Dental fillings are used to repair teeth that are affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The affected portion of the tooth is removed and replaced with a filling material. Although most fillings today are usually done with tooth colored composite resin, there are other types of filling materials available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. You and your doctor can determine the best option for restoring your teeth to their natural looking best.
Crowns and Bridges
Crowns are coverings for teeth that have lost their structure, either due to decay or fracture. Crowns are the treatment of choice in situations where tooth decay has destroyed most of the original tooth, when a traumatic event has caused damage, or in cases of severe enamel erosion. They are also an option for people who grind and clench their teeth so much that the original structure of their teeth has been compromised. There are many types of crowns available but the most popular is the porcelain crown, which is tooth-colored. The great benefit of porcelain crowns is they not only replicate the original tooth in function, but can be crafted to look like the original--or even better.
A bridge is a porcelain structure that replaces missing teeth by "bridging" the gap between the remaining teeth. A bridge is a good option to restore your smile when you have one or two missing teeth.
Root Canal Therapy
When the nerve of the tooth is affected by deep decay or infection, a root canal therapy is necessary to save the tooth. The procedure consists of removing the infected nerve from the root of the tooth. In most cases, the treatment is done in one visit, but sometimes requires two appointments. After the root canal therapy, the opening that was created in the tooth is filled. Often, the tooth requires a crown to protect its structure. This treatment allows you to retain your teeth otherwise they would be removed.
For whatever reason, you may need to have a tooth or several teeth removed. Some teeth are extracted due to severe decay or are broken in such a way that they cannot be repaired; others may have advanced periodontal disease. Certain teeth may be removed because they are poorly positioned in the mouth, or in preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces). Because losing a tooth can affect your chewing ability and your smile, your doctor will discuss with you the options available for replacing missing teeth to ensure this does not occur.
Dentures, also called dental plates, or false teeth, are removable appliances constructed to replace missing teeth and are supported by the surrounding hard tissues (bone) and soft tissues (gum). Dentures can help improve and even restore your chewing ability and speech affected by the loss of teeth. They can even bring a smile back to your face. There are two types of dentures:
- Complete Dentures are worn by patients who have lost all their teeth. Complete dentures can be made for the upper arch (top teeth), lower arch (bottom teeth) or both.
- Partial Dentures are made to replace several missing teeth. They also prevent remaining teeth from shifting in to the spaces left by the missing teeth.