Dental Fillings, Crowns & Bridges
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.
There are a variety of filling materials available including composite resin, porcelain, and gold. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where the filling is needed, and cost. Each filling material is briefly explained below:
Resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. They are placed with a special bonding process that reduces sensitivity and helps to reinforce the remaining tooth structure. This material is an excellent choice in small to medium size restorations. When a large portion of the tooth needs to be replaced, a porcelain restoration is the ideal choice.
Called inlays, onlays, or 3/4 crowns. They can be created with our CEREC technology by scanning in the missing tooth structure and then the custom fit piece is then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth, resist staining, and are a great choice for back teeth that have had large metal fillings previously placed. These restorations generally cover most of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.
AMALGAM (SILVER) FILLINGS
Amalgam fillings were frequently placed over the last few decades for fillings needed in the back portion of patients mouths. They are extremely durable but due to mercury concerns, the dark unappealing color, potential for bacteria leakage, and their difference of expansion to hot and cold (causing teeth to crack and fracture) they are not widely used anymore. Dr. believes with the current materials of porcelain and composite that there rarely a reason to use these amalgam materials anymore.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown (or "cap") may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown (also referred to as a cap) is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth's appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science since it replaces a missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they begin to "fall" and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite because of the changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as TMJ.
Bridges and crowns are made by either a off site laboratory OR our on site CEREC technology. If a lab fabricated crown is the ideal choice for you, an impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth color. A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until your permanent crown or bridge is ready and cemented into place. Dr. Andler can help you decide if a lab fabricated crown or a immediate porcelain CEREC crown is the more ideal choice for you.
Bridges and crowns are very durable and can last a lifetime with extra care and good oral hygiene.