When decay rots away enamel, the resulting space is called a cavity. Left untreated, the decay will eventually cause extensive damage to the tooth, and potentially cause the root to be infected. However, if the cavity is caught early, your dentist can treat it with a simple filling, typically in one appointment.
Your dentist will first apply a local anesthetic, then use a drill or laser to remove the decay. Then they will apply a filling to prevent further decay, and to prevent the sensitive inner layers of the tooth from cold, heat or pressure. The filling is applied in layers and hardened with a special light. The final layers are shaped and polished to restore the tooth’s appearance and function.
Composite (plastic resin) is the modern filling material of choice in most cases. Composite fillings are more conservative in certain situations because it is bonded to the tooth; only diseased tooth structure is removed, unlike silver fillings that do not bond to the tooth requiring the removal of more tooth structure. Composite fillings are more cosmetic as the color can be blended with the tooth. Some patients are concerned because silver amalgam fillings contain small amounts of mercury. Composite fillings are completely free of mercury.
If the nerve within your tooth becomes infected, successful root canal treatment can keep you from losing the tooth while treating the infection before it causes health complications.
Properly performed, a root canal is no more uncomfortable than having a cavity filled, though the procedure is more complex. It is the removal of infected or dead pulp (the inner nerves and blood vessels) from inside the tooth, and the filling and sealing of the resulting space.
An infected (abscessed) tooth causes discomfort in the form of swelling and toothache. It can also cause severe health complications, because the bacteria from the infection can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body.
One way to treat the infection is to remove the tooth and disinfect the area. However, tooth loss creates a gap between surrounding teeth that often necessitates a dental implant or bridge. It is preferable to save the tooth if possible through root canal (endodontic) treatment.
The dentist begins by applying local anesthesia and isolating the area with a rubber dam. Then they make an opening in the tooth to access the infected pulp, and remove it and clean the area with specialized tools. The dentist fills the root space with a filling material. Finally the dentist must seal the surface of the tooth with a crown to prevent further infection, protect the tooth from fracture and restore the function and appearance of the tooth.
The root canal treatment is typically performed in one visit. A second visit may be required to complete the crown restoration.
A fixed bridge is a dental restoration that is fixed to surrounding teeth. The bridge fills (bridges) the gap left by the missing teeth, preventing the surrounding teeth from moving into the gap and becoming misaligned.
In cases where the surrounding teeth are strong enough, a bridge is an excellent solution to maintain alignment, restore function and create a beautiful smile. Your dentist can design a bridge that perfectly matches the color of the surrounding teeth, shaped to enhance your smile even more than the teeth it replaces.
Dentures are removable dental appliances that replace missing teeth and tissue. When a patient loses many or all of their teeth, dentures allow the patient to chew properly and speak normally. Dentures also support a natural-looking smile and facial structure, preventing the sunken lower facial features that can result from loss of teeth and gum tissue.
Complete dentures replace all of the teeth in an arch – the upper (maxillary) arch and/or the lower (mandibular) arch. Partial dentures replace some of the teeth, when some natural teeth remain.
Creating your perfect set of dentures may require several appointments over a period of several weeks. Your dentist will take precise molds and measurements. After the dentures are fabricated, additional fittings and adjustments may be required to ensure proper fit, function and appearance. Your dentist will also provide guidance for optimal care and cleaning.
A mouthguard, or a mouth protector, is a ?exible, important piece of athletic gear. When
worn during athletic and recreational activities, it can protect your teeth from trauma.
Facial and head injuries can be
sustained in nearly every type of athletic or recreational activity – even non-contact sports
like skateboarding and bicycling. A mouthguard can, in some cases, protect you from serious injuries such as some concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, fractures of the jaw, and some neck injuries. Mouthguards also help protect you from the most common types of injury to the mouth, cuts to the cheek and tongue, which often require oral surgery to repair.
An inlay is a custom made filling made of white composite material, gold, or tooth-coloured porcelain. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.
Inlays can be used to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. They are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed.
As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years.
Reasons for inlay restorations:
An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of white composite material, gold, or tooth-coloured porcelain. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown and sits on top of the tooth like a hat. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.
Onlays can be used to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps or points have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.
As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will often last many years.
Reasons for onlay restorations: