General and restorative dentistry aims to give you a smile that is not only beautiful but functional as well. If you have damaged or missing teeth (due to trauma, decay, illness, fracture, or deterioration of a previous restoration), you don’t have to live with the embarrassment. In fact, not replacing missing teeth can lead to bone degeneration that can compromise your jaw and adjacent teeth.
Types of Dental Restoration
Modern dental restoration offers various options for repairing worn, decayed, damaged, or missing teeth, restoring a healthy and radiant smile. Depending on your specific needs, your dentist may perform one of two types of dental restorations:
Immediate filling placement in a prepared tooth cavity, often completed in a single office visit.
Customized tooth replacements in the form of crowns, covering the entire chewing surface.
Root Canal Treatment
The dental pulp is the soft tissue inside the canal or channel that runs through the root of your tooth. The dental pulp consists mainly of blood vessels, tissue fibers, and some nerve fibers. The main function of the dental pulp is to regulate the growth and development of the tooth during childhood. Once the tooth is fully formed, nutrition for the tooth comes from the tissues surrounding the root.
Crown & Bridge
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape, or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function.
Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large filling when there is not enough tooth remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
A bridge may be recommended if you are missing one or more teeth.
Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite.
The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJD) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide
If you have one or more teeth that are missing, having a dental implant might be an option for replacing them. In general, a dental implant might be suitable if you:
- Have a fully grown, healthy jawbone.
- Don’t have gum disease.
- Don’t have conditions that affect bone healing.
Dental implants can also be used to hold a dental bridge or dentures in place.
Routine extractions may be needed to resolve various dental problems that require one or more teeth to be extracted as a part of the treatment. Teeth may need to be extracted when it becomes difficult to restore or maintain them in the mouth. You may need to be referred to a specialist for treatment.
Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to and will never feel exactly the same as your natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural-looking and more comfortable than ever.