For most people, restorations are just a part of life. Dental caries and tooth wear will affect nearly 100% of the population at some point. Restorations like fillings, crowns and bridges are utilized by our dentist to fix small areas of decay, repair broken teeth and replace lost teeth. Patients of all ages benefit from restorative dentistry. Receiving a restoration can increase or restore oral function and protect the vitality of natural teeth. Today, patients have abundant options for treatment including restorations that look like natural, biological teeth and are durable enough to withstand the daily forces of chewing food.
Why Restorations are Necessary
There is a simple reason why restorations are necessary, and it’s because teeth cannot regenerate new tissue after being damaged or decayed. Since teeth cannot self-heal, a restoration will prevent existing problems like decay or fractures from worsening and causing more problematic oral health issues. Moreover, when a restoration is needed, a patient’s oral function is less than ideal. Some circumstances where a restoration like a dental crown is required are because a tooth is severely worn down, cracked or decayed. Tooth wear means that the occlusion (the way teeth line up when making contact) is affected. Worn dentition can lead to further tooth wear on other teeth as well. It can also strain the muscles and joints that work to create mouth movement. Patients with worn dentition commonly experience symptoms associated with TMJ disorder.
Types of Restorations
There are many types of restorations, all of which can be made from different materials. The most commonly placed restorations are fillings, dental crowns and bridges.
Fillings are a very popular restoration for people of all ages. These restorations are used to treat small caries on the surfaces of teeth. After the decay is removed, a filling will seal in the depression caused by a cavity while protecting the tooth from future damage at the site of decay. Fillings can be made from amalgam (a metal composition) and tooth-colored resin. Both material options are minimally invasive and durable. The difference is that composite resin is natural looking because it can be matched to the shade of a tooth. When a filling is needed, people will receive their restoration the same day of treatment and only local anesthetic is necessary to ensure a comfortable experience.
A crown is a slightly more extensive restoration than a filling. It is a natural, tooth-shaped cap that is cemented over a previously damaged or more severely decayed tooth, covering the entire visible surface of a tooth. Crowns are used when a tooth is deeply decayed, injured or worn down. A dental crown can repair a tooth to its original size and protect what is left of the tooth from developing more damage. Dental crowns are fabricated in a laboratory by technicians who are trained to make custom restorations and prosthetics. They can be made from metals like gold alloys and natural looking materials such as porcelain (or porcelain-fused-to-metal).
After tooth loss, teeth should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid long disruptions in oral function. A bridge is one common way to address tooth loss. Bridges are prosthetics that fill in the gaps of a smile by anchoring a series of attached crowns between natural teeth. The crowns will replace lost visible tooth structure and rest on top of the gums. Unlike a single dental crown, however, a bridge is not anchored on top of a tooth. Instead, it is held in place by biological teeth on each end. Like crowns, bridges are made from metals and porcelain.
Thompson Dental serves patients of all ages from McKinney and the surrounding areas. Call our office today if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment for general, restorative or cosmetic services.