When teeth are broken or damaged by decay, a filling is done to restore the missing tooth structure. We typically use tooth-colored/composite filling materials to preserve tooth structure and make repairs easier. We can also use amalgam (silver) fillings, though most people prefer the esthetics of the composite fillings. A composite filling is bonded into the tooth, whereas a silver filling just fills in the space.
Crowns are used when the filling is larger than the tooth you have remaining, there is a fracture in the tooth, or a root canal. Crowns are now made up of a variety of substances, including metal, porcelain, zirconium, and other ceramic substrates to meet the esthetic and functional needs of the patient.
When fillings are inadequate or when remaining tooth structure wants to be preserved (and not removed for a crown), an onlay restoration is done. Like a crown, an onlay is made in a dental laboratory.
Veneers are porcelain shells that go over your teeth. Most commonly, they are done to change the shape, color, and appearance of the front teeth. This allows your teeth to look more uniformed when you smile.
Implants are a great way to replace missing teeth because they are fixed in the mouth without adjusting adjacent teeth, as a fixed bridge would. A surgeon places the titanium implant into your jawbone. The treatment time can be longer for implants (3-6 months) but the longevity is also longer, provided they are cared for properly. After the bone has healed around the implant, it can then be restored with a crown or used as an attachment for a removable denture.
A fixed bridge involves crowning the teeth adjacent to a missing space and bridging the span with a faux tooth (pontic). Bridges are useful in cases where a patient doesn't want the prolonged treatment time of an implant, the adjacent teeth are in need of crowns or are crowned, or finances make this option more feasible than an implant.
The most cost-effective option for patients with multiple missing teeth is a removable partial denture. The disadvantage is the bulk of the material involved and sometimes the esthetics.
There are many options to replacing missing teeth and doing nothing is an option. However, remaining teeth drift and shift over time, causing unforeseen consequences that are often difficult to restore.
When decay has contaminated the nerve canal, or a tooth is dead or traumatized, a root canal is needed in order to save the tooth. This involves cleaning out the canals within the tooth and sealing off the canals. Once this is done, the tooth needs to be filled (or built-up), and crowned, since root canal teeth are vulnerable to fracture.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT