Maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile takes work. For most patients, this may require some type of restorative dentistry. At Riverstone Family Dentistry, we offer restorative services designed to fix problematic teeth or replace missing teeth. These services include fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, implants, inlays and onlays, tooth extraction, and root canal therapy. If you are in need of any of these restorative treatments, we can help!
Fillings are used in order to treat cavities and to restore the areas of a tooth that have been damaged by decay. Traditionally, fillings have been done with amalgam. However, amalgam is silver-colored and highly visible. We use both silver (amalgam) and tooth-colored (composite) materials to fill the holes in after removing the decay. For decay in your front teeth, composite dental fillings are a much better alternative and are used in order to allow your front teeth to appear as natural as possible. They are durable, able to withstand normal biting forces, and they perfectly blend into the rest of your teeth. Since silver fillings tend to be stronger, they are typically recommended for filling in cavities of the molars.
A conventional dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over a damaged tooth. There are several reasons we may recommend a dental crown. We may recommend a dental crown if you have a weak tooth that needs protection from breaking, or if you have a broken tooth that needs restoration. If you need to cover and support a tooth that lost a large filling, want to cover a discolored or misshapen tooth, or would like to make a cosmetic modification, these are also great reasons to opt for a dental crown.
The procedure is similar to a dental bridge, only differing in the number of teeth that are reshaped. After you receive your crown, you will be able to treat it just like a natural tooth. Be sure to implement the proper brushing and flossing techniques to avoid future complications - brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Under the proper care, your dental crown should last between five and 15 years.
Dental bridges are designed to replace one to three consecutive missing teeth. Made from ceramic, the replacement teeth are set between two crowns. The crowns anchor on to the adjacent healthy teeth, holding the bridge in place. The bridge acts to restore missing teeth, maintain the health of your mouth, and prevent your adjacent teeth from shifting.
Once you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth may move out of their proper position to compensate for the open space. A traditional dental bridge is meant to hold your surrounding teeth in place after you have lost one or more teeth. The appliance consists of a single pontic, or replacement tooth, suspended between two dental crowns. Traditional bridges also restore your bite, improve aesthetics, and help keep the natural shape of your face.
During the procedure, Joseph Kim, DDS will remove a significant amount of enamel and completely reshape the two surrounding teeth. Once the teeth are reshaped, we will take a mold or impression of the area. Over the next two to four weeks, our laboratory technicians will use the impression to fabricate your final bridge. Once the bridge is complete, we will permanently bond it to the surrounding teeth.
Dentures are a traditional method for replacing missing teeth. They can replace sections of missing teeth (partials) or all of your teeth (full dentures). Made from molds of your mouth, prosthetic teeth are set into an acrylic base. They are supported by your gums and held in place by suction. Dentures are removable and meant to be taken out each night.
Partial dentures are used to replace multiple teeth. Unlike a dental bridge, they are a removable prosthetic. Full dentures are used to replace an entire arch of teeth. Today, dentures can be retained with more than adhesive or suction, we can attach your denture with a firm hold using dental implants.
Dental implants are a relatively recent development in tooth replacement technology and are one of the best methods of tooth replacement now available. They involve a surgical procedure in which small titanium rods are implanted into your jaw bone and act the same way the root of a tooth would. As you heal, your jawbone fuses with the implant, which then becomes a support for your replacement tooth.
There are many advantages of implants over traditional tooth replacement alternatives, but the biggest is that the implant helps to preserve the integrity of your jawbone. Dental implants also give you the ability to eat and speak exactly as you would with your normal teeth and they are permanent! We have the ability to offer single tooth or multiple tooth replacement options using the help of dental implants.
Inlays and Onlays
An inlay can be used to repair a cavity or even replace part of the top of a tooth. If a tooth has damage between its cusps, an inlay can be used to repair it. While inlays were once made out of gold, today we use a more modern material such as ceramic, porcelain, or resin. This makes the inlay blend in better, and most people will not even notice it. Inlays can help make a tooth more durable in addition to its cosmetic purposes. That is because the glue used to attach the inlay to the tooth holds the tooth together. Due to this glue, an inlay also may last longer than a traditional filling.
An onlay is used to replace a lost cusp on one of your back teeth. The cusp is what helps these molars chew and grind food. Onlays are attached to the tooth using the same glue as inlays, and just like with inlays, this glue does help make the tooth stronger and more durable. An onlay is more like a crown than it is a filling, though it does not cover the full tooth. Onlays can also be known as partial crowns because of this.
When a tooth is subjected to damage, we consider every restorative option to allow it to stay in place. However, if no option is available to save the tooth, we will extract it.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to save a tooth. If a tooth is damaged or decayed beyond repair, we may need to perform a tooth extraction. In some cases, we may need to perform multiple tooth extractions to make way for restoration, usually dentures. Once we remove multiple teeth, there may be a brief healing period before we can install a tooth replacement. The type of appliance you receive depends on your circumstance.
Root Canal Therapy
When decay reaches the inner portion of a tooth there is often only one way to save the tooth – a root canal. Root canals allow us to avoid having to extract a tooth due to decay so that you don’t have to worry about more expensive tooth replacement options. A standard procedure that we can accomplish in our office in a short amount of time, root canals offer a wonderful value.
Joseph Kim, DDS will always try to save a tooth before we recommend extraction or removal. One way to accomplish this goal is with root canal therapy. Inside of each tooth exists a pulpy material that contains nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. During a root canal, we remove any damaged or diseased pulp from the canals to prevent the spread of infection. Once the root canal is complete, we usually need to cap the tooth with a dental crown.
Schedule Your Consultation!
To learn more about any of the various restorative treatments we provide here at Riverstone Family Dentistry, call (360) 718-8304, and schedule a consultation appointment today!