Restorative and General Dentistry
1. Bonding and White Filling
Bonding/Filling is the process of filling gaps, cracks, or holes in teeth with a resin that is selected to match the affected tooth, or teeth, in color, and is commonly applied after a cavity has been removed. Upon completion, the repaired tooth will usually last for 10 years or more.
The process involves application of a composite resin to adhesive gel applied to the affected area. Once the resin has been sculpted, an ultraviolet light is used to harden the resin, which is then polished.
Dental bridges are prosthetic teeth that are attached to the teeth or dental implants surrounding a gap created by missing or extracted teeth. They’re typically made of gold, other metals, alloys, or porcelain.
The first step of the process is to create attachment points (abutments) on the surrounding teeth, where the bridge will be attached, and to re-contour the surrounding teeth to ensure that they’ll form a continuous surface with the bridge. Afterwards, a mold of the area is taken and sent to a dental lab, where they’ll create your permanent bridge.
In the meantime, we’ll fit you with a temporary bridge to protect the abutments and avoid leaving a gap in your teeth. When the permanent bridge is complete, you’ll have a follow-up visit to replace your temporary bridge. Dental bridges might take some getting used to, but will come to feel like your original teeth after a couple of days.
Crowns are essentially tooth-shaped caps fitted over teeth, and are required if a tooth is weakened, decayed beyond the help of filling or bonding, or has undergone root canal therapy. Additionally, patients may choose to receive crowns for aesthetic purposes.
At your first appointment, the tooth will be prepared for a crown, and an impression will be taken. You’ll be fitted with a temporary crown while a dental lab finishes the permanent version. Your second appointment will be a simple swap from your temporary to permanent crown.
Dentures are prosthetic teeth affixed to a gum-colored base that may be removed at will, there are three primary types:
- Conventional Full Dentures – All teeth are removed, given time to heal, and replaced with dentures.
- Immediate Full Dentures – Measurements are taken in order to create the dentures prior to the extraction. After removing all teeth, the dentures are placed immediately. While you’ll have the benefit of not having to spend any time without teeth, you’ll need some follow-up appointments to refit and tighten the dentures as your jaw bone heals.
- Partial Dentures – Partial dentures are an option when not all your teeth need to be removed, and are similar to a removable bridge.
Dentures may take some time to get used to, as the base is placed over your natural gums. Some patients say that dentures feel bulky or loose, and they may affect the way you talk or eat. Over time, however, these effects will diminish, and your dentures will begin to feel more natural.
You’ll need to brush your dentures and keep them clean of food particles, and they should be placed in room temperature water of a denture cleaning solution as soon as they’re removed. It’s important that your dentures are never placed in hot water, as this may warp or bend them. Additionally, they should never be dropped or adjusted without professional assistance.
5. Dental Implants
Dental implants are an attractive alternative to bridges in the replacement of missing or extracted teeth, as no additional teeth will require alteration. You may receive one implant or several.
The dental implant process will generally take several months, and begins with the placement of the implant. A screw will be placed in the jawbone through an incision, which is later sutured. Over the next three to six months, the jawbone will heal around the screw and anchor it in place. You may elect to have temporary crowns installed during this recovery period.
After the implant has healed, a base, or abutment, will be created, upon which your permanent crown will be placed.
Dental extraction refers to the removal of teeth. While any tooth can be extracted, wisdom teeth are the most common, as they’re at the highest risk of impaction (coming in at an angle) and other issues. Also referred to as third molars, wisdom teeth are theorized to have helped our ancestors to grind plant tissue. Over time, however, as our diets changed and our jaws got progressively smaller, we soon found ourselves without room for a third set of molars; in fact, it’s relatively common to be born without them.
Extractions can be performed on one or more teeth at a time, and begin with either a local anesthetic, which numbs the area, or general anesthetic, which renders the patient unconscious for the duration of the operation. As necessary, gum tissue will be cut to expose the tooth, which is then moved back and forth until it can be removed. Sometimes, however, a tightly impacted tooth will need to be broken into pieces prior to removal. Depending on the nature of the operation, sutures may be applied to close the area.
After the operation, it is very important to follow our post-operation instructions to ensure your recovery is as quick and easy as possible.
7. Extraction Site Preservation
It’s important to consider what you’d like to do with the empty space created by an extraction. Wisdom teeth are located in the back of the mouth, so their absence generally won’t create any issues. For other teeth, however, you may want to consider an implant or bridge.
While you can trust that your dentist will bring this up, you’re always welcome to open the conversation and we’ll be happy to help you come up with a plan.