Restorative DentistryFillings, Root Canals, Crowns, Bridges and Partials
A filling is done when a tooth has a nominal amount of decay that has not yet affected the root. Dr. B. uses laser dentistry to prepare a tooth to receive a filling. Laser technology eliminates the noise and vibration associated with dental work. Our patients find fillings painless and quick. Filling materials may be amalgam (metal) or composite (white). Decay is removed from the affected tooth, it is then cleaned and made ready to accept the material of choice. The materials used for fillings are at first moldable which allows Dr. B. to mimic the ridges and curves of your tooth. It’s vitally important that a filling is molded to fit within a patient’s bite pattern. Once the bite has been tested, and Dr. B. is certain that the filling material has been sculpted properly, he finishes the process to harden the filling material. The tooth is then restored.
Dr. B. will often perform root canals. A root canal is indicated when a tooth has broken or is decayed to the point that the tooth’s root (more accurately, the pulp chamber) has been affected. Inside of each of our teeth is what could be easily explained as “root system”. Underneath the white enamel is an area of the tooth called dentin. Dentin is more porous than enamel and not as hard. Under the Dentin is pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves. Dr. B. also employs laser dentistry for this procedure. A root canal is also a filling, of sorts. In addition to removing decay, it’s important that the damaged or infected root is also removed. Once removed, the “root canal” is filled with a substance to stabilize the tooth. More often than not, a crown is needed after a root canal. Generally, when a root canal is indicated a significant portion of the tooth’s structure will have been lost to decay. Though many filling materials are durable, it’s important that enough tooth structure remains to “hold” a filling in place. Without that structure, the filling is subject to breakage. It’s for this reason a crown is often prescribed.
A crown is a work of art. Also sometimes called a “cap”, a crown is usually made of metal (sometimes precious) and porcelain or porcelain-like materials. The portion of your tooth that shows above the gum line is also called “the crown”. It stands to reason that man-made crowns exist to replace that vital part of a tooth once it’s been destroyed by breakage or decay. Crowns involve making molds of existing teeth, pouring models and constructing a replica of your tooth’s former glory! (In cosmetic dentistry, we will typically improve upon the original.) Crowns take a little while to make and require a few appointments.
Bridges or Partials:
These days we much prefer to replace missing teeth with implants. In the event, an implant is not an option, patients can still have a functioning bite. A bridge is much like a crown except it uses two teeth as an anchor to replace a tooth or teeth in between them. A partial is a removable device and is sometimes a temporary fix.