Fillings are needed when the decay on a tooth has progressed to the point where natural remineralization can no longer occur. The infected tooth structure is removed and replaced with either a composite or amalgam filling.
Composite (tooth colored) restorations are the most popular type of filling today mostly due to the excellent esthetic of this type of filling. Composite fillings will be indistinguishable from the surrounding tooth structure. Composite fillings can also be used for chipped, cracked teeth and even closing a gap between teeth.
Amalgam (silver) fillings have been used for decades with great success but have fallen out of favor due to their silver color.
The crown procedure usually involves two separate appointments. The decay is first removed then if needed a build-up is placed. A build-up is a resin material (similar to a filling) that will support the remainder of the tooth structure under the final crown. The remaining tooth structure and build up are shaped so a crown will fit onto the tooth. An impression, or mold, of the tooth, will then be sent to the lab so the lab can make the permanent crown. A temporary crown will then be placed until you return after about 2 weeks for the final crown to be cemented.
A bridge is an excellent way to permanently replace missing teeth. It is done by placing crowns over anchoring teeth on either side of the open space. These anchoring crowns have an artificial tooth or teeth attached between them to fill the empty space. This is done by shaping the anchor teeth then taking an impression (mold) to send to the lab for fabrication. A temporary bridge is then placed until the permanent bridge is received from the lab. This can also be done the same day a tooth is extracted, except the temporary bridge will have to be worn for longer to allow for proper healing of the extraction site.
A root canal is needed when a tooth’s pulp (nerve and blood supply) becomes infected. Symptoms of this can be: An abscess, sensitivity to temperature, severe toothache pain, swelling and/or tenderness, and sometimes no symptoms are present if the nerve has already died.
During the root canal treatment, the dentist will access the pulp of the tooth and remove all of the infected tooth structure, nerve, and blood supply. He will then seal off the canals with special medicated dental materials. In a subsequent visit, a crown is placed to reinforce the tooth and prevent future fractures.
Dentures are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth. Dentures use the oral cavities hard and soft tissues to create suction and hold the appliance in place. Conventional dentures are removable. However, there are many different denture designs that will clasp to existing teeth or dental implants. Your dentist will discuss the different options and help you to choose the option that is right for you.
A dental implant is an excellent way to restore a missing tooth. Not all patients will be good candidates for an implant due to bone levels and sinus location. Your dentist will help you to know if you are a good candidate or not. Once it is determined that your bone levels are sufficient to support an implant the process of placing an implant can begin. An implant is a titanium screw that is placed into the bone, once placed the implant must osseointegrate or fuse with the bone. This process can take around 6 months. Once osseointegration takes place an abutment and crown are fabricated by the lab to be attached to the implant that is in the bone. Once completed implants are a wonderful remedy for a missing tooth.