What Is Tooth Restoration?

Tooth restoration is the process of restoring damaged teeth to its original appearance and function. It is a common dental treatment.

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Amalgams are one of the oldest direct restorative materials used for filling. Despite their high success rate, they expand with age and might crack the tooth resulting in leakage of filling and recurrent decay.

1. Bonding

A popular cosmetic dental treatment, bonding uses a tooth-colored composite resin material to cover and improve minor flaws in your smile. This includes fixing chips, discoloration and closing small gaps in teeth. The procedure is often used in conjunction with other dental restorations such as fillings or veneers to achieve a more complete smile transformation.

Dental bonding is relatively quick and non-invasive. The dentist roughens the surface of your tooth and then applies an adhesive before placing the resin. The dentist molds and shapes the resin to blend it with surrounding teeth, much like a sculptor working with clay. The tooth is then polished and finished for a healthy appearance.

While bonded teeth are durable, the resin is not as strong as natural enamel and can crack or chip. Patients are encouraged to practice good oral hygiene and avoid chewing on hard objects or foods. Additionally, bonded teeth are not as resistant to stains as natural enamel, so patients should also avoid smoking and consuming stain-causing beverages such as coffee and red wine. Nevertheless, with proper care, a tooth bond can last for several years.

2. Crowns

Dental crowns are a reliable and effective treatment option when teeth are damaged or broken. These tooth-shaped restorations fully encase the remaining natural tooth, strengthening and protecting it while restoring its shape and size to create a healthy and beautiful smile.

Unlike tooth fillings, these crowns are custom fabricated by an outside lab for precise fit and durability. Our dentists will evaluate your teeth and mouth to determine if you are a good candidate for this variety of tooth restoration. Before placing a crown, we will remove some enamel for a proper fit and will create impressions (molds) of your teeth to ensure the correct customization.

Generally, crowns are made from gold or porcelain. These are the most common types of tooth restorations used to restore worn or damaged teeth. Gold crowns are more durable and have superior strength, while porcelain has the best color match to your natural teeth. Zirconia is a newer material for crowns which provides exceptional durability while maintaining a natural-looking translucency similar to tooth enamel. In most cases, dental insurance will cover the cost of these dental caps, but this will depend on your individual policy.

3. Veneers

Veneers are a type of tooth restoration that involves a strong, thin cap placed on the front teeth to improve appearance. They are a popular choice for people who want to fix their smiles without getting extensive oral surgery or spending a lot of money.

During a typical veneers procedure, a dentist will numb the patient before cleaning and polishing the teeth. They will also etch the surface of each tooth to roughen it, which allows for a strong bonding process. Then, they will apply the veneer and check it for color and fit before permanently cementing it to the tooth with a special cement.

Some patients may experience sensitivity after their restorations are completed, but this typically goes away with time. To maintain the beauty of their restorations, patients should brush and floss regularly, using a soft to medium bristle toothbrush. They should also schedule their semi-annual dental exams. It’s essential to avoid missing appointments, as doing so could limit the lifespan of a patient’s veneers.

4. Bridges

Dental bridges are a reliable way to restore teeth that have fallen out or were lost due to decay, trauma, or another reason. The process is complex and involves combining one or more artificial teeth, called pontics, with crowns that are placed on the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth (the abutment teeth).

The dentist first numbs the area with local anesthetic before preparing the abutment teeth. This may involve removing some enamel from the surrounding teeth to ensure they are strong enough to support the bridge. The dentist then takes impressions of the patient’s mouth to send off to an off-site lab where the bridge is fabricated.

Once the bridge is ready, the dentist will schedule a return visit to place it and make sure it functions properly. Aside from restoring teeth to their natural appearance, dental bridges can also improve chewing and speaking, prevent the neighboring natural teeth from shifting into the empty gap, and protect remaining bones and gum tissue. The restoration can last for years if it is adequately maintained.

5. Implants

Implants are a long-lasting solution for missing teeth. They are designed to replace both the tooth and root, giving patients confidence in their appearance and chewing abilities. They also help to preserve adjacent teeth and bone, and they offer greater stability than other restorative treatments, like dentures.

An implant is a titanium screw-shaped post that acts as the tooth’s root. It is surgically placed in the jawbone, and a healing cap or abutment is placed on top. The implant will fuse with the bone tissues, a process called osseointegration, to anchor it in place.

During the placement procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area, and antibiotics or I.V. sedation might be given for patient comfort.

If a patient has severe bone loss, a bone graft procedure might be necessary before dental implant placement can occur. After a healing period, an abutment is screwed onto the implant, and the final prosthesis, such as a single tooth, bridge, or full denture is placed on top. Porcelain and zirconia are strong, natural-looking materials that can be used to make the crowns that cover the implants.