A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. It can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to hold the filling. Crowns can also be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that is already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant. If you are missing one or more teeth, you may notice a difference in chewing and speaking.
A bridge may help restore your smile and increase the function of your teeth. Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth and literally “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth used to be. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and are attached to surrounding teeth for support. Unlike a removable partial denture, which you can take out and clean, a fixed bridge can only be removed by a dentist.
A dental implant is a titanium post that is placed in the bone of the jaw. It replaces the root of the missing tooth. The bone integrates or heals directly to the surface of the implant. Once healing has occurred, a crown can be made to go on top of the implant.
A filling replaces decay or small fractures and can protect a tooth from further decay. Silver-colored amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals including silver, copper, tin and mercury. They are the most researched dental material and are strong, durable, and less expensive. Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fractures in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural or for people who have concerns with the use of amalgam.
When it is time to fill your cavity, your dentist will first numb the area using local anesthesia. Once the area surrounding the cavity is numb, your dentist will remove the decay. Once the decay is removed, your dentist will place the filling in the cavity. If the cavity is deep, your dentist may place a liner over the cavity before placing the filling to protect the tooth nerve. When the filling is in place, your dentist will clean and polish it to perfection. Your lips and gums may be numb for the first few hours, so chew food carefully and avoid chewing on the part of your mouth where the filling is located. Some tooth sensitivity is normal during the first few weeks after a filling. You might also want to avoid triggers, such as extremely hot or cold foods.
If you have lost some or all of your natural teeth, dentures can improve your quality of life by replacing your missing teeth. Dentures can be made to look like your natural teeth. Getting a new complete or partial dentures begins with taking an impression of your mouth and identifying your natural gum and tooth shade. Your dentures are created from your mold and specifications and they are adjusted when you pick them up. Your dentist may recommend adjustments once a year or when necessary to ensure a proper and comfortable fit.
Veneers refers to tooth-colored cover that is put on a tooth. Porcelain veneers are made by a dental lab working from a model provided by your dentist. These veneers are placed using an irreversible process where a small amount of enamel is taken from the tooth to accommodate the shell. These are an option for correcting stained, chipped, decayed or crooked teeth. Another veneer is made by adding composite material to the existing tooth and a dental lab is not involved. Composite veneers are less expensive and are sometimes referred to as bonding. This type of veneer or build-up works especially well for children and for a tooth that is smaller than normal or which is stained, chipped, pitted or abnormally shaped.
Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of your smile. Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily oral hygiene and regular cleanings at our office, but if you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your whitening options. Many toothpastes advertise whitening. Toothpastes only whiten through the action of mild abrasives and don’t actually “whiten” the teeth. Unlike bleaches, these ADA accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface. At home bleaching treatments with peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouth guard. Products such as Crest White Strips are an over the counter product that provides some whitening. For better results, a custom tray can be made and a much stronger whitening agent can be used for superior results.