A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged (by decay, chip, or fracture) back to its normal function and shape. At Twin Creeks Dentistry PLLC, we will remove any rotted-out portions of the teeth, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain or a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings).
Which Type of Filling is Best?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, and where in your mouth the filling is needed. Considerations for different materials include:
- Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and generally from three to 10 years.
- Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated in two ways: through root canal therapy (in which the damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which attempts to keep the nerve alive).
How do I know if I need a Filling?
Sometimes a cavity is easy to see, such as a black spot on your tooth. But what about small cracks in your teeth? Only your dentist can truly determine whether you need a filling. During a thorough examination, we will use diagnostic tools to examine all the surfaces of each tooth. Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Part of this process is to take a digital x-ray of the area of concern to determine if there is decay between teeth or below the gum line to ensure the entire area is treated right the first time. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay, chip, or fracture.
Dental crowns are a secure way to fill gaps and help restore your smile if you have missing or damaged teeth. A crown can also help you bite and chew better, which can positively impact other systems in your body, such as a your digestive system. Twin Creeks Dentistry PLLC offers a variety of handcrafted crown styles. Your dentist will help you determine what crown is best for you based on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and your body chemistry.
According to the American Dental Association:
What is a crown?
A crown is a cover or “cap” your dentist can put on a tooth. The crown restores the tooth to its normal shape, size and function. The purpose of a crown is to make the tooth stronger or improve the way it looks.
Why do I need a crown?
You may need a crown if you:
- Have a cavity that is too large for a filling.
- Have a missing tooth and need a bridge.
- Need to cover a dental implant.
- Have a tooth that is cracked, worn down or otherwise weakened.
- Have had root canal treatment—the crown will protect the restored tooth.
- Want to cover a discolored or badly shaped tooth and improve your smile!
What is it made from?
Crowns are made from several types of materials. Metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, composite resin, or combinations of these materials may be used. In the process of making a crown, the material often is colored to blend in with your natural teeth. Your dentist wants to create a crown that looks natural and fits comfortably in your mouth. To decide on the material for your crown, your dentist will consider the tooth location, the position of the gum tissue, the patient’s preference, the amount of tooth that shows when you smile, the color or shade of the tooth, and the function of the tooth.
How is a crown placed?
Several steps are involved, and two dental visits are generally needed to complete the treatment.
- The dentist prepares the tooth by removing its outer portion so the crown will fit. Any decay is also removed. If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown, the dentist may build up the core of the tooth.
- An impression is made to provide an exact model for the crown.
- You will get a temporary crown while you wait for the permanent crown to be ready— usually less than two weeks. While you have the temporary crown, this tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold. Also, avoid chewing gum or sticky foods during this time.
- The dentist or a laboratory technician then uses the model to help make the crown.
- When the new crown is ready, the dentist places it in your mouth and makes the necessary adjustments. When you and your dentist are satisfied with how it looks and feels, the crown is cemented in place.
CARING FOR YOUR TEETH
To prevent damage to a crown, there are a few things you can do:
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. Look for oral care products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Products that display the Seal have met the American Dental Association’s standards for safety and effectiveness.
- Avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects, such as pencils. This is especially important for tooth colored crowns.
- Be sure to see your dentist for regular exams and professional teeth cleanings.