A patient who has teeth that are damaged or missing, whether from disease, injury or other causes, is a candidate for restorative dentistry, which will restore overall mouth health and make teeth look aesthetically pleasing. Receiving proper treatment for damaged or missing teeth is essential in order to prevent further problems and eliminate difficulties with eating or speaking.
There are several restorative options available, and which ones are used depend upon the patient’s overall health and personal preference, and the doctor’s recommendation. Available restorative dental treatments include:
- Full and partial dentures
- Crowns and bridges
- Dental implants
- Mini dental implants
- Inlays and onlays
- Full-mouth reconstruction
Each type of dental restoration has its own benefits. To complete a full-mouth restoration, several treatments may be combined.
In the past, dental cavities were filled with a mixture of metal alloys, also known as amalgam. Today, tooth-colored or composite fillings are a mixture of resin, glass or quartz and porcelain ceramics. These materials are resilient and long lasting. These fillings are colored to match the patient’s teeth and are practically invisible to the untrained eye. For aesthetic and/or medical purposes, these tooth-colored fillings can be used to replace old and worn dental amalgam, gold or other metal fillings.
While composite fillings have visual advantages, over time they can become discolored. Just like metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings can be set and cured in one visit to the dentist.
Tooth-colored fillings are priced similarly to metallic alloy. They are not as long-lasting as amalgam fillings, and may chip in certain locations of the mouth. The dentist will discuss filling material options and recommend options based on the patient’s medical and aesthetic needs.
Veneers are very thin, tooth-colored shells of ceramic that are custom-fit and bonded to the front of the teeth. They can create a white, even, and attractive smile. Veneers make it possible to correct a variety of problems, including:
- Spaces between the teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Yellowing or stains
- Misshapen or crooked teeth
- Small holes or pits in teeth
- Uneven or undersized teeth
A veneer placed on top of a tooth can quickly and easily help achieve a beautiful smile. Although some veneers are designed to be removable, most are permanent and are bonded very tightly to the tooth they are protecting. The advancements in technology have improved bonding agents to the point where some types of veneers may last for 20 years or more.