Restorative Dental Care
Restorative Care relates to the replacement of missing tooth structure and teeth. This can be as simple as a small filling, or more complex such as crowns, fixed bridges, implants, partial dentures, or full dentures
Cavities (tooth decay) dissolve tooth structure, so the decay is removed and “filled” with a restorative material. The “filling” restores the anatomic shape of the tooth, forms a good seal from further decay and has enough strength to withstand chewing forces. Many different materials are available to choose from, depending upon the strength needed, the type of tooth structure it is replacing, and the esthetic position of the filling. It is important to take care of cavities quickly so that they do not lead to more extensive and costly procedures.
Crowns are dental “thimbles” that fit over a single tooth to restore the size, shape and function of the original tooth. They are custom made for the space to fit between the adjacent teeth, to fit the bite of the opposing teeth, and to replace the missing tooth structure. Many material choices are available, depending upon the strength, esthetics and amount of tooth structure remaining. Crowns may be required when a filling will not be strong enough, to restore the size, shape, and function of a broken tooth, or to fill in natural but wide spaces in between teeth. The crown is cemented onto the tooth to form a tight seal and help prevent further breakdown of the teeth. The result is a functional tooth and a beautiful smile. Crowns require 2 appointments as they are custom fabricated at a dental laboratory. During the interval, a temporary crown is worn until the permanent crown is ready.
Bridges are used as a permanent replacement for missing teeth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. The most ideal setting for a bridge is one missing tooth with a strong, healthy tooth (called an abutment tooth) on both sides of the missing tooth. The bridge is fabricated in one piece to look like the missing tooth, and then cemented onto the abutment teeth. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice depends upon strength as well as esthetics. It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible, as the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction of movement. Bridges require 2 appointments, as they are custom fabricated by a dental laboratory. In some cases,
a temporary bridge may be necessary during the interval.