Tooth restoration is any artificial substance or structure that replaces missing teeth or part of a tooth in order to protect the mouth’s ability to eat, chew, and speak. Tooth restoration procedures may include fillings, crowns, bridges, implants and veneers.
Dental fillings are restorations that are done to repair damage caused by tooth decay. The dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth using a high-speed drill or an air abrasion system, shapes the cavity walls and replaces the tooth structure with a filling of silver amalgam, composite resin or gold. The filling is then placed in the cavity as a liquid or soft solid. It sets within a few minutes and continues to harden over the next several hours. Silver amalgam is more commonly used to fill cavities on the biting surfaces of the back teeth, because it is strong enough to endure the tremendous pressures of grinding and chewing. Composite resin is typically used to fill cavities in the front teeth and any other teeth that are visible when a person smiles because its color can be matched to the tooth’s surface. Gold filling is not very common. It is more expensive and less easily applied. It also does not trigger the sensitivity reactions that some patients have to silver amalgam.
The crown of a tooth is covered by enamel. A restorative dental crown replaces this outer part to protect the tooth. A dental crown becomes necessary when a tooth cracks or when its entire structure becomes weakened by decay. The dentist first removes the decayed portion of the tooth and prepares it for a crown. The tooth may be shaped on the outside edges to a peg, reinforced with a cast metal core or rebuilt with both a cast metal core and a post. The dentist then makes a wax impression of the prepared tooth and the teeth next to it. The new crown is made to fit this mold. A dental crown may be made of gold or stainless steel alone, metal with a veneer of tooth-colored porcelain or resin or of porcelain or resin alone. The finished crown is then placed over the prepared tooth, adjusted and cemented into place.
Dental bridges are done when one or more permanent teeth are lost or pulled. A gap results from the lost or pulled teeth and it has to be filled to prevent the remaining teeth from shifting. If the other teeth shift, they may cause pain in the jaw joint. As the teeth move and become crooked, it also becomes more difficult to keep the teeth clean. This may increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, increasing the likelihood that additional teeth will be lost. A bridge is thus inserted to prevent such risks. Bridges are non-removable appliances of one or more artificial teeth anchored by crowns on the adjacent teeth.
Dental implants are used to secure crowns, bridges and dentures in the mouth. In a dental implant, a hard plastic or metal fixture is implanted through the soft tissue into the bone. Over time, the bone grows around this fixture, firmly anchoring it. The exposed end of this fixture is covered with a crown and may serve as a stable support for a bridge or denture.
Dental veneers change the appearance of teeth. There are two types of dental veneers, porcelain veneers and dental porcelain laminates. The veneers are thin shells, custom-made to fit the shape and color of the teeth. Thinness is important because veneers bond to the front of the tooth. Once in place, the color, shape, length and size of the tooth with the veneer is changed.
The material used to make veneers determine the results. Veneers made from porcelain offer more stain resistance than those made from resin composite materials. Porcelain also has similar light reflecting properties like natural teeth. Veneers made with resin composite materials are thinner than those made with porcelain. Since resin composite materials produce a thinner veneer, the surface of your tooth does not have to be as thin as with porcelain. Veneers are good for situations, such as:
If you are in need of tooth restoration and finding it difficult to choose the right tooth procedure, call the office of Dr. Aki Shirakura DDS, to help you decide the best restoration procedure for you. You can call us at (914) 303-6150 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact us online.