Restorative Dentistry includes fillings, bridges, dentures, implants, and root canal therapy. Each of these restorative services helps restore a lost or damaged tooth due to dental disease or injury. Restoring the function of the teeth allows speech, swallowing and chewing to be restored.
TOOTH COLORED FILLINGS
To treat a cavity, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decay was. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth, and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding). Teeth can be filled with gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, or glass materials called composite resin fillings.
In our office, we typically opt for tooth-colored composite resin fillings which repairs your teeth and leaves you with a natural look. The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendations help determine the type of filling that will best address your needs.
Caring for Fillings
To maintain your fillings, you should follow good oral hygiene practices – visit your dentist regularly for cleanings, brush with a toothpaste containing fluoride, and floss at least once daily. If your dentist suspects that a filling might be cracked, he or she will take x-rays to assess the situation. If your tooth is extremely sensitive, you feel a sharp edge, you notice a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing, call your dentist for an appointment.
CROWN & BRIDGE
A crown, sometimes referred to as a cap, covers a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving its appearance. A crown may be recommended to cover and support a tooth with a large filling. It can be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking, or restore a tooth that is already broken.
A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby “bridging” the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented onto the teeth on either side of the space. Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient. If you are missing any teeth and are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you may be a good candidate for a bridge.
If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause further tooth loss. Fixed bridges not only correct an altered bite, improve your chewing ability and speech, but they also safeguard your appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
Caring For Your Bridge
With a bridge, it is more important than ever to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. If you don't control the buildup of food debris and plaque (the sticky film of bacteria formed from food acids) your teeth and gums can become infected, requiring further treatment and resulting in possible loss of the bridge.
Your dentist may also recommend using floss threaders that help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums. If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last 8-10 years or longer.
Despite improvements in dental care, millions of Americans suffer tooth loss – mostly due to tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), or injury. If you have missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But today dental implants are becoming the standard of care.
Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth! A dental implant is a new tooth made of steel and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. Your implant is composed of two parts that mimic a tooth's root and crown. The implant's "root" is a titanium steel rod placed into the jaw bone to act as a root. Once the rod is in place, a porcelain crown is attached to replace the top part of your tooth. Implants may also be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew.
Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so that you have a more natural-looking smile. Some advantages of dental implants include improved appearance, speech, comfort, and oral health. Eating will be easier and pain-free. Implants are also very durable. With good care, many implants last a lifetime. Because implants are not removable, there is no need to use any of the messy adhesives to keep dentures in place.
You and your dentist may determine that you need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may have advanced periodontal disease, or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired.
Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth or wisdom teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment. The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can all have a major impact on your dental health. To avoid these complications, in most cases, our dentists will discuss alternatives to extractions as well as replacement of the extracted tooth.
FULL & PARTIAL DENTURES
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position, similar to a bridge. Complete dentures are either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional denture is placed in the mouth about a month after all the teeth are removed to allow for proper healing, whereas an immediate denture is placed as soon as the teeth are removed.
Who needs a denture?
Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.
How do you care for a denture?
Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue, and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.
A denture is fragile, so it is important to handle it with care. Remove and brush the denture daily, using products designed specifically for cleaning dentures. Don’t sterilize your denture with boiling water because it will cause it to warp. If you wear a partial denture, be sure to remove it before brushing your natural teeth. When not in use, soak it in a cleanser solution or in water. Get in the habit of keeping the denture in the same safe and handy place to reduce the likelihood of misplacement.
It is important to continue having regular dental checkups so that a dentist can examine oral tissues for signs of disease or cancer. As you age, your mouth will continue to change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. To maintain a proper fit over time, it may be necessary to adjust or possibly remake your denture. Never attempt to adjust a denture yourself and do not use denture adhesives for a prolonged period because it can contribute to bone loss. When in doubt, consult your dentist.
ROOT CANAL THERAPY
A root canal is a treatment used to save a tooth that is badly decayed and/or becomes infected. Nerve and pulp, the soft area within the center of the tooth, can become irritated, inflamed, and infected for many reasons: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a single tooth, large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.
Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. In reality, most patients report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed. The discomfort experienced in the period leading up to dental care is truly the painful period of time, not the root canal procedure itself.
Signs That You Possibly Need a Root Canal:
Severe tooth pain upon chewing or application of pressure
Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold temperatures
Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Sometimes no symptoms are present
What to Expect After a Root Canal:
The root canal procedure should relieve the pain you feel. Until your root canal procedure is completely finished - that is to say, the permanent filling is in place and/or the crown is placed - it is wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid re-contamination of the interior of the tooth and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored. For the first few days following the completion of treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.
As far as oral health care is concerned, brush and floss as you regularly would and see your dentist at normally scheduled intervals. The final step of the root canal procedure is application of a restoration such as a crown, to cover and protect the tooth.