When your tooth needs to be repaired, you deserve to know what all your options are. After all, some types of tooth restorations are a matter of preference and budget.
Here’s what you need to know to make an educated decision about your oral health:
White Fillings Offer a Minimally Invasive Approach to Treatment
Traditional fillings used to be made of a metal alloy (amalgam). Their design functioned more as a patch that was wedged into the tooth. Now, we can treat cavities by removing far less tooth structure because of materials that bond directly with the enamel.
Composite (white) fillings aren’t just minimally invasive, they’re also aesthetically pleasing. Our Houston dentist can select the color of your filling so that it matches your real tooth. After the treatment, the final restoration blends right in with your smile.
Crowns for Badly Damaged Teeth
There comes a point when it is no longer possible to cover a cavity, because large areas of decay impact the structural integrity of your tooth. Filling a thin shell of enamel with a large restoration would ultimately lead to the tooth’s fracture and demise.
Instead, a dental crown can cover these teeth so that you can continue biting and chewing as normal. Some people refer to crowns as “caps” because of the way they cover the entire area above your gums.
Like white fillings, most crowns are made of porcelain and blend in with your other teeth. In cases where a back tooth is being treated, gold may be preferred. Silver crowns are typically only used temporarily, as they do not conform to the unique contour of adult teeth for an adequate seal.
Fillings for Kids are Important
Baby teeth help to act as individual guides for the proper eruption location of adult teeth. If they get a cavity, that decay can quickly spread. This can cause one of two problems: infection in the adult tooth, or premature loss of the baby tooth (possibly leading to complicated orthodontic issues).
By filling your child’s tooth early, our Houston dentist can keep it healthy for several more years.
If the tooth restoration has been put off, the baby tooth may abscess or decay so much that a filling is no longer adequate. Rather than pull the tooth, it’s best to preserve spacing by treating it with a pulpotomy and stainless steel crown. These restorations should hold adequately until it’s time for the tooth’s natural exfoliation.
About Inlays and Onlays
Sometimes a tooth needs more than a filling, but doesn’t quite require a crown. Inlays and onlays are used less frequently in dentistry, but they have a special role. These three-quarter crowns can help to rebuild larger portions of the tooth, assuming adequate structure is left to support them.
Bridges vs. Partials vs. Dental Implants
Maybe you’re curious as to how our Houston dentist can help you replace your missing teeth. There are several options to choose from.
Take dental bridges for example. These tooth restorations look like three or four crowns bonded tooth-to-tooth. Only the end “crowns” are functional, while the ones between them fill in the area where your teeth are missing. To get a bridge, you need to have healthy teeth on either side of your open space. The teeth will be reshaped and prepped as if you were receiving a crown, and the bridge bonds over them.
To eliminate the invasive nature of bridges, some people prefer to go with dental implants. Implants are permanent, artificial tooth roots that can be used to replace anywhere from one tooth to all of them. Their durability makes them strong enough to support a single crown, bridge, or even a denture.
Finally, removable partials are an economical solution that snaps in to replace missing teeth without any extra treatment. Your natural teeth help to secure it in place. Small clasps may help to stabilize it.
Dentures facilitate replacing all your teeth at one time. Most removable “plates” are made of acrylic that sets directly against your gingival tissues, creating a seal. With proper care and maintenance, you can help to extend how long your denture fits.
It’s also possible to have a traditional or streamline denture that is affixed over dental implants. This adds additional stability and may even free up extra space in your mouth. Implant supported dentures can be one of two types: removable, or fixed (only removable by a dentist).
Uses for Dental Bonding
Bonding is more of a cosmetic procedure, but it does hold some use when it comes to restoring teeth. Our Houston dentist might recommend composite bonding for areas like:
• Chipped teeth
• Exposed root surfaces
• Gaps in your smile
• Surface irregularities in your enamel
Unlike a filling, bonding is fused to the outer surface of your tooth, making it a more superficial, less invasive technique.
“Should I Just Pull the Tooth?”
Our Richmond Tx dentist understands how some people may just want to pull a problematic tooth instead of restoring it. Unfortunately, this can lead to even more concerns (and additional treatment expenses).
For example, if you pull a tooth that needed to be repaired with a crown, the teeth around it will start to drift. The bone around that area will also start to shrink away. To preserve your smile, an implant may be the next step.
Get a Customized Treatment Plan
At Grand Parkway Smiles, our Richmond Tx tooth restoration dentists are happy to review all options with you. We never want you to feel forced into a treatment that you don’t feel you need. Instead, we’ll give you the information necessary so you can make smart choices about your oral health.
Call us Today at (832) 222.0016 to schedule your appointment and find out what the best solution for a great smile is.
The entire staff makes you feel cared for and top priority.