In years past, dental patients have been told that restoring teeth with white composite fillings was mainly for cosmetic purposes, and that they may not be as durable as the silver (or amalgam) fillings. With recent advances in dental materials, composite fillings have improved greatly in their strength, function and wear, and are now measuring up to the durability standards of amalgam.
Crowns and Bridges
Teeth that need crowns are typically ones that have had large fillings in the past, the presence of a crack, a history of breaking down, or previous root canal therapy. The crown is designed to fit over the tooth and protect it from further wear and breakdown. The tooth is prepared down to a smaller version of itself and an impression is taken. The impression is sent to a lab and a mold is created. On this mold, a crown is hand crafted and custom made to match the shape and color of your neighboring teeth. While your crown is being fabricated at the lab, you will have a temporary crown cemented on your tooth for protection.
A bridge is a multi-crown unit that replaces one or more missing teeth. When a lost tooth is replaced with bridgework, the teeth on either side of the space are prepared as crowns and an impression is taken. Often, you will leave with a temporary bridge in place while your bridge is is being fabricated by the lab.
Dental implants can be great solutions for replacing single or multiple missing teeth. A dental implant is a small titanium screw that can be placed in the upper or lower jawbone, and serves as the replacement for the root portion of your missing natural tooth. Dental implants are designed with biocompatible properties so that it successfully heals and fuses to the bone to become a strong anchor for the replacement crown, bridge or denture. A specialist places the implant while the general dentist makes the crown, bridge or denture.
Partials and Dentures
A denture replaces a full arch of missing teeth. It is supported by the ridge of jaw bone beneath. Dental implants can be advantageous in providing additional support and retention of a full denture. A partial replaces multiple missing teeth in an arch and is supported by existing healthy natural teeth. Both dentures and partials are removable and should be left out at night while you sleep.