS epidemic.
Latex is a pervasive substance in many household items—from toys and balloons to rubber bands and condoms.
Latex allergies could cause the following symptoms:
- Dry skin
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory problems
- Tingling sensations
People with high-risk factors for latex allergy include those who have undergone multiple surgical operations, have spina bifida, or are persistently exposed to latex products.
If you are vulnerable to latex or have allergies related to it, please notify our office and, by all means, seek medical attention from your family physician.
Is tooth loss inevitable in my later years?
Baby boomers looking for the warning signs of adult-onset diseases may be overlooking key symptoms in their mouth that should signal alarms about their overall health. According to a survey commissioned by the Academy of General Dentistry, 63 percent of baby boomers (ages 45-64) with an oral symptom considered to be a key indicator of a more serious health condition, were unaware of the symptom`s link to the condition. Boomers` failure to recognize that oral health holds valuable clues could negatively impact their overall health.
What kind of toothbrush should I use?
Never before has there been such a dizzying array of toothbrushes on the market. Consumers are inundated with new designs, materials, attachments, and colors. Whatever toothbrush design you choose, the most important thing is that you use the toothbrush at least 2-3 times a day. Moreover, how long you spend brushing your teeth is as critical as how often you brush. This ensures complete plaque removal in hard to reach areas.
Mechanical and Manual Toothbrushes
Our dental team highly recommends a mechanical (electric) toothbrush. The pulsations break up plaque efficiently. Many models now have timers to remind you to brush longer.
It is always nice to have a backup manual toothbrush. When choosing a manual toothbrush, look for a compact head with very soft, rounded bristles.
Do I need braces?
Braces are applied to teeth for various reasons, including poorly aligned jaws, crooked, crowded and missing teeth, or a bad bite (also called malocclusion).
Various things can cause teeth to become crooked or jaws misaligned, including thumb-sucking or a traumatic injury. Some conditions are inherited.
Children between the ages of 7 and 14 are typical candidates for braces because their facial structures are still developing. Adult braces usually entail additional procedures because their faces have already fully developed.
What are Crowns?
Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth.
Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth’s function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth.
Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
A tooth must usually be reduced in size to accommodate a crown. A cast is made of the existing tooth and an impression is made. The impression is sent to a special lab, which manufactures a custom-designed crown. In some cases, a temporary crown is applied until the permanent crown is ready. Permanent crowns are cemented in place.
Crowns are sometimes confused with veneers, but they are quite different. Veneers are typically applied only to relatively small areas.
Caring For Your Crowns
With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to floss in the area of the crown to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration.
Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown.
What are Bridges?
Bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.
There are several types of fixed dental bridges (cannot be removed), including conventional fixed bridges, cantilever bridges and resin-bonded bridges. Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned by the wearer; others need to be removed by a dentist.
Porcelain, gold alloys or combinations of materials are usually used to make bridge appliances.
Appliances called implant bridges are attached to an area below the gum tissue, or the bone.
What are Root Canals?
Root canals are tiny passageways that branch off from beneath the top of the tooth, coursing their way vertically downward, until they reach the tip of the root.
All teeth have between one and four root canals.
Many tooth problems involve infections that spread to the pulp, which is the inner chamber of the tooth containing blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. When the infection becomes worse, it can begin affecting the roots. A traumatic injury to a tooth can also compromise the pulp, leading to similar problems.
A diseased inner tooth brings a host of problems including pain and sensitivity as the first indications of a problem. However, inside a spreading infection can cause small pockets of pus to develop, which can lead to an abscess.
Root canal therapy is a remarkable treatment with a very high rate of success, and involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save a problem tooth; before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was extraction.
Root canal therapy usually entails one to three visits. During the first visit, a small hole is drilled through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber. Diseased tissue is removed, the inner chamber cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals reshaped. The cleansed chamber and canals are filled with an elastic material and medication designed to prevent infection. If necessary, the drilled hole is temporarily filled until a permanent seal is made with a crown.
Most patients who have root canal experience little or no discomfort or pain, and enjoy a restored tooth that can last almost as long as its healthy original.
How do I prevent Cavities?
The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Your body’s own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special chemicals that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing.
Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities from forming.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
- A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
- Teeth that change color.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby’s mouth.
If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby’s future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth.
One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.
How does tooth extraction work?
When restoration procedures such as root canal therapy, crowns, or fillings are not enough to save a tooth, it may need to be pulled, or extracted.
Tooth extraction procedures today are far less painful than ever before, thanks to powerful anesthetics and sedatives. In many cases, a patient who has tooth pulled experiences little or no discomfort, and only minor bleeding.
Before a tooth is extracted, the area surrounding the tooth is numbed with a topical/and or injectable anesthetic such as Novocaine.
Patients with extracted teeth sometimes need to take an antibiotic, and at the very least, take precautions following the procedure to ensure that infection doesn’t occur.
Smoking, vigorous brushing and rinsing, and drinking liquids through straws are discouraged during the post-operative period because they hinder healing and may cause the wound to open. Cold compresses applied to the outside cheek near the extraction area can help reduce any swelling and promote faster healing.
Do I need my Wisdom Teeth pulled?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that erupt in the back corners of the upper and lower normal adult mouth. Unfortunately, most people experience problems from wisdom teeth; in most cases, this is because the teeth erupt too close to existing permanent teeth, causing crowding, improper bites, and other problems.
If wisdom teeth are causing a problem, this could mean that they are impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be extremely painful, as well as harmful to your oral health. Symptoms are easy to spot: severe discomfort, inflammation, and some kinds of infections.
Many people need to have their wisdom teeth extracted to avoid future serious problems. In general, the lack of the four wisdom teeth does not hamper one’s ability to properly bite down, speak or eat.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have an impacted wisdom tooth:
- Facial swelling
- Gum swelling
Patient Education Library
Minimally Invasive Dentistry by Lowcountry Family Dentistry | Beaufort, SC What is minimally invasive dentistry and how is it different from regular dentistry? The goal of minimally invasive dentistry, or microdentistry, is to conserve healthy tooth structure. It...read more
Men's Oral Health by Lowcountry Family Dentistry | Beaufort, SC June is National Men’s Health Month. Across the country, preventative screenings, health fairs, media spotlights, and other health education and outreach activities will raise the awareness of preventable...read more
Laser Dentistry by Lowcountry Family Dentistry | Beaufort, SC What is a laser and how does it work? A laser is an instrument that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. When laser light comes in contact with tissue, it causes a reaction. The light...read more