Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry
Restorative dentistry usually implies restoration of damaged teeth. It could be a filling, an inlay or a crown. Fillings could be esthetic ( tooth coloured) or amalgam. Even though not esthetic, amalgam restorations in some cases provide a better alternative as they are more resistant to wear. Read more on cosmetic dentistry in the separate chapter below.
White or tooth coloured fillings are highly esthetic. When the shade match is good, they are practically invisible. The placement technique is more complicated then that of amalgam (metal) fillings and involves etching, bonding and use of curing light. As composite (white) restorations are sensitive to moisture, an excellent moisture control is critical during their placement.
If you want to improve your smile, porcelain veneers may be the best solution. They are very thin shells of highly esthetic ceramic material that are individually built for your teeth. When carefully bonded, they conceal gaps, imperfections, stains, chips etc., creating a perfect smile. Porcelain does not stain, so you can be sure that your smile will be as bright in 10 or 20 years as it is when the work is just finished.
Crowns and Bridges
When a tooth is badly damaged by decay, broken or heavily restored, a crown ( a cap) is needed to prevent a loss of that tooth. Crowns are made of metal, porcelain or a combination of the two.
Bridges are indicated when one or more teeth are missing. The teeth in front and behind the gap are used as abutments ( supports) and the missing tooth is ” suspended” between them, much like in a regular bridge.
Dental implants are considered when a patient is missing one or several teeth. Essentially an implant is an artificial root made of high quality titanium alloy and placed within the jaw bone. It takes 4-6 months for it to integrate and become one with the bone. Then, a restorative phase begins, when a tooth or several teeth are made and securely mounted on the Implants.
Modern day Implants have over 90% success rate.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy or endodontics is a way to save a tooth, that became compromised due to decay, trauma or infection. In many cases there is discomfort, but in others, it’s the dentist who discovers the problem and suggests the treatment.
Root canal therapy consists of cleaning the canals inside the tooth and obturating (sealing) the system of canals to prevent re-occurrence infection. In many cases, a crown is recommended after the treatment as the tooth becomes more brittle and prone to breakage.
When a tooth is broken beyond repair, it may be necessary to extract (remove) it. Good local anesthesia is usually sufficient for a painless extraction. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, some extractions are better done by an oral surgeon. In any case, it is essential to follow post operative instructions, to minimize chances of complications.
When several teeth are missing, it may be advisable to restore the chewing function by replacing them with artificial teeth. Implants would be the first choice, but if for whatever reason it isn’t possible, a removable prosthesis is fabricated by the dentist with the help of a laboratory technician. Dentures can be partial ( when there are some natural teeth remaining in the mouth) or complete. A well-made denture can restore patient’s function (chewing, speech) and greatly improve the appearance. After the denture is delivered, there is an adjustment period that requires patience and motivation to make it work.
Periodontics (Treatment of Gum Disease)
Gum health is just as important as the dental health. Periodontal (gum) disease is the second major cause of tooth loss in humans. It is important to detect the early signs of it and treat it in a timely manner. At regular recall appointments, the dentist or the dental hygienist examines the gums and measures periodontal pocket depth. Regular radiographs (x-rays) are also helpful in early detection of gum disease. The patient’s oral hygiene practices ( brushing, flossing and use of special tools) play a crucial role in prevention and treatment of this condition.
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