Tooth Restoration &
Composites

What are dental restorations?

Restorations are the various ways your dentist can replace or restore your missing teeth or missing parts of your tooth structure, or structures that need to be removed to prevent decay that may cause you pain in the future.

What kinds of problems are treated with dental restorations?

The tooth structures can be missing due to decay, deterioration (weakening) of a previously placed restoration, or fracture of your tooth. Dental restorations can fix those problems.

What are the types of dental restorations?

Examples of restorations include the following:

Fillings are the most common type of dental restoration. They fill a cavity in your teeth with gold, silver amalgam, or tooth-colored plastic and glass materials called composite resin fillings.

Crowns are a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, appearance, to hold a “bridge” (fixed partial denture) in place, or to cover a dental implant. Teeth frequently need to be reduced evenly around the tooth so that the crown will perfectly restore the size and shape of the tooth. This is a long process and may involve an impression that is sent to the lab, with a temporary filling/crown in the meantime. Some offices have technology in which a digital impression is sent to a milling machine that will fabricate a crown in the office, sometimes in one visit.

Implants are small, anchoring posts made of metal (usually of titanium or a titanium mixture) that are placed into the bone socket where teeth are missing. The implant may need an attachment called an abutment that will act like a crown preparation. It is then covered with a crown.

Bridges (fixed partial denture) are false teeth that are designed to “bridge” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Bridges can be anchored on either side by crowns and cemented permanently into place. Bridges are made from porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination. Fixed bridges are inserted and removed by a dentist.

Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Your teeth might be gone because of gum disease, tooth decay, or an injury. They are made of acrylic resin, sometimes combined with metal attachments. Complete dentures replace all the teeth. Partial dentures are considered when some natural teeth remain, and are retained by metal clasps attached to the natural teeth. There are three types of dentures: conventional, immediate and overdenture. A conventional denture is removable. It is inserted after several months once the remaining teeth are removed and the surrounding tissues have healed. An immediate denture is also removable. It is inserted the same day that the last of your teeth are removed. An overdenture is used when there are still some teeth remaining. This type of denture fits over the teeth, the remaining portions of teeth, or implants.

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TOOTH RESTORATION & COMPOSITES

If your teeth are missing, decayed, weakened or fractured, you might need a dental restoration. A composite filling is a treatment for a cavity. This type of filling uses a composite resin material to restore your oral health. Composite resin is a material made up of a mixture of different substances, including fine glass and plastic. This type of filling provides an alternative to traditional amalgam fillings. It is a tooth colored material that blends in with the color of your natural teeth, making it perfect for treating cavities affecting teeth near the front of your mouth.

There are many different factors that can impact the longevity of a composite filling. Factors include:

  • The location of the filling. Biting and chewing pressures are greater at the back of your mouth. While composite fillings are fairly strong, they may wear out faster if placed in your molars.
  • The size of the filling. Typically, smaller fillings tend to last longer because fewer issues are likely to occur.
  • If you suffer from bruxism. Bruxism is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. These actions place excessive pressure on your teeth. As a result, an amalgam filling may wear out faster.
  • What you eat and drink. Sugary or acidic foods and beverages can increase your risk of enamel erosion. This can increase the risk of problems developing with your composite fillings.
  • Your oral hygiene habits. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is essential for your oral health and the longevity of your fillings. If you neglect your oral hygiene, new decay can form around your filling, compromising it. Additionally, poor oral hygiene also increases your risk for developing cavities in your other teeth.
  • Dental techniques when placing your composite fillings. How your composite fillings are placed is essential for making sure they last. It is important that the affected tooth is properly cleaned and dried to prevent moisture and bacteria from contaminating the treatment area.

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