Dental Restoration Options – Solutions for Saving People's Smiles

Individuals find the best way to stay ahead of dental care costs lies in preventative measures. A person who implements these measures finds they spend less time in the dental chair and encounter less hassle with each visit to the dentist. However, when a tooth has sustained damage or has decayed, the dental team uses more involved measures to save the person's smile. Restorative dental procedures allow a person to fix a damaged or decayed tooth to look and feel great. What are some standard restorative dental procedures used today to achieve this goal?

female restorative dentist examinig patient

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge functions to span the gap between two or more teeth. When a person loses one or more teeth, a space remains. A dental bridge consists of crowns for the anchoring teeth and one or more false teeth to replace missing ones. The abutment teeth, or those used to anchor the bridge, might be natural teeth or implants. Pontics or false teeth used to fill the gap come in porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination of materials.

The bridge helps restore the person's smile while allowing proper chewing and speaking. Missing teeth negatively affect the shape of a person's face, and a dental bridge eliminates this issue. It ensures the forces in the patient's bite remain evenly distributed. When one or more teeth are missing, the adjacent teeth often drift out of position. The pontics in the bridge prevent this from happening. With proper care, patients find their bridge may last ten years or more.

Composite Bonding

Composite bonding, also known as dental bonding or composite resin bonding, adds material to a tooth to change or supplement its shape. The dentist molds a putty-like resin to the desired shape and bonds it to the tooth. Doing so improves the appearance of the smile, and the bonding material lasts for up to ten years, spending on the person's oral hygiene.

Patients love how the dentist can transform their smile in only one visit with the help of this dental procedure, and they often won't need anesthesia. In addition, this option remains inexpensive when compared to other dental treatments that are more invasive, and the dentist removes little of the natural tooth material. Removing little of the natural tooth material means the natural tooth remains stronger.

However, alternative treatment options offer a longer lifespan, and the resin lacks the stain resistance seen with other solutions. Furthermore, the treatment area remains prone to breaking or damage. Individuals who have a decayed chipped, or otherwise damaged tooth often find this option best meets their needs. They can improve their smile without undergoing an invasive dental procedure.

Dental Crowns

When a dentist refers to a dental crown, they talk about a cap that sits over a tooth to cover the natural tooth while restoring its shape and size. The crown improves the tooth's appearance while strengthening it. When cemented in place, the crown encloses the visible portion of the tooth at and above the gum line.

Dental crowns benefit men and women with weak teeth in danger of breaking. The weakness may result from decay, or the tooth may have cracked. In addition, the dentist uses a crown to restore a broken tooth or a worn-down one. At times, a filling may comprise most of a tooth, and this tooth might need a crown to provide cover and support. If the patient has a bridge, the dentist places crowns on the abutment teeth to hold the bridge in place. Discolored or unshapely teeth benefit from a crown, as do other teeth needing cosmetic modification.


female dentist examines dental patient for denturesWhen a person misses one or more teeth, the dentist might recommend dentures. The dentures serve as a replacement for missing teeth in the mouth and the surrounding tissues. Depending on the number of teeth missing, the dentist might recommend complete or partial dentures. Complete dentures replace all teeth in one jaw. In contrast, a partial denture replaces those teeth that are lost, affecting no natural teeth that remain.

Dentures serve as an alternative to dental implants for those patients who find they aren't a suitable candidate for implants. However, complete dentures need to be replaced every five to seven years. Furthermore, they might need adjustments between replacements. Patients still need to see their dentist for oral checkups.

Tooth Extractions

A person might find they need a tooth extracted for various reasons. For example, some men and women have a tooth with excessive decay that needs to come out, or an infection could lead to the need for an extraction. At times, dentists remove one or more teeth because of crowding. Furthermore, chemotherapy or an organ transplant might call for tooth extractions to protect the person's oral health.

Regardless of why the dentist calls for extraction, this procedure remains relatively straightforward. The dentist or oral surgeon numbs the mouth and may use anesthesia if the tooth remains hidden under the gumline or is an impacted tooth. Depending on the type of anesthesia used, the patient might drive home following the procedure. The dentist becomes of great help in determining whether they need an extraction, what level of anesthesia should be used, and more.

Dental Fillings

A tooth with decay needs prompt attention to avoid further damage. In this situation, the dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth and fills the resulting hole with a material designed for the mouth. A person might also need a filling when they have a broken or worn-down tooth.

Patients find they have options for their dental fillings. Silver amalgams made using mercury, silver, tin, zinc, or copper were typical in the past. Today, people often opt for composite resin fillings that mimic the natural tooth material. Glass ionomers, gold, and porcelain are additional options. Each person should work with their dentist to determine which option is best for their needs.

Dental Implants

modle jaw with dental implantDental implants offer an alternative for those individuals who are missing one or more teeth. Countless dentists recommend this option over dental for suitable candidates, as they provide several benefits. First, the dentist inserts a small titanium post into the jawbone during the procedure. Then, over months, the post fuses with the bone to fill the gap in the bone left by the tooth. Once the fusion process is complete, the dentist installs a crown over the implant to restore the smile.

The implant replaces the tooth's roots, which helps prevent bone loss and the sunken cheek appearance seen with dentures. An implant typically lasts a lifetime, although the dentist will need to replace the crown. The person's speech improves, they find it easier to eat, and the dental practitioner doesn't reduce teeth to allow the implant.

Root Canals

When bacteria make their way into the root canal of a tooth, the dentist needs to remove the bacteria. The infected tooth often causes pain and can damage the natural tooth. The dentist removes the infected or inflamed pulp during a root canal procedure before cleaning and disinfecting the canal. They then fill and seal it. The dentist completes the procedure by installing a crown over the remaining natural tooth to protect it.

Individuals often dread a root canal but shouldn't. Root canals aren't more difficult for the patient than a regular filling. Many people leave the office saying they feel better than when they walked in because the pain is gone. For this reason, a person should consider a root canal when their dentist recommends one, as it allows them to preserve the natural tooth. Preserving the natural tooth always serves as the best option.

Dental Veneers

When a person is unhappy with their smile, the dentist may recommend dental veneers. These thin wafers hide any discoloration of a tooth or can alter a tooth's shape or positioning. Once the dentist determines whether the tooth calls for a full or partial veneer, they shape it to blend with the other teeth and bond it to the treated tooth.

Individuals find they can choose between porcelain and resin veneers. Porcelain serves as the better option. It offers more stain resistance and similar light-reflecting properties to the natural teeth.

Veneers help those with worn down, broken, or chipped teeth. In addition, any uneven, irregularly shaped, or misaligned teeth benefit from veneers, as do those with gaps between them. They can also cover a discolored tooth with a veneer to restore the smile. These serve as only a few of the many ways veneers may improve a person's smile, and the dentist can provide countless others.

If your dentist recommends a dental restoration procedure, ask why they feel that is the best option for your smile. Discuss the cost associated with the procedure, the risks and drawbacks, and more. It's your smile, and you want it to be beautiful. The correct procedures can help you achieve this goal, which is why you need all information before proceeding. You want to make the choice that is right for your needs. With this dentist's help, you will efficiently achieve the task.

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