Restoring a tooth damaged by decay or injury or replacing a missing tooth can have a tremendous impact on your smile’s appearance and function. With modern materials used in restorations and prosthetics, we can achieve a natural aesthetic while preserving or replacing the tooth’s structure. Additionally, with proper maintenance, these restorations can last for years, protecting your investment and your oral health.
Restorative Dental Treatments
Restorative dental treatments may include dental crowns, root canals or dental bridges, among other interventions. These treatments are used in different scenarios.
- Dental crowns: These tooth-shaped caps are bonded on top of teeth that have been affected by extensive decay, resulting in cavities that are too large to address with fillings or other more conservative restorations. Dental crowns are also placed on teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy to strengthen them. Before placing the crown, the dentist must prep the tooth by removing a thin layer of enamel to make room for the restoration.
Dental crowns may be made of a variety of materials, including composite resins, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal or metal alone. Different materials may be appropriate in different circumstances, and with porcelain and composites, the shade of the crown can be matched to the patient’s natural shade.
- Root canal therapy: Root canals are used to save a tooth when its innermost pulp is exposed to oral bacteria, raising the possibility of infection in that tissue that could ultimately destroy the tooth. In this procedure, the dentist removes infected material from the pulp chamber and then cleans out and seals the empty chamber with a rubber-like substance to prevent the bacteria from infiltrating the space again. The root canal process does make the tooth more susceptible to breakage, so it is usually fitted with a dental crown afterward for additional protection.
- Dental bridges: If a tooth has been lost, a fixed dental bridge can fill in the empty space. A dental bridge places a pontic (prosthetic crown) at the site of the missing tooth, holding it in place with crowns that are placed on the adjoining teeth. Like dental crowns, dental bridges can be tailored to blend in with the patient’s natural smile.