What type of dental restoration is right for me?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations, including:
- The components used in the filling material
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that the tooth will have to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
Before your treatment begins, your doctor will discuss with you all of your options and help you choose the best filling for your particular case. In preparation for this discussion it may be helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings — direct and indirect.
Direct fillings are placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. The most common is the composite “tooth colored” filling”. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it in one appointment.
Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges. And can be fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory, which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist bonds the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
Click on a procedure to learn more.
Tooth Colored Filling direct filling
To better manage the effects of tooth decay and tooth loss and carry out oral rehabilitation, our team has made tooth restorations very accessible to patients who have been stricken with the effects of tooth decay. We want our patients to be able to regain the functionality and structural integrity of the mouth. The most common material used to directly restore decayed teeth is composite resin also known as “tooth colored” fillings. Composites very closely match the natural color and texture of patient’s teeth.
What are the advantages of using tooth colored fillings? Although there are other materials that are being used in dentistry to fill cavities, tooth colored fillings are the preferred choice, not only because they mimic natural teeth, but also because they are safe to use. They are able to adapt very well to the oral environment where they can take on the same type of rigorous pressure and stress that natural teeth do. Because of their similar composition, these kinds of fillings are able to create stronger bonds with existing teeth, making them more efficient in providing the tooth with protection from the further development of cavities, preventing breakage, and insulating the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
What results should I expect from this type of tooth restoration? In the past, people thought that getting fillings made of hard materials like metal would be able to give the teeth unyielding and rigorous protection from cavities. What they didn’t know was that these materials could be detrimental to the tooth’s structure and only worsen the deterioration by creating more cracks in the enamel. With tooth colored fillings, this problem is efficiently averted. Because they are highly compatible with the tooth’s natural structure, they have been found to be the perfect structural supplement to support teeth from the inside out. Although they are not as hard as metal fillings, their similarity to the organic composition of actual teeth allows them to create stronger bonds that can maintain structural stability for a very long time, sometimes lasting up to 10 years.
Inlays and Onlays indirect filling - partial crown
Inlays and onlays may also be referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and the inlay or onlay fits into the remaining tooth like a puzzle piece. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent further damage. An inlay is done when there is no damage to the cusps (peaks) of the tooth and an onlay is used when the damage is more extensive. A tooth can be restored back to health while conserving as much of the remaining tooth structure as possible.
Ceramic Crowns restore the tooth to its original shape, strength and function
Over time our teeth may weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, and discoloration. If you feel that your smile isn’t what it once was, crowns can help you regain the smile of your dreams. If your dentist notices that a tooth is decayed, worn or cracked, a crown may be necessary to protect the tooth and prevent further breakdown. In cases such as this, bonding with a filling material would not be adequate.
What are ceramic crowns?
An all ceramic crown is a tooth covering, or cap, made of an all ceramic material and is shaped like a patient’s own tooth. An all ceramic crown contains no metal. The crown is strategically placed over a tooth to cover-up an imperfection, restore the tooth to its original shape, strength and function, augment its size, and generally improve its appearance. Not only do these restorations resemble the appearance of teeth closely, they are also easily shaped in order to match the features of a patient’s actual tooth, making the crown look completely natural and allowing the new ceramic crown to blend in with a patient’s existing dentition. As the crown wears or the patient ages, there will never be any dark metal revealed from the crown’s substructure- since it is an all ceramic crown.
When are ceramic crowns needed?
Crowns are necessary when a tooth is broken down and its structure cannot be restored by the use of conventional filling material. They can also be effectively used in the following conditions:
- To protect weakened teeth from breaking and hold cracked parts of the tooth together
- To restore excessively worn teeth
- To protect a tooth with a large filling in order to add structural support
- To cover severely discolored or distorted teeth
- To augment other dental restorations- ceramic crowns are used to hold dental bridges in place or to cover a dental implant
What are the steps involved in getting ceramic crowns?
The process for the preparation and placement of ceramic crowns will usually take two visits to the dentist. The first visit is typically for the examination and preparation of the tooth, and the second for the placement and the adjustments necessary to get the perfect fit. The process of receiving a crown begins by reshaping your tooth to make room for the crown to be placed over it. Once the tooth has been reshaped, and a shade selected, an impression will be taken of that tooth and the surrounding teeth. This impression will be sent to a dental lab so that your new crown can be made to fit perfectly in the spot created for it, and to ensure that it is the same size relative to the surrounding teeth. A temporary crown will be fabricated and fit to the tooth and should be worn by the patient while the final ceramic crown is made. When the final crown is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the color and fit of the final crown in the patient’s mouth. Once the ceramic crown is approved, it will be bonded into place. Crowns are durable and will typically last about 10-15 years. You should care for it as you would any of your other teeth with regular brushing and flossing, to ensure a long life for the crown.
Bridges replace missing teeth
Dental bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress on your bite. A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. A bridge can consist of two or more teeth on either end with missing teeth in between. The teeth on the ends are named the “abutment” teeth. The new teeth that replace your missing teeth are termed the “pontic” teeth. The process of creating a bridge begins by preparing the abutment teeth onto which the bridge will be attached. After the abutments have been prepared, and a shade selected, an impression is taken of the area. A custom bridge is created that will fit properly and feel as close to your natural teeth as possible. The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.
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