Whether it be structural or cosmetic, damage to your teeth can cause pain and discomfort. Greenville Family Dentistry offers a variety of tooth restoration techniques to correct issues ranging from cavities to chipped or fractured teeth.
What Is Tooth Restoration?
Tooth restorations or dental restorations are the different ways that we can bring your teeth back to optimal health, whether by replacing or restoring missing teeth or missing parts of the tooth structure. Tooth structure can be missing for numerous reasons such as decay, tooth fracture or deterioration. Examples of dental restorations include the following:
- Removing tooth decay
- Placing a filling
- Repairing broken teeth
- Restoring missing teeth
Removing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay begins when the hard, protective top layer of the tooth – called enamel – breaks down, which creates pockets of decay on the tooth’s surface.
One of the biggest causes of tooth decay is sugary, sticky foods and beverages. If these sugars get trapped between the teeth and are not fully removed with brushing and flossing, they can combine with the bacteria in plaque. The plaque bacteria generate acidic byproducts that eat away at the tooth enamel, slowly creating holes in the teeth called cavities. Without treatment, these cavities can grow larger and larger, potentially even destroying the entire tooth.
In order to fix a cavity, most dentists will place a filling. However, the cavity in the tooth still contains the bacteria that created it, so it’s necessary for the decay to be removed. During a filling procedure, we will clean away the decay inside of the hole – usually with a drill – before filling it in. Removing this decay prevents further damage from occurring, but it doesn’t fix what has already happened.
Placing a Filling
Dental cavities are commonly caused by a high sugar and acidic diet, but they can also be caused by bacteria, poor oral hygiene and an individual’s own susceptibility to tooth decay. If left untreated, cavities will spread and cause more complex problems that require advanced attention, so it is important to get them fixed as soon as possible.
Materials used for fillings vary depending on the type of damage being repaired, which tooth needs the filling and the specific budget of each patient. Our practice offers composites, glass ionomers and resin ionomers, and we will discuss the best option for you based on your unique situation.
Repairing Broken Teeth
If the tooth is too damaged for a filling to properly correct the issue, we may choose to put on a crown. A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength and overall healthy appearance.
Crowns are custom-made to fit over the specific tooth and then are permanently cemented to it. They can be made of a variety of different materials, including ceramics, porcelain-and-metal, gold or resin. In order for the crown to fit perfectly, we will first remove the outer surface of the tooth on the top and all the sides, creating enough room for the crown to fit. Then we will take an impression of the tooth, either with paste, putty or a digital scanner. This is sent to a dental laboratory where the crown is actually made.
Bridges are multiple crowns that are designed to “bridge” the gap caused by one or more missing teeth. Bridges are anchored on either side by placing crowns on the adjacent teeth and then cementing them permanently into place. Bridges are made from metal, ceramics or a combination of the two. Should you need a bridge, we will talk with you about the materials that are best for you.
Restoring Missing Teeth (Implants)
Should the damage to the tooth be too severe to save it, an option would be a dental implant. Dental implants are designed to replace the entire structure of the tooth, including the root, and are created to last a lifetime.
Different than dentures, implants utilize a titanium fixture that is surgically connected to your jawbone, replicating the function of the tooth’s root. Once the fixture and jawbone are fused together, a replacement tooth is attached. Implants offer the same strength and chewing function as real teeth and present no hindrance to normal eating or drinking.
A few other reasons why people love dental implants:
- They look, feel and function like natural teeth
- They are permanent tooth replacements
- They are anchored directly to the jaw
- They replace any number of missing teeth
- They are designed to last a lifetime
You can learn more about dental implants, including the estimated costs associated with it, in this helpful blog article called What Is the Cost of Dental Implants?
Request an Appointment
Tooth decay can cause pain and discomfort and should be taken care of right away to maintain optimal oral health. No matter how serious it is, we can address your tooth decay in a caring and compassionate way, whether it involves removing tooth decay, placing a filling, repairing broken teeth or restoring missing teeth. We even offer sedation dentistry services for those patients who are especially apprehensive about seeing the dentist. If you are interested in tooth restoration, you can request an appointment here or call (864) 877-9111 to speak with a member of our staff today.