Inlays & Onlays
If the tooth’s biting surface is damaged a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay. This is a more conservative treatment versus a crown. Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth; an onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.
Dental bridges connect the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
- Restore your smile
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
What Is the Process for Getting a Dental Bridge?
During the first visit for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. Preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made.
During the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual’s case. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it is fitting properly. After a couple weeks, the bridge is cemented into place
If you tend to hide your smile because of missing teeth, dental implants can help. Teeth lost due to injury, disease, or infection can make speaking and eating difficult. You may feel self-conscious and uncomfortable with your appearance. Dental implants are the most durable way of replacing missing teeth. An implant, essentially an artificial tooth root to which a new crown can be attached, can successfully replace a single tooth or all of your natural teeth. The dental implant procedure involves three phases. During the first phase, the titanium implant is placed into your jawbone. It then requires a period of healing which lasts for several months. Finally, a new crown is attached to the implant, giving you a strong, natural-looking new tooth
Tooth Colored Fillings
For years, silver fillings or amalgams were used to restore teeth that had sustained minimal decay or small fractures. Today, patients are electing tooth-colored fillings to improve esthetics, replace amalgam fillings that have failed, and to address their concerns about the mercury content of metal fillings. Advances in composite resins allow for tooth-colored fillings to serve the same purpose as the metal fillings and are virtually undetectable.
Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body. Teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.