Fillings are primarily used to repair damage to the interior of your tooth. Today we have a variety of restorative materials to choose from. The best choice for each patient depends on the location of the tooth, the extent of the tooth decay and the amount of pressure/chewing load to which the tooth will be subjected.
For example, newer ceramic and resin compounds that match your natural teeth are usually used on front teeth where appearance matters - while stronger gold, porcelain and composite/amalgam fillings are preferred for back teeth that are under more stress.
Together we can determine which material will be best in your particular situation. Then I can prepare the tooth, place the filling and adjust it in a single visit.
When only the chewing surface of your teeth are decayed, an inlay can be used to repair the damage. I remove the decay, then take an impression to create a ceramic piece that will fit perfectly into your tooth. At your next appointment it is cemented into the prepared cavity and adjusted as needed.
Like inlays, onlays are fabricated from an impression, but they are used to repair the cusps of the tooth. When only one or two of the cusps are compromised, we can often use a porcelain onlay over the damaged area instead of capping the entire tooth with a crown. At your next appointment it is cemented on to the prepared tooth and adjusted as needed.
When more than half of your entire outer tooth has been damaged by tooth decay or injury, one of the simplest and most attractive ways to strengthen and preserve it is a metal or porcelain crown. Crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth above the gum line. Porcelain is usually my recommendation because of its strength, and because its translucent quality more closely duplicates natural teeth.
Like inlays and onlays, crowns generally require two or more visits. During the first visit I will prepare the tooth, make an impression of the area to be restored and place a temporary cap over the tooth.
Your unique impression is then sent to a dental lab where your crown is sculpted just for you - so your bite and jaw movements will function naturally when the crown is cemented over the remaining portion of your tooth.
While decay is the most common cause of tooth loss, a tooth with a diseased nerve is also at risk. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, the pulp inside the tooth formed by the artery, nerve and vein can be infected by bacteria. If the infected pulp is left untreated, an abscess forms in the jaw bone causing extreme pain and swelling.
Today's advanced root canals provide a fast, painless solution. The diseased pulp is removed, and the canal(s) of the tooth are cleaned and sealed. Then, to provide a strong structure, a cast crown is usually installed. The good news is that with regular brushing and flossing your restored tooth can last a lifetime.