Almost everyone will experience tooth decay at some point in his or her life. Swift detection and correction of tooth decay can minimize the significant expenses and inconveniences associated with more serious problems caused by tooth decay. Restorative dentistry treats all phases of tooth decay, from simple cavity fillings to entire tooth replacements
When the enamel of the tooth has become too weak, small holes will start to develop in the actual tooth. If this is the case, your dentist must fix the problem or else it will become worse. It is likely that
your dentist will recommend a filling.
Fillings are placed when dentists remove all the damaged tooth and other material from the small hole. They must then fill the hole with a substance to block any future damage to that part of the tooth. Fillings are made with resins or a combination of materials to protect the tooth.
Dental crowns are a very common and popular solution to damaged or unsightly teeth. They take the form of a tooth-shaped ‘hat’ that sits over the problem tooth, encasing it entirely right down to the gum line. Crowns are an ideal way to restore the strength, shape, size and overall appearance of any damaged teeth.
Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials including metal, porcelain fused to metal and 100% porcelain/ceramic. This means that there is usually at least one type of crown that is suitable for every patient.
Crowns are usually only given to adult patients. Your dentist may recommend a crown as the best course of action if:
You have a broken or severely worn down tooth.
You have a cracked tooth that needs to be held together.
If you have a severely weak tooth that is at risk of breaking.
If you are also having a dental bridge,
as crowns can help hold them in place.
If you have a tooth that requires a larger filling than is possible (usually due to broken/eroded parts of the tooth).
To cover a dental implant.
If you have a discoloured tooth.
If your tooth is severely misshapen.
Occasionally a dentist may recommend a crown for infant/first teeth. This is usually because:
The child has a first tooth that is decayed beyond the treatment of a
normal filling and a crown is the best option to protect it.
The child is, for whatever reason, unable to complete or withstand
proper oral care techniques, putting them at a much higher risk
of tooth decay and its associated problems.
There are many different treatments available for badly damaged or decayed teeth, but unfortunately sometimes a tooth is beyond repair, leaving an unsightly gap in your smile. Gaps between your teeth can seriously knock your confidence, and can even have a negative impact on the functionality of your other teeth and the overall use of your mouth. This is due to the fact that after time, your remaining teeth can take advantage of the space to shift around slightly, causing misalignment and a range of other associated dental problems.
Dental bridges fill the gap where the missing tooth would have been. They do this using a false tooth, which looks and feels just like the real thing. The false tooth also holds the remaining teeth either side in place so that they don’t shift into the space.
Dental bridges are comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap. These act as anchors for the false tooth/teeth that will fill the gap. Once your dental bridge is in place, it should be virtually imperceptible. The anchored teeth are often referred to as abutment teeth and the false teeth are often called pontics.
The pontics can be made from a number of different materials including metal alloys, gold or porcelain, depending on what cosmetic finish you want to achieve. If you choose porcelain, they can be color-matched to your existing teeth so that they look completely natural.
There are a number of benefits of having dental bridge. They can:
Prevent your remaining teeth from shifting position.
Help you bite and/or chew properly.
Correct your bite.
Properly align your jaw.
Maintain the shape of your face.
Give you a great smile.
There are three main varieties of dental bridge, and the type your dentist recommends will vary depending on where in your mouth the missing teeth are located.
A traditional bridge is the most commonly recommended treatment for missing teeth. It involves creating crowns to go on the teeth either side of the gap which act as anchors for the pontic which sits in-between them. Traditional bridges are usually made from porcelain that has been fused to ceramic or metal.
Also sometimes referred to as a Maryland bonded bridge, this type of bridge can be created in a variety of material including porcelain fused to metal, complete porcelain or sometimes plastic teeth and gums that are supported by a porcelain or metal framework. The wings found on each side of the bridge, usually made from metal or porcelain, are securely bonded to your natural teeth.
Cantilever bridges are used when there are only existing teeth that can be used as anchors on one side of the gap. In the past there have been problems with cantilever bridges being used in the back of the mouth as they were found to exert too much pressure on the anchor tooth, causing damage and even breakages.
Nothing quite strikes fear into the heart of dental patients like the words ‘root canal treatment’. When the blood or nerve supply of a tooth (often known as the ‘pulp’) becomes damaged through injury, infected or decayed, it can cause the nerve of the tooth to die. Year ago this would have meant a certain need to remove the tooth before the whole area became infected. However, thanks to root canal treatment it is now possible to save teeththat are at risk from damaged pulp.
Infections spread fast and this is particularly true in our mouths which are moist and warm and a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to spread. An infection that starts in the pulp can quickly spread through the root canal system, and if left untreated could grow to form an abscess. If this happens then bacteria-filled pus will collect under the gums, causing them to swell and become hot and potentially extremely painful. At this point your dentist will need to prescribe you with a course of oral antibiotic and it may be necessary to remove the tooth altogether.
The key aim of root canal treatment is to remove all of the infection from the root canal and save the original tooth.
When you consider that fear of the dentist is an almost universal phenomenon, it is unsurprising that tales of dental treatment are often embellished beyond recognition. In fact, root canal should be no more painful than having an ordinary filling done.
Root canal treatment is quite a complex process and will normally require two or occasionally three visits to your dentist.
During your first treatment your dentist will remove the infected pulp and drain away any bacteria or pus that may be present. He/she will then clean the rootand shape it ready to receive a filling that should help prevent it getting infected in the future. A temporary filling will be put in at this time and the root canal will be given some time to heal.
Usually around a week later you will go for your follow-up visit during which your dentist will ensure that the infection is completely gone. Your tooth is then able to receive a permanent filling.
Your dentist may suggest giving the affected tooth a crown. This is because teeth that have received root canal treatment become weaker and more brittle, and so a crown can provide extra resilience against fractures and chips.
After your root canal treatment your mouth may be sore for a few days. During this time try to limit your diet to soft foods, don’t smoke and avoid alcohol. Once your root canal treatment is complete you will be able to look after your tooth just by following a comprehensive oral healthcare plan that includes twicedaily brushing, daily flossing and mouthwash use.
Occasionally a tooth that had received root canal treatment would darken a few shades. This is now a rarity, but should there be any discoloration then speak to your dentist who will be able to suggest a treatment that will lighten the tooth back to a more natural color that is in keeping with your original teeth.