Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth. Because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
Tooth bonding can also be used for fillings instead of silver amalgam. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than silver. Bonding fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, it can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, let our office know. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, or alleviate stress on your bite. A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support. The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s vital to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.
Crowns are a restorative treatment used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. They are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.
A crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that usually covers the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, which apply the restorative material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth.
Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression, which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Then it is sculpted just for you so your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
Dentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Full dentures are given to patients when all the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are attached to a metal frame connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed.
Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt.
At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk, so our team may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also entail removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, we may extract it during a regular checkup or request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament.
In order to extract a tooth, a dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation. Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, and cause problems with chewing or your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, our office may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, or composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important.
There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are placed into a prepared cavity during a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.
Implant-supported dentures are over-dentures fixed to the gums by mini implants. For patients who have an uncomfortable or loose-fitting denture, stabilizing it with mini implants can be a more comfortable and functional solution.
Mini implants are placed in the jaw, where they are anchored firmly in the surrounding bone. Attachments are placed in the underside of the denture to connect to the implants. When placed in the mouth, the denture snaps onto the implants, which keep it stable and secure.
Wisdom teeth are molars found in the very back of your mouth. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry.
When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier as well as shorten the recovery time.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, a dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and embedded in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth.
In order to minimize the amount of bone removed with the tooth, a dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.
Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. We will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment,” your tooth can be saved.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is also detrimental to your overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, a general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite.
If your tooth has extensive decay, the doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect it from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.