Direct Tooth Restoration
Tooth restoration falls into one of two categories. Some tooth restorations are called direct tooth restoration. These involve having a filling placed directly within a cavity. The great thing about a direct restoration is that it can be set on the tooth cavity immediately. The material needs to be set while in contact with the tooth. A small amount of force needs to be applied to the tooth, which creates a small risk that the tooth will be damaged. Therefore, there are some cases where an indirect restoration is a better option.
There are many filling options that are available. The two most common options are the silver amalgam and the composite plastic. We have been amalgam-free in our office for over 20 years. We primarily use composite, ceramic and gold in our restorations. The only negative effects of these filling materials result from allergic reactions some patients experience. The material that your dentist recommends is based on the surface where the filling will be applied. Another common option is gold.
To painlessly prepare a tooth for a filling, we use dental lasers. These devices have a much lower chance of causing damage to the tooth compared with drilling and other traditional methods.
Indirect Tooth Restoration
The other option for tooth restoration is an indirect restoration. This is a customized tooth replacement in the form of a crown, onlay or inlay. The crown is designed to cover the whole chewing surface of the tooth. The inlay is placed in between the cusps of the tooth. The onlay covers a cusp tip. Veneers completely cover the original set of teeth and can give a patient a completely new smile. Once the restoration is finished, it is permanently bonded to the tooth with oral cement.
Some dentists believe that removable dental prostheses can also be classified as a form of indirect tooth restoration. There are a considerable number of implements that are attached to teeth to provide support for a prosthetic and this is often seen as a form of indirect tooth restoration.
One prosthetic is a bridge. These are false teeth that are designed to bridge the gap between false teeth and real teeth. The bridge might be anchored on both sides by crowns that are cemented into place.
Implants are a very popular tooth restoration option. They are embedded into the jawbone and are used to hold a prosthetic tooth in place. This allows for missing teeth to be replaced anywhere on the jaw. The replacement tooth is a crown.
There are many options available for implants. One is the two-stage system. The implant is embedded into the jawbone and is then allowed to integrate with the tissue. This increases the likelihood that the implant will not be rejected, but also prolongs how long the patient must wait before the procedure is completed. The one state system leaves the implant partially exposed after the procedure is complete to allow for the dental implant crown to be placed on the abutment, which is the portion of the implant designed to attach to the prosthetic tooth.
There are a very large number of implant options to choose from. Some of the most common include:
- Single tooth replacements
- Multiple tooth replacements
- Fixed and removable bridgework combinations
- Anchorage for tooth movement
- Temporary bridgework
The only way to know which option is the best for you is through a close consultation with your dentist. He or she will be able to inform you on the best option based on your current oral health. The best option will be selected based on the results you want to achieve, how much you can afford to spend on the procedure and the option that your dentist believes will have the greatest likelihood of succeeding.