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Once a tooth or teeth have problems, what can be done to fix, or restore them to health?
A fixed bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth and literally “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth are missing. The restoration can be made out of gold, alloys, all porcelain, or a combination of porcelain fused to a metal substrate. It is cemented to the teeth on either side of the gap, so it can only be removed by a dentist.
Not only do bridges alleviate the stress in your bite, they also help maintain the shape of your face. Missing one or more teeth may cause a difference in your chewing and/or speaking. The success of any restoration depends on the foundation, thus it is vitally important to keep the remaining teeth healthy and strong.
If you want your smile to be your crowning glory, you may need a crown to cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and function.
A crown can:
- Make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance
- Cover and support a tooth with a larger filling when there is not much natural tooth left
- Be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that has already broken
- Cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped
- Cover a dental implant
Composite Fillings (tooth colored)
Composite resins can restore a decayed tooth or repair a defect and look just like normal tooth. Composites are composed mainly of two primary ingredients: a binder of plastic resin and a filler of finely ground glass-like particles that give them a lifelike appearance and durability.
Composite fillings provide durability and resistance to fracture in small to midsize restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure needs to be removed to prepare the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than the traditional amalgam filling. Since composites are bonded to the tooth, they can add more strength to the tooth.
Dental implants provide artificial teeth that look natural and feel secure. Implants can be used as the base for crowns or bridges, and also be used to attach full or partial dentures for more comfort and confidence. However, implants are not for everyone.
Implants require surgery, so patients must:
- Be in good health
- Have healthy gums
- Have adequate bone to support the implant
- Be committed to meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits
A thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine if you are a good candidate for implants.
An implant is first surgically placed in the bone and covered over with the gum tissue for the bone to heal around it. This can take up to six months. After integration has taken place, the implant is uncovered. The abutment is placed and an impression is taken. The crown is then made in a dental lab for Dr. Webster to cement to the abutment.
Mini implants can be used to secure complete and partial dentures. They can be placed and restored in one appointment with existing dentures.
Having an infected tooth does not mean it has to be extracted. In most cases, root canal therapy can save the tooth.
The pulp, the nerve and blood vessels that supply the tooth, runs through the center of each root of a tooth. When the pulp is diseased or injured the pulp will die.
The pulp tissue needs to be removed to avoid infection and/or the loss of the tooth. After the dentist cleans the pulp out of the root canal, the canal is sealed and filled to protect it. The tooth is then restored with a filling or a crown if it is needed.
Most of the time, root canal therapy is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort that can be done in one or two appointments. It is easier and less expensive to keep your teeth and save your smile.