Dental fillings restore your damaged tooth structure with a composite (white), amalgam (silver), porcelain (white), or metal (gold) material. Most patients prefer white filling material, but in some instances, other materials are more suited to a longer-lasting restoration. The most common white filling material used today is the composite material made of resin and glass.
Inlays & Onlays
Inlays or onlays are used to restore the chewing surface of decayed or fractured teeth. Usually made from gold or porcelain, inlays are used for minor restorations within the remaining tooth structure, and onlays are used for more advanced decay and cover a larger restored area.
Different from dental fillings, which are molded into place during a single dental visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated in a dental lab before being final fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth on a separate appointment. Your tooth will have a temporary inlay or onlay made of acrylic during the interim.
Crowns & Bridges
Dental crowns, also known as “caps,” restore the functionality of damaged teeth. Crowns may be used to protect a cracked tooth, restore functionality of a tooth with excessive decay, or replace a pre-existing crown. The purpose of a dental crown is to encase a tooth with a custom-designed material. Crowns can be made of gold, porcelain (white), zirconia (white), and a combination of gold and porcelain (white).
A bridge is used sometimes when a single or multiple teeth are missing and existing teeth on either side of the gap are used as abutments to support a span of artificial crowns. Thus, bridging the gap!
During the crown or bridge procedure your tooth is prepared and a molded impression of the teeth are sent to a dental laboratory. A fitted, temporary crown/ bridge is created during this visit to temporarily protect your teeth while the final restoration is being made in the dental laboratory. Once completed, the crown/ bridge is cemented or adhesively bonded on a second visit.
Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements used to replace tooth loss. The procedure is categorized as a form of prosthetic dentistry, though it also falls into the category of cosmetic dentistry as well.
A dental implant is made of three parts: the implant, the abutment, and the crown. The implant is made of titanium, has a surface characteristic similar to a screw, and is placed into the bone. The abutment fits into the implant via a male adaptation on one side. The other side of the abutment houses the crown. All three parts can be screwed together for a strong restoration. Sometimes only the abutment and implant are screwed together and then the crown is cemented onto the abutment on the opposite side from the implant. These two options are dependent on angulation and will be determined at the time of restoration.
Dental implants are stronger and more durable than their restorative counterparts (bridges and dentures) and have a 95% success rate over 30 years of research. Implants offer a permanent solution for tooth loss. Additionally, implants may be used in conjunction with other restorative procedures for maximum effectiveness. For example, a single implant can serve to support a crown replacing a single missing tooth or two implants can be used to support a dental bridge for the replacement of multiple missing teeth. Multiple implants can also be placed to support a full denture for edentulous patients (toothless).
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. It is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals. There are three types of dentures: complete dentures, partial dentures, and hybrid dentures. Complete dentures and hybrid dentures replace all the teeth while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and helps prevent other teeth from changing position.
Depending on your need a complete denture can be “conventional” or “immediate”. A conventional denture is placed in the mouth after five dental visits from the point of teeth being extracted. An immediate denture is placed in the mouth as soon as the teeth are removed. The need for either type will vary from patient to patient.
Partial dentures are similar to complete dentures, except the plastic teeth and acrylic gums surround frameworks made of metal or flexible thermoplastic material and use existing teeth for support. While the metal framework partial dentures will take five visits to place, the thermoplastic type (Valplast) will take fewer appointments for final placement.
Hybrid dentures are the newest treatment option for patients who do not have enough bone to support a complete denture. A hybrid denture is one supported by implants and has a metal framework encased in acrylic, which supports the artificial teeth.
All dentures will need to be adjusted for sore spots and relined, rebased, or remade at some point. It is recommended to have annual check-ups to evaluate your gums, jaw bones, and the denture relationship or “fit”.
Bonding is the application of dental composite (white) to tooth structure via a dental adhesive. The final bond occurs once the material is cured in place by an LED light. Bonding can usually be done in one visit and the final result is beautiful and natural looking. Bonding can improve the appearance of chipped, fracture, cracked, excessively spaced, or stained teeth.