When dental decay has invaded a tooth, various procedures can be used to treat the disease and repair the damage. The options available are case by case depending on the severity of the damage.
Crowns, also called caps, provide the restorative solution for severely decayed teeth where fillings can’t replace enough of the tooth. They completely replace the tooth or act as a base for dentures or bridges.
A crown is stronger than a filling and may hold together parts of a cracked tooth or hold a bridge in place. Crowns can be used to improve appearance by covering misshaped or badly discolored teeth.
A composite filling is a tooth colored material used to fill small cavities on the front and back teeth.
These fillings match the color of tooth structure and are very attractive. They require the most minimal tooth preparation, so less healthy tooth structure is removed. These fillings are the material of choice in this practice when the decayed tooth meets the proper criteria for their placement.
These fillings do require more careful attention to home care (diet and hygiene, particularly flossing) than amalgam fillings (silver) or stainless steel crowns (silver caps).
Cosmetic bonding is used in several different ways, but most notably for repairing chipped teeth. Bonding is a process where the dentist attaches or “bonds” materials directly to the tooth and can be long-lasting with dental care.
A popular treatment option because it provides a successful attachment between the filling material and the tooth’s original enamel and dentin. It looks like the original tooth and functions like it as well plus bonding can be less expensive than porcelain veneers or crowns.
Veneers is a custom-made porcelain piece used to cover gaps, chips, or stains on teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to your natural tooth enamel. They are a practical option for minor imperfections and with proper care and oral hygiene can last up to 20 years.
Dental Implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. Dental Implants use a small medal post inserted into the jawbone that acts as a support for a replacement tooth. The post is usually made from titanium, the same material used in other replacement joints.
Bridges, also known as a fixed removable denture, are most commonly used to fill spaces in between teeth and are colored to match your teeth to blend well and are permanently attached for normal function.
A bridge can be supported by natural teeth, implants, or a combination of both and requires at least two visits. At the first visit, your dentist prepares the teeth and covers them with temporary crowns.
On average, bridges can last five to seven years depending on oral hygiene but cavity development on the supporting teeth can cause a bridge to fail. With proper hygiene, which includes flossing your teeth under the bridge, they will last longer.
Dentures, also known as false teeth, are a great option for treatment of missing teeth. These prosthetic devices are supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Conventional dentures are removable, either completely or just partially.
However, dentures can now be permanently placed allowing for a more natural experience. These can also be complete or partial depending on surrounding teeth and the individuals oral cavity.
Root canals are used to save a tooth with a diseased nerve. Nerves become diseased when a crack in the tooth or a large cavity allows bacteria in the nerve tissue.
A root canal treatment can be completed in one to three visits. Each situation may vary depending on the severity of the damage but generally the process begins with removing the infected nerve tissue, then cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth, and finally the tooth is filled with the dental composite.
Most times this procedure can be done with minimal or no discomfort and ultimately save your tooth.