General TreatmentFillingsGum TherapyFixed BridgesRoutine CleaningsRoot Canal TreatmentInlays & OnlaysCrowns
Research has shown that almost everybody is prone to experiencing some tooth decay and when tooth decay does occur, it is highly important to remove the decay as soon as possible, clean the tooth and repair the tooth with some type of restoration. Also, lost or missing teeth are a part of general treatment and need to be replaced to protect your overall oral health.
Here we will help you understand more about the various restorations available to you at our office to protect and restore decayed or missing teeth.
Silver Fillings are an inexpensive way to restore most tooth decay.
Silver fillings are needed to restore small-to moderate-sized tooth decay on a portion of a back tooth.
The Upside about silver fillings is that it has been used for over 150 years and is very durable. The best part would be that it is placed on quickly.
The Downside to silver fillings is that they do not stick to the tooth structure. So it requires a preparation where the filling is chambered, where it is smaller towards the surface of the tooth and larger inside. This prevents the filling from falling out of the tooth. The chambering of the filling requires more of the tooth to be removed, taking more of the healthy tooth structure away than is actually necessary. This weakens the tooth and gives it the vulnerability to fracture when biting into hard items. Since these fillings will break down from normal wear and tear, they eventually need to be replaced, and that will require more removal of healthy tooth structure.
The Alternative to the silver fillings is having composite (tooth colored) fillings. In the case of extensive tooth decay, inlays/onlays or crowns are the only alternatives.
Composite (tooth colored) Fillings
Composite fillings are great for replacing the old traditional silver fillings.
The Cause for composite fillings are decay on a portion of any tooth whether it is small-to moderate-size of decay; the desire to replace the old traditional silver fillings; the desire to keep a great white smile; or allergy to the mercury (silver) fillings.
The Upside to having composite fillings is more than just have really attractive teeth. They use no mercury so are non-toxic. They bond directly to the surface of the tooth and protect the tooth from fracturing because they do not require to chamber the filling.
The Downside to getting composite fillings is the investment is higher than a mercury filling due to the materials is more expensive and the restoration time is slightly longer. But the higher investment in this will be better in the long run by the health benefits and reduced chances of restoring fractured teeth.
The Alternative to composite fillings are inlays or onlays where these offer long term durability. Again in cases of extensive decay, inlays/onlays or crowns are the only alternatives.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the most common disease here in America. The good news is unlike most other diseases, gum disease is easily prevented and treated.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone structure in the gums that surround the teeth. This infection cannot be cured by the immune system. Untreated gum disease is a major cause of adult tooth loss. Recent science has proven that the infection from gum disease is more serious than originally believed, and can travel to other areas of the body.
There are four stages of gum disease, healthy not being one of them. When the gums are healthy they have a healthy pink color; the gum line hugs the teeth tightly; and they do not bleed. The four stages of gum disease start at:
- Gums bleed easily when brushing teeth or when probed gently during and exam.
- Gums are inflamed and sensitive to touch..
- Possible bad breath and bad taste.
- Gums between teeth may look bluish-red in color.
- Early Periodontitis
- Gums may begin to pull away form the teeth.
- Bleeding, puffiness and inflammation more pronounced.
- Bad breath and bad taste.
- Slight loss of bone, horizontally on X-ray.
- Pockets of 3-4mm between teeth and gums in one or more areas of the mouth.
- Moderate Periodontitis
- Gum boils or abscesses may develop.
- Teeth look longer as gums begin to recede.
- Front teeth may begin to drift, showing spaces.
- Bad breath, bad taste.
- Both horizontal and angular bone loss on X-ray.
- Pockets between teeth and gum range from 4-6mm deep.
- Advanced Periodontitis
- Teeth may become mobile or loose.
- Bad breath, bad taste are constant.
- Roots may be exposed and are sensitive to hot and cold.
- Severe horizontal and angular bone loss on X-ray.
- Pockets between teeth and gum now in excess of 6mm deep.
The treatment for gum disease (periodontal disease) is gum therapy (treatment) which is a deep cleaning of the teeth and gums. After the treatment the gums are re-evaluated to decide if further treatment is necessary such as, gum surgery. Where the damage to the gum and bone will be corrected to bring the condition of the gums to a healthy stage where it can be maintained by routine brushing, cleaning, flossing and check-ups.
(also called a cap) are used to restore and preserve badly decayed or fractured teeth. Crowns can also be used cosmetically to enhance the appearance of teeth. It may also be recommended for a bite problem.
A crown can be made of gold, other metals, or porcelain. In constructing a crown, the combination of materials that provides the most satisfying results is porcelain fused to metal (either gold or non-precious). The metal proves strength, and the porcelain, strength and beauty.
The advantages of the crowns are they are very strong due to the fact that they are created in a laboratory. This protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure. They are highly durable and are an excellent resource for restorations on badly decayed, fracture teeth or to protect the remaining structure of a tooth.
The alternative is if a tooth is so decayed or fractured it needs to be extracted, in this case, a bridge is used to replace the missing tooth.
Fixed bridges are to replace missing teeth. Bridges are usually made of gold, other metals, porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal.
Many people who lose a back tooth are inclined to do nothing to replace it. After all the tooth never was visible. Unfortunately, losing a tooth can start a vicious cycle of destruction.
In a healthy mouth, the teeth have a natural balance. Each upper tooth connects with the corresponding lower tooth, allowing for well-balanced chewing. Losing a tooth quickly destroys this balance.
Drifting, shifting, periodontal disease, and abnormal decay can occur when a tooth loses the support of a companion tooth. Left untreated, this neighboring tooth will be lost, then the next, and the next, and so on. With each lost tooth, the problems are magnified and the cycle continues.
For example in the picture above, a lower molar has been lost. Its neighboring teeth and biting partners are jeopardized. What happens is:
- The opposing molar may over-erupt (drift down).
- The unprotected ridge is subject to trauma.
- The neighbor teeth tilt, destroying proper functional balance.
- Drifting teeth create food impact areas where decay starts.
- Drifting teeth increase the risk of periodontal disease.
- Bone is destroyed as teeth drift and tip.
Placing a fixed bridge to replace the missing tooth will prevent from all the above from happening.
Professional (Routine) Cleanings
Prevention is always better than treatment. By actively preventing disease and decay through regular home care, professional dental cleanings and regular exams, you will maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.
Also, effective prevention (regular check-ups and cleanings) can help you avoid costly treatments in the future to remove decay, restore teeth and treat gum disease. Regular check-ups and cleanings is truly your best investment.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (endodontics) treats disorders of the nerve (also called the pulp) of the tooth. It used to be that a tooth with a disease or an infected nerve would have to be removed but now with today’s modern technology the tooth can be saved and restored. We believe in saving teeth (instead of removing them). When a root canal is needed the nerve (pulp) is diseased or damaged. The pulp is the internal part of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood supply. Pulp problems occur when the crown of the tooth is decayed or injured so that the pulp is exposed. The pulp becomes inflamed, and it becomes infected when bacteria enters the pulp. The infection can spread throughout the pulp into the root canal. If it gets to the tip of the root, it can invade the bone. When this happens, an abscess (pocket of pus) may form and when this is left untreated, the infection can cause bone loss and tooth loss. The purpose of a root canal is to stop the infection by removing dead or dying tissue, so that the tooth can be saved. After the root canal is done a crown is placed over the remaining structure of the tooth to protect it - We make every effort to help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime!
Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and onlays are an excellent way restore a small to moderate size of decay on a tooth. They are incredibly strong due to the fact they are made in laboratories. They are used to protect the tooth from fracturing and to strengthen the tooth. They are needed in the condition of any amount of decay on a portion of any tooth and for long-term and durable restoration. The process of this restoration procedure requires only the removal of decayed areas of the tooth.