A cavity is a hole in a tooth that is the result of decay. Tooth decay occurs when plaque, the residue that builds up on teeth, combines with sugars and starches from food. This combination of plaque and food residue mixes with the bacteria in the mouth and forms an acid that erodes tooth enamel, exposing the tooth to decay. If a cavity is not treated, the decay in the tooth will spread until it affects the root of the tooth.
Cavities are treated using either a direct or an indirect filling. The most esthetically pleasing type of filling is a direct composite (or resin) filling. Composite fillings are made of porcelain and are white in color. Composite fillings are not as strong as amalgam fillings, but they bond directly to the tooth and require less of the natural tooth to be removed. Composite fillings are used at our practice and the many varying shades are available to best match your teeth.
Crowns are used to cover and protect damaged teeth. Crowns are often placed on teeth that are broken, stained, poorly shaped, or misaligned. Crowns are also placed on teeth with very large fillings and teeth that have had root canals. With proper care, a crown can last up to 10 years.
A root canal treatment is the process of removing the infected, diseased, or deep pulp from the root of a tooth. If a root canal is not performed on an infected tooth, the infection will spread to the rest of the tooth and the entire tooth will need to be extracted.
A root canal treatment consists of the creation of a hole in the tooth, the cleaning and refilling of the root canals, and the placement of a final restoration such as a crown.
There are several options for replacing missing teeth.
Below are some of those options:
A bridge is a permanent solution for missing teeth. It is a fixed partial denture used to replace missing teeth and preserve correct alignment in the mouth. The most common type of dental bridge is traditional bridge.
A traditional bridge can be made from zirconia or porcelain fused with metal. A traditional bridge consists of a false tooth, or the pontic, fused between two (or more) crowns. These crowns are placed on the healthy teeth on each side of the missing tooth. With proper care, a bridge can last up to 10 years.
Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. Implants consist of a small titanium post that is screwed into the bone to replace the root followed by an abutment and a crown that is attached to that post. Dental implants are only successful when there is enough underlying bone structure to support the implant. Implant candidates must also have healthy gums that will withstand and recover from the surgery.
Partial dentures are a permanent but removable solution for missing teeth. Partial dentures consist of one false tooth or several false teeth connected by a metal framework and attached to a pink base. A partial denture may be used when surrounding teeth are not strong enough for a bridge, bone structure is not sufficient for an implant, or patient preference.
Partial dentures will have claps that attached themselves to existing teeth. Clasps can be clear or metal, both having their benefits. Partial dentures will take approximately 1-2 months to fabricate, as necessary try-ins are required for a custom look and fit.
It is important to know how to classify and know what to expect when patients are recommended for dentures. Perhaps a patient has severe periodontitis or teeth are simply not salvageable, our providers will work hard to try and preserve your natural teeth but sometimes dentures just make the most sense. However, after removing teeth, the mouth is not ready for a permanent denture quite yet. When teeth are removed, the mouth needs time to heal into the state it will eventually remain. Although everyone heals different, healing time ranges between 6 months to a year. Most commonly, patients want to have teeth during their healing time which is when an immediate denture is recommended.
Immediate dentures are fabricated prior to your teeth removal, so that patients do not ever go without teeth. They may feel awkward or uncomfortable in the beginning and eating and speaking may take a little practice. It is also very natural and anticipated by your provider to routinely come in for adjustments as the mouth heals. Relines and rebases may be required until eventually the dentures will need to be remade.
Dentures are a replacement for teeth. The base of the upper denture will cover the palate, or the roof of the mouth. It will serve as a natural suction for upper denture retention. The lower dentures fit over the remaining ridge and accommodates the tongue. Traditional dentures are custom made in a dental lab and take approximately 1-2 months to fabricate, as necessary try-ins are required for a custom look and fit. Patients choose what shade and shape they would like their teeth to look like prior to finalizing dentures. Our team will instruct on denture care.
Implant Supported Dentures
Implant Supported Dentures- As we age, the mouth naturally changes. These changes can cause a denture to loosen, making chewing difficult. Having the upper natural suction roof of the mouth helps retain upper dentures by remaking or relining them. The lower ridge however is not as easy. When teeth are lost, the bone that once sustained them has no more function and will eventually be gone entirely making a lower ridge extremely difficult to be the source to retain lower dentures.
Implants are recommended because they can help these cases. By placing implants under the lower jawbone, the bone’s function is now to preserve the implants. Attachments are placed on the implants as well as underneath an implant supported denture and both work to keep the denture in place. Ask your provider is you are a good candidate for implanted supported dentures. Dentists must verify that patients have enough healthy jawbone or if bone grafting may be necessary.
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