GENERAL DENTISTRY / PROSTODONTICS
A filling repairs and restores the surface of a tooth that has been damaged by decay, fracture, or wear. A dental filling strengthens the tooth. If tooth decay is not repaired at its early stages, it will worsen and additional or alternative dental treatments may be necessary.
When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc). With proper care and routine oral hygiene, a filling has a lifespan of about 5 years.
A dental crown restores a tooth’s shape, size, and strength. It fully encases the visible portion of your tooth or dental implant. Once it is permanently bonded in place, only a Dentist or Specialist can remove it. With proper care and good oral hygiene, the life of a crown can range from 5 to 15 years.
A crown may be prescribed by your Dentist to:
- Restore and protect a tooth that is worn, decayed, cracked, or broken
- Protect and support a tooth after a very large filling or root canal treatment
- Cover a dental implant
- Hold a dental bridge or other prosthetic device in place
- Improve your smile by covering a misshapen or severely discolored tooth
Porcelain is attractive, strong, stable, and highly resistant to wear. It offers a high level of biocompatibility because it does not contain metal. A porcelain crown provides the best natural color match to the rest of your teeth and is an excellent choice for front teeth.
Metal offers strength and endurance. A metal crown may be recommended for back teeth where the forces of biting and chewing are the greatest. A metal crown rarely chips or breaks. In addition, it requires minimal removal of tooth structure. A base metal crown is often the least expensive treatment options; however.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal offers the benefits of a natural surface color that resembles the rest of your teeth and the strength of a metal substructure. It requires the removal of more tooth structure than other types of crowns.
A Bridge is a fixed prosthesis in which two or more crowns are connected together, which replace a missing tooth or teeth through a bridge. Typically used after an extraction.
They are a partial or complete set of dentition which either attaches to neighbouring teeth by use of metal or plastic grasps or to the gingival or palatal surface by use of adhesive. A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available — complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This “bridge” is then cemented into place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural-looking appliance.
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed. Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
It is a combination of dentures and implants, bases are placed into the bone, allowed to heal, and metal appliances are fixed to the gingival surface, following which dentures are placed atop and fixed into place. Dental implants can be used to support cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Consult your dentist for advice.