When tooth decay damages a tooth, it breaks down the hard tissue of the tooth leaving soft, discolored decay. When this is cleaned out we are left with a sterile cavity that has to be repaired. When of a small to moderate size, this cavity can be filled directly with tooth colored composite materials that can be packed and hardened in the tooth. If the cavity is large stronger and more durable materials need to be used as described below.
Sometimes teeth have damage that affects a wide area on top or slightly over the side of the tooth. That is when we usually recommend inlays. We’ll place materials that provide the most stable and long-lasting result while preventing adjacent teeth from shifting or a gradual deterioration of the bite.
We always use muscle testing to determine the most ideal material for your particular situation. Our inlays are usually made either of gold or ceramics. These restorations are formed on a model of your teeth by our dental technician and then fitted to your tooth and cemented or bonded in place.
Onlays and Crowns
If your damage is more significant, the strength of your tooth may be compromised. We often see teeth with old mercury fillings that are developing cracks in the enamel and underlying structure because the filling has acted as a wedge in the tooth over time. These teeth are best restored by either an onlay or a crown that reinforces the strength of the tooth by covering a portion of it.
Wherever possible, we prefer to conserve the enamel of the tooth and use an onlay. Today we are able to do this in either gold or ceramic materials. Gold has traditionally been the material of choice, though with advances in ceramic and bonding technology, the majority of our patients prefer the cosmetically superior ceramic onlay.
If you are only missing one or two teeth and are not a candidate for dental implants, we usually recommend a dental bridge. A bridge consists of two crowns that attach a false tooth to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. But the bridges we offer aren’t just any bridge – ours are comfortable, well fitting, and natural looking, no one will be able to distinguish them from your own teeth. Not only that, our bridges are fixed in place, meaning that you don’t have to remove the replacement for cleaning. Patients say these bridges are so easy to wear, they often forget they are there!
Partials and Dentures
Are you missing all or most of your teeth? You are not alone. Over 20 million people in America are edentulous, meaning “without teeth.” Teeth are necessary components of good health, and without them, millions of people suffer from emotional distress, digestive issues, TMJ disorders, and even malnutrition. But most dentures are uncomfortable and hard to wear, slipping when you talk, or sliding and coming loose when you eat. We can help. We create dentures that act orthopedically, placing your mouth in the optimum position for your jaw and bite to work together harmoniously. This means they will more effectively stay in place, feel better, and look so much more natural than traditional dentures ever could.
Confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don’t feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing.
If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak, and eat again with comfort and confidence, we are here to help! Dental implants are teeth that look and feel just like your own. In fact, they are so natural looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth! You can read more here.