Modern dentistry has allowed us to combine beauty as well as strength when filling teeth. Restorations are close to their original strength and appearance with composite resins and other modern materials. The patient comfort is always the main priority of the dental team, leading to a positive experience.
Fillings (restorations) are used to replace tooth structure that is decayed. Caries can be detected through direct observation or x-rays. Fillings are also used to repair fractured, broken, or severely worn teeth.
The dentist will proceed to cavity preparation, removing any remaining decay and shaping the final cavity. The next step will be the addition of composite-resin filling material, cured (hardened) after with a curing light. The final step will be polishing the filling to adapt it smoothly to the natural shape of the tooth.
Composite fillings are very aesthetic restorations since they are available in natural shades matching tooth color. They are also being tolerated perfectly by all the patients.
In some cases cavity preparation could become very large for usual fillings and the dentist will recommend an inlay or an onlay (partial crown), restorations designed to replace more tooth structure. Those restorations are made in a dental laboratory after the dentist has taken you an impression of the preparation. The final placement of inlay or onlay will be made in a second visit at the dental office.
Fillings do not last forever so it is essential that you visit the dentist regularly for further examinations. Fillings can develop cracks or simply wear down due to chewing forces. The dentist monitor the integrity of your fillings during regular exams and will recommend replacing a filling if a problem is detected.
Crowns are used to restore both anterior and posterior teeth that have been broken or are at high risk of doing so due to large old fillings or fractures.
There are a variety of materials used to design these reconstructions in laboratories. The crowns will look and feel close to your real teeth.
Crowns, also called caps are indicated if a significant portion of the tooth is missing. Usually, extensive decay, injury or root canal therapy, are the reasons when a crown is recommended. Crowns are usually either made of noble alloys, or porcelain. There are many different types of porcelain crowns and your dentist will determine which type is best suited for your particular need.
During the first visit to the clinic, the dentist will prepare your tooth structure and then take an impression of the prepared tooth, make a temporary crown to place on the tooth, and send the impression to a dental laboratory to fabricate the crown. At your next visit, the dentist will try-in the crown to ensure a good fit and then cement the crown in place.
Bridges are fixed, or non-removable prosthesis constructed to replace one or more missing teeth. The teeth on either side of the existing space are used to anchor the bridge to restore functionality and esthetics. Materials used for this process are noble alloys, porcelain or porcelain fused to metal. Bridges are indicated whenever at least one tooth is missing.
A bridge is composed of abutments and pontics. Abutments are the supports for the bridge and consist of crowns placed on the teeth surrounding the empty space. The pontics are special crowns that span across the empty space and connect to the abutments.
When teeth are prepared for a bridge, the abutments are prepared for crowns just as described in crowns. The dentist will then take an impression of the prepared teeth, make a temporary bridge to place on the teeth to protect them and maintain their positions, and send the impression to a dental laboratory to fabricate the bridge. At your next visit, the dentist will try-in the bridge to ensure a good fit and then cement the bridge in place.
Root canal therapy is an indispensable procedure in treatment of teeth that are severely decayed, infected, or broken. Root canal therapy can maintain your teeth life for more years, saving them from extraction.
The dentist will access the pulp chamber in the crown of the tooth and will reveal the root canals contained in the roots of the tooth. The infected nerve is removed and the canals are shaped using special files to smooth the walls and ensure no pulp tissue or infection is left. The canals are then filled with a special material that seals off the root canals.
Unfortunately, after root canal therapy the tooth often becomes brittle. To protect the tooth from fracture, it is recommended that a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy be restored with a crown.
Because of the complexity and difficulty of root canal therapy (due to multiple configurations and particularities of root canal in each individual) this treatment is always a challenge for the dentist. Sometimes is necessary to refer the patient to endodontists specialized in root canal therapy.Back to Top
Dentures are divided into two main categories: complete dentures and partial dentures. Complete dentures are designed to replace the teeth in an entire arch when all the teeth are missing. Partial dentures are used when there are still teeth present in the arch. Complete and partial dentures can provide patients with a functional replacement when teeth have been lost.
omplete dentures consist of an acrylic base to imitate gum tissue, and the teeth that can be made of acrylic or porcelain. The denture base is made to closely fit the contours of the arch to ensure the denture is stable during normal oral functions such as eating, speaking, or swallowing.
Partial dentures can be made with a metal framework that has acrylic base and teeth attached in the areas where the teeth are missing. The metal framework also has clasps or arms that extend out and fit around some of the existing teeth. The combination of the acrylic base and the arms that wrap around some of the teeth keep the partial denture stable during normal oral functions.
There are a lot of indications for the patients wearing dentures in order to maintain the health of oral tissues. The dentist will provide all necessary information for patient education.Back to Top
Plaque is a sticky substance that adheres to tooth structure and is teeming with bacteria. Over time, plaque becomes calcified (hardens) and at this stage, it becomes what is called calculus. Plaque and calculus are actually irritants to the tissues of your mouth. The reaction of your body to the irritants and the subsequent gum inflammation, gum recession, bleeding and eventual bone loss around the teeth constitute periodontal (gum) disease. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis (which is reversible) and is characterized by bleeding gums, especially when one brushes and flosses. If the disease is not addressed, it will progress to periodontitis, which is far more destructive, and is characterized by further gum deterioration, bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss.
Scaling and root planning are the most common form of treatment for periodontal disease. Scaling removes calculus (also called tartar) and plaque from the tooth surface above and below the gum line. Root planning smoothes the root's surface and removes any remaining calculus. When the amount of plaque and calculus to remove is extensive, the dentist will numb the area to make the procedure comfortable for you. A combination of sonic and hand instruments are used in the procedure. The sonic instruments remove the large deposits of plaque and calculus. Hand instruments are then used to remove any remaining tartar and ensure all surfaces of the crown and root are clean and free of bacteria. Sensitivity and soreness may be present a few days following treatment and usually can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers.
A follow-up visit is usually scheduled for four weeks following treatment to check the improvement of gingival status, and regular intervals (3 month and 6 month intervals are typical) thereafter to monitor the disease. The goals are to eliminate the active inflammation caused by bacteria and reduce the periodontal pockets around the teeth so they cannot trap plaque or calculus thus maintaining the present bone height around the teeth.Back to Top
Implants are indicated whenever at least one tooth is missing. If the missing space(s) is not filled, the teeth surrounding the space often drift, the opposing teeth in the other arch will erupt further into the oral cavity (hypereruption) which can change your bite, bone erosion can occur in the area, and even changes in speech might occur. The popularity of implants has increased steadily over the years.
Implants are designed to replace the root of a missing tooth and can be used to support crowns, bridges, or dentures. The root-form implant is the most common type and basically consists of three main components:
Composite bonding can work wonders for your smile. Using materials that match the shade, translucency and the texture of your teeth, gaps between teeth can be closed, spots and discolorations can be eliminated, and your self-confidence can be enhanced through the improved appearance of your smile.
The dentist will match the shade of your existing teeth and then tooth-colored composite resin is applied to the tooth much like the filling procedure.
The procedure is sometimes referred to as bonding because an adhesive agent is used to actually bond the resin to the tooth structure.
The resin is hardened (cured) with a curing light and then shaped, contoured, and polished to give a cosmetic and natural appearance. Bonding is the least expensive cosmetic procedure and can be completed during a single dental visit. Composite bonding is excellent for small defects in the teeth -- spots, chips, or gaps between teeth. For smile alterations involving an entire tooth or multiple teeth, porcelain is the material of choice.
Veneers are routinely used to cover teeth which are discolored, worn, chipped, or misaligned. Veneers are used for many of the same reasons as bonding but they involve a different procedure.
Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or resin that measure less than 1.5mm thick. First, the dentist will prepare your tooth and then take an impression of the prepared tooth, possibly place a temporary filling in the space, and send the impression to a dental laboratory to have the veneers manufactured.
The veneer is then cemented into place. Although veneers are more expensive and time-consuming than bonding, they are less expensive and conserve tooth structure when compared to crowns.
Typically veneers are difficult to stain, making veneers a very popular solution for many people seeking that perfect smile. Strong and very durable, veneers last from ten to fifteen years, and come in colors that will brighten dark teeth without the worry of them changing color.Back to Top
Tooth whitening is a procedure that can lighten the shade of your teeth and remove stain or discoloration caused by aging, certain medications, tobacco, coffee, and tea. Tooth whitening will not last forever, so the procedure will have to be repeated on a regular basis.
Tooth whitening can be done at home or in the dental office. The dentist will often take a photo of your existing tooth color to monitor your progress and compare the new lighter shade of your teeth throughout treatment.
For in-home whitening, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth and then make custom mouthpieces (trays) to fit your teeth. The dentist will give you a supply of bleaching gel (usually containing hydrogen peroxide) that is applied to the tray and then you will be instructed to wear the tray for a certain amount of time. Care should be taken to use only the prescribed amount of whitening gel as excess material can contact your gums and cause irritation.
In-office whitening often takes between 30 to 90 minutes to complete and usually requires a few visits to the dentist's office to achieve the amount of whitening required. The whitening agent (again, a gel containing hydrogen peroxide) is applied to your teeth. Some of the in-office whitening agents require special lights or heat for activation.
Both in-home and in-office bleaching can cause increased tooth sensitivity in some people. This is a normal side effect and usually subsides a few days after the whitening treatments have been completed. Whitening procedures should be avoided if you are pregnant.Back to Top