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.
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. The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendation help determine the type of filling that will best address your needs.
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 one 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.
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 in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can 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.
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.
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 due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a 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 you may need a root canal:
Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
Swelling and tenderness of the nearby gums
A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Sometimes no symptoms are present
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 recontamination 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 the application of a restoration such as a crown, to cover and protect the tooth.
ROOT CANAL THERAPY
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 causing 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 the tooth. Implants are also used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when talking or chewing.
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 for the messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.