As part of any visit to our office, we will be on the lookout for any signs of new decay and also check all of your restorations such as crowns, fillings, bridges, and veneers for signs of deterioration or failure. If we find cavities will offer different options for restoring the tooth so that it is at full function. If your restorations look like they are not performing adequately we may recommend x-rays so that we can investigate further. Our restoration procedures include composite fillings, porcelain crowns (caps), porcelain fixed bridges, and root canal therapy.
Composite fillings are the most widely used today. Composite fillings are tooth colored and can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. This makes them more suitable for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth. Composite fillings are very durable and should last many years. You may be a candidate for composite fillings if your teeth are chipped, cracked, broken, decayed, or worn, or if there is a need to close space between two teeth.
A porcelain crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface . The purposes of a crown is to protect and strengthen tooth structure that cannot be restored with a filling.
Porcelain crowns are highly durable and should last many years. You may need a crown if your teeth are broken, fractured or decayed, you have a fractured filling, your tooth has a root canal, or for cosmetic reasons.
It usually takes two appointments if you need a crown. At your first appointment a mold will be taken to be used to create your permanent custom crown and also a temporary crown placed on your tooth for two to three weeks while your permanent crown is being made by a dental laboratory. During this first appointment your tooth will be prepared by removing decay and shaping the surface so that your new crown will fit. At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, we will clean your tooth and and your new crown will be placed and cemented into place.
A porcelain fixed bridge is a non-removable appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to an artificial tooth or teeth, filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Dental bridges may be required to fill space of missing teeth, prevent existing teeth from drifting out of position, upgrading from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance, or to restore your smile.
Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. On your fist visit the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Then an impression (mold) is made which a dental laboratory will use to manufacture the bridge. A temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
On your second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge. This allows your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented on a subsequent visit to our office.
A Root Canal may be needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. To save the tooth, the pulp nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with a special medicated dental material.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. The root canal is superior to merely pulling a problem tooth because of the avoidance of problems for adjacent teeth. Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections. You may need a root canal if you have an abscess, severe toothache pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, or swelling and tenderness.
A root canal treatment generally takes one appointment. A rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the numbed tooth to keep it dry. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and any pulp, decay, nerve tissue and bacteria are carefully removed. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with special dental materials. The opening on top of the tooth will be filled and a crown placed on the tooth to protect the tooth and to prevent it from breaking.
A dental implant is a “root” device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth.
Virtually all dental implants placed today are root-form endosseous implants, i.e., they appear similar to an actual tooth root (and thus posses a “root-form”) and are placed within the bone (endo-being the Greek prefix for “in” and osseous referring to “bone”). The bone of the jaw accepts and osseointegrates with the titanium post. Osseointegration refers to the fusion of the implant surface with the surrounding bone. Dental implants will fuse with bone; however, they lack the periodontal ligament, so they will feel slightly different than natural teeth during chewing.