What is a restoration (filling)?
A restoration is a way to fix a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist restores your tooth, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for resortations include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
Which type of restorations (fillings) are best?
No one type of restoration is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the restoration is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:
- Gold restorations are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years. For these reasons, many authorities consider gold the best restoration material. However, it is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple visits.
- Porcelain restorations are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. Their cost is similar to gold.
- Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and do not last as long as other types of restorations, generally from three to 10 years.
- Amalgam (silver) restorations are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth.
Most dentistry looks like dentistry. Our goal is to provide dentistry that is undetectable. We replace existing crowns and fillings with restorations that look and feel like your natural teeth.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated in two ways: through root canal therapy (in which damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which is attempts to keep the nerve alive).
How long does it take to fit a crown?
Fitting a crown requires at least two visits to our office. Initially, we will remove decay, shape the tooth, and fit it with a temporary plastic crown.
On the subsequent visit, we will remove the temporary crown and then fit and adjust the final crown. Finally, we will cement the crown into place and you have a new, beautiful looking tooth.
Key Benefits of Dental Crowns
- Replaces missing teeth
- Offers support to misshapen teeth or badly broken teeth
- Looks completely natural
- Fixes “smile” and functional chewing problems
What are the capabilities of crowns?
Crown and bridgework is a very reliable solution for major dental problems caused through accidents, diseases or wear and tear. Major problems can usually be corrected using these techniques. Material used in these repairs is either high-grade porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold. A higher strength of the porcelain and gold materials is recommended to treat the most serious of dental problems. Where accidental damage has occurred, resulting in lost teeth, or where teeth have broken away through excessive wear, or as the result of old fillings breaking, crowns and/or bridges can be used as a long-term solution.
Many people have unexplained pain from filled back teeth, which is usually due to hairline cracks in the chewing part of the tooth. Placing crowns on these teeth relieves the pain and allows a return of full dental function for these teeth. In front teeth, older fillings can both weaken the teeth and cause “appearance” problems due to staining or chipping. Porcelain crowns and bridges are suitable in cases where porcelain onlays are not. In teeth with root canal fillings, crowns can prevent breakage.
All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Dental Bridge Options
A bridge — a permanent device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are permanently attached.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it’s difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What exactly is a bridge?
A bridge is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Why do I need a bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for considering a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older. A bridge also maintains the proper position of remaining teeth surrounding the area of the missing tooth. Remaining teeth are at risk of drifting and supra erupting into the space of the missing tooth causing problems for otherwise healthy teeth.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.
Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
How is a bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment the dentist will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used?
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
Inlays & Onlays
When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay.
What are inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a restoration, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. However, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.
How are inlays and onlays applied?
Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist, and sent to a lab for fabrication. The dentist will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. The dentist will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.
Considerations for inlays and onlays
Traditional restorations can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of ceramic that bond directly to the front surfaces of the teeth. They are an ideal choice for improving your smile and have become increasingly popular due to their simplicity and versatility.
Placing custom veneers requires a high degree of technical skill as well as attention to cosmetic detail. We place veneers routinely, and design each case individually to match and enhance the characteristics of each patient’s smile.
Will they look like normal teeth?
When bonded to the teeth, the ultra-thin porcelain veneers are virtually undetectable and highly resistant to coffee, tea, or even cigarette stains. For strength and appearance, their resemblance to healthy, white tooth enamel is unsurpassed by other restorative options.
How durable are porcelain veneers?
With proper care, porcelain veneers will brighten your smile for well over a decade.
The dentist will ensure that your veneers are crafted from the highest quality porcelains and are bonded with the most advanced and proven materials available.
Refraining from using your veneers as tools to open and cut things will prolong their life, and if accidental breakage or damage occurs, it is usually possible to replace only the veneer involved.