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Restorative dentistry focuses on treating damaged teeth and restoring your beautiful smile. Due to medical reasons and environmental factors, our teeth can get damaged or simply not erupt at all. Some genetic disorders, such as hypodontia and anodontia, can hamper the development and growth of our teeth, leading to missing teeth. Poor oral health and hygiene or accidents can also damage or break our teeth. Tooth decay and broken teeth require special restorative treatments to prevent further damage and tooth loss.
Depending on the cause and extent of tooth damage, your dentist will recommend one of these restorative dentistry procedures to treat your damaged teeth and restore your smile.
Dental or tooth fillings are used to treat cavities or tooth decay. Due to poor oral health and hygiene, the protective hard layer on our teeth, known as enamel, gets eroded. The erosion of enamel allows acid-producing bacteria to attack our teeth and create holes in them. These holes in our teeth are known as cavities. Untreated cavities can decay our teeth completely, leading to premature tooth loss. To treat cavities, dentists use a composite bonding mixture to fill the holes in our teeth. This mixture is the same color as our teeth. Prior to filling the holes with this mixture, your dentist will clean your damaged teeth thoroughly. This cleaning process ensures that all the food residue, decaying matter, and bacteria have been removed. The white composite mixture will protect your damaged teeth from further decay.
When a patient has severe tooth decay or the enamel has been eroded completely, the dentist will recommend fixing a dental crown on top of the damaged tooth. A dental crown is like a small cap that is the same shape, size, and color as your tooth. Your dentist will first clean your damaged tooth to remove the decaying matter, dirt, food debris, and bacteria. A custom-made dental crown will be fixed on top of your damaged tooth with the help of a dental adhesive to prevent further damage and decay.
Dental bridges are used to treat missing teeth. Dental bridges are false teeth that are fixed on the teeth to replace two or more missing teeth. In case a person has two missing teeth in a row, a custom-made dental bridge will be made from either porcelain, ceramic, or metal to bridge the gap created by missing teeth. Your teeth will be used as anchors, and on both ends, crowns will be attached to your anchor teeth. The crowns on each end will hold the bridged teeth together and in place. So, in this case, your dental bridge will have two crowns on each end and a bridge of two teeth in the middle. With the help of a dental adhesive, your dentist will fix this dental bridge on your teeth to cover the gap created by your missing teeth.
Dentures: Complete, Partial & Custom
Dentures are artificial teeth that are created to replace your missing teeth. Sometimes, especially as we age, people may lose their teeth, and a denture may be prepared to help eat and talk properly. Dentures can be made for partial teeth replacement, as well as complete teeth replacement. In case you are missing a few of your teeth and are afraid of getting a dental implant, a partial denture is a good option as you can remove them at night. Complete dentures are for those who have lost all of their teeth. Complete dentures are also removable and can be removed every night before going to bed. Denture wearers are prone to gum diseases due to the constant use of adhesives that are used to stick the dentures to the gums. Denture wearers should take special care of their oral hygiene to avoid infections.
Tooth extractions are needed when you have overcrowded teeth or a completely damaged tooth. In the case of overcrowding, the extra tooth is extracted to restore the alignment of existing teeth. In the case of a beyond-repair tooth, the damaged tooth is pulled out, and the hole is filled using composite bonding. Tooth extraction may require local anesthesia. It is a minor surgery in which your dentist will cut open your gum tissue to loosen the roots of the teeth. As the roots come loose, your tooth will be pulled out, and the hole will be covered with gauze for a few days until the wound heals.
In case of severe tooth decay, your dentist will recommend a root canal in an effort to save you from tooth loss. When the tooth decay spreads to the roots of your teeth and eats into the pulpy center of your teeth, a root canal is needed to remove the bacteria and decaying matter from the nerves that serve as the roots of your teeth. During the process, the root canals are filled with a rubber-like filling to seal the space and prevent further infections.
Inlays & Onlays
When dental cavities cannot be filled with the help of dental fillings, inlays and onlays are used to restore your teeth. Inlays and onlays can strengthen your teeth by 75%. Inlays and onlays are made from solid materials like ceramic to match the color, size, and shape of your teeth. The custom-made inlays are fitted inside the grooves of your damaged tooth, while the onlays are used to fill larger holes (cavities) that extend beyond the cusps of a tooth.
Here, at Lanier Valley Dentistry, Colin Lentz, DDS and Heather Ramsey, DDS can help you find the best restorative treatment for your damaged or missing teeth. Call us today at (678) 802-8654 to book your appointment.