When a tooth is compromised in some way, by a cavity, an old filling that is beginning to fail or even a crack your dentist has a number of techniques at their disposal to restore your tooth to normal function. Restorative procedures may include anything from fillings to crowns and bridges, root canals or implants.
- When a cavity is identified during a dental examination, it should not be symptomatic, meaning it should not hurt. Patients often ask, "why is a filling needed if my tooth doesn't hurt"? A cavity caught in its early stages is far from the nerve (pulp) inside a tooth and can be fixed conservatively with a filling. If a patient waits until they are experiencing sensitivity or pain, that cavity most likely has reached the nerve inside the tooth. At this point, a root canal or possibly an extraction is required. Kansas Dental Center uses tooth colored filling materials, which contain no metal, no mercury, and no BPA, in addition, they are shaded to match the color of your teeth so you wont even notice they are there!
Crowns and Bridges
- A crown is a type of restoration that fully covers the part of a tooth that can be seen above the gum line. A crown is appropriate to restore a tooth if you have little of your natural tooth structure remaining, possibly due to a large old filling, a crack, or after getting a root canal procedure on a back tooth.
- A bridge is a way in which to replace a missing tooth. This restoration serves as a "bridge" between two teeth to cover the space left by a missing tooth. A prosthetic tooth is anchored to your adjacent natural teeth, is permanent, and you can clean and maintain it like a natural tooth.
- A root canal is a procedure performed to save a tooth with an infected or damaged nerve. Often the nerve gets damaged from a very large cavity or a very deep filling, but can also be compromised by trauma (getting hit in the face) or a crack. A root canal is performed to save a tooth that would otherwise have to be extracted. The nerve is cleaned out of the inside of the tooth, and the tooth is disinfected. Following a root canal procedure on a back tooth, a crown must be placed so the tooth can be sealed and held together so it will be more resistant to breaking or becoming re-infected in the future.
- Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed in the human jaw in order to replace teeth that have been lost. The implant is able to fuse to jaw bone in order to act just like the root of a tooth and form a strong foundation. After the implant is placed, a crown will be fabricated to fit into the implant that will look, feel and function like a normal tooth! Implants can be used to replace single missing teeth, multiple missing teeth, or they can be used in conjunction with a denture to replace an entire mouth of teeth!
- Dentures are ways in which to restore missing teeth, and there are multiple types of dentures. Complete dentures entirely restore a mouth that has no remaining teeth, they utilize the remaining ridge of bone and gum tissue to hold the denture in place. Partial dentures can restore a section of missing teeth, using your remaining teeth for anchorage. Finally, dentures can be fabricated in conjunction with implants to provide additional stability to a denture, or to completely fix a denture in place so you no longer have to take it in and out!
- Grinding and clenching your teeth can cause premature wear and destruction of your teeth; untreated this can lead to dental work to fix cracked and worn teeth, or cause pain and problems with your jaw joint and associated musculature. We may recommend a night guard if excessive wear is found on your teeth during your dental exam, or it also may be appropriate if you are having jaw pain and soreness that is related to a grinding and clenching habit.
- Custom rubber mouth guards are the best way to protect your dentition from trauma that can occur during contact sports. A mould of your teeth will be taken and a comfortable custom guard that fits perfectly around your teeth will be fabricated that you can wear while playing sports.