Types of restorations
When your teeth need restoration, we can choose from several different types, including-
Restorations seal out bacteria and restore the look and shape of the tooth. The type we recommend depends on how strong the tooth is and how much tooth structure has been lost.
FillingsBoth amalgam and composite resin fillings usually can be placed directly into the tooth in a single appointment. They work well to restore the tooth when only a small amount of tooth structure has been lost. But when a tooth has suffered more extensive damage, there may not be enough structure remaining to hold a filling in place without risk of breaking the tooth.
CrownsCrowns completely cover the top and sides of a tooth, protecting it and restoring its shape and function. We may choose a crown when a lot of tooth structure has been lost. A crown is a good option when the tooth is weak, has had root canal therapy, is under a lot of stress from heavy biting forces, or is cracked or broken off at the gumline. Crowns are custom crafted to precisely fit your tooth, and then they are placed in a separate step. They may take two or more appointments to complete.
Inlays and onlays
When a tooth needs more than a filling but less than a crown, we may recommend an inlay or onlay. Both of these restorations may take two or more appointments. An inlay fills in the area lost to tooth decay, usually in the grooves between the cusps of the biting surface of the tooth. We might choose an inlay over a filling when we need to use a stronger material or when a more durable restoration is needed.
An onlay is more like a crown because it covers both the grooves and one or more of the cusps. We might choose an onlay over a crown when the biting surface of the tooth needs to be restored, but much of the tooth structure is still strong and healthy.
Resin fillings are a great way to restore your teeth. Because they bond directly to teeth, they provide the added strength that damaged teeth need to withstand frequent biting pressure. Also, we can match the color of the resin to your teeth to preserve your beautiful, natural-looking smile.
We want the entire procedure to be comfortable for you, so the first thing we do is make sure that the tooth and surrounding area are thoroughly numb. Depending on the size of the filling and which tooth are restoring, we may also use a rubber dam. A rubber dam is a small, flexible rubber sheet that isolates the teeth we are restoring and prevents anything from falling to the back of your throat.
The dental handpiece is used to remove the decay and shape the tooth. Then we apply a gel that chemically roughens the tooth surface to ensure a stronger bond with the resin filling. To mold the resin to the shape of the tooth, we first surround the tooth with a thin, flexible band. A small wooden wedge between the teeth holds the band snugly in place. Once we've placed the resin in the tooth, a high-intensity light is used to harden the restoration.
The final steps involve smoothing and polishing the restoration. We then check your bite with colored tape to insure that your teeth are coming together correctly. Instructions are then given to brush and floss around every tooth to help keep your teeth plaque-free and healthy.
When a tooth needs a restoration, we often use CAD/CAM technology. The letters "CAD/CAM" stand for "computer aided design” and "computer aided manufacturing". We can use this technology to custom-design and fabricate tooth-colored restorations, crowns, onlays, inlays, or veneers, all in one appointment. CAD/CAM restorations are often the best choice for a healthy, beautiful, and natural looking smile.
The benefits of CAD/CAM restorationCAD/CAM restoration have several advantages
- They are very accurate.
- Only a minimal amount of tooth preparation is needed, leaving more of the healthy tooth structure intact.
- They usually require only one appointment, even when we are working on more than one tooth.
- The restorations are made of tooth colored materials.
The first step is to numb the area to make you comfortable. Depending on the situation, we may also use a rubber dam to protect your mouth while we work.
We remove any decay and shape the tooth with the handpiece. Next a reflective powder is applied to the prepared tooth. This allows the equipment to "see" the contours of the prepared tooth.
We then take a digital image, using a special optical infrared camera that records the tooth's exact dimensions on the CAD/CAM computer. Using this image and the specialized computer software, we carefully design the restoration.
We then select the appropriate material in the matching shade for your specific tooth. This material is placed in the milling machine which shapes it into a custom-fitted restoration.
We then try in the new restoration. We add any custom coloring as needed, bond or cement the restoration in place, and polish it to a beautiful luster. Last we check you bite and make any final adjustments.
If you are thinking of delaying treatment, you should know that tooth decay will never go away on its own. It grows slowly while its still in the hard enamel, but if decay is allowed to reach the softer inner dentin, it grows much more quickly, allowing bacteria to infect the pulp chamber. If this happens, you will need root canal therapy to save the tooth. That is why we will recommend treating the tooth as soon as possible.