Dental restorations are designed to restore function and aesthetics to a smile that is suffering from damaged, decayed or lost teeth. In general, dentists will work to preserve your natural teeth and focus on improving your dental health, particularly if you are suffering from periodontal disease or other dental health issues. Your dentist will consider your dental health, lifestyle habits and other factors when working with you to devise a treatment plan.
Dental fillings are one of the most typical restorative dental treatments. When a tooth has a cavity, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of tooth and then restore the tooth’s size and shape with a dental filling. Teeth are commonly filled with silver amalgam, composite resin or other materials. Silver amalgam, which is composed of a special mix of mercury, tin and other metals, can withstand extremely strong bite forces and is most often used in molars. Composite resin, which is an increasingly popular filling material, is also very strong. It can be made to closely match your natural enamel for a restoration that is both trustworthy and cosmetically pleasing.
When a tooth’s structure has been significantly compromised because of decay or damage, a dental filling may not be enough to protect and strengthen the tooth. Your dentist may instead opt for a crown, which fits over the top of the tooth like a cap. Dental crowns can restore strength and appearance to your tooth, or they can serve as a support for dental bridges. In some conditions, a dental crown may also be used with a dental implant when your natural tooth is missing.
Dental bridges are used when a tooth or several teeth are missing. They literally bridge the gap and are most commonly anchored by dental crowns bonded onto adjacent teeth. Dental bridges can also be used with dental implants, which are replacement tooth roots. They are most frequently made of titanium, which is highly compatible with human tissue. Dental implants fuse with the jawbone just as the natural tooth root, and they can serve as a foundation for synthetic teeth while maintaining jawbone density.
If you are missing a full arch of teeth or all your teeth, your dentist may recommend dentures. Dentures are removable prosthetic teeth that are usually made of acrylic resin over a metal frame. Full dentures are used when all the teeth are lost while partial dentures replace some teeth and are attached using clasps.