When you visit your dentist, usually it tends to be for preventative reasons, or for routine treatments such as fillings, or maybe even cosmetic purposes. However, if you have experienced damage to your teeth, you’re going to need restorative dentistry. There is more than one option when it comes to filling any gaps in your smile, however. Each has its own advantages, disadvantages, and applications. Here, we’re going to look at a few of them.
One of the more common and less expensive treatments. Dental veneers are commonly used for teeth that are damaged but don’t need to be removed. Effectively, the dentist marks the tooth with grooves and then uses an adhesive that allows the veneer to bond to it and slip over it like a cover. The veneer itself is a thin porcelain shell that is designed to look like a real and natural tooth. They are not able to treat all kinds of dental damage, however, and crowns or even implants may be recommended given the extent of the issue.
For issues that are mostly surface level, such as a chipped or a cracked tooth, then there is a simple treatment called cosmetic bonding. Teeth bonding is a treatment that involves the dentist using a tooth-colored composite resin that is applied to your teeth in order to repair superficial damage or, in some cases, to treat discoloration. It’s one of the cheapest forms of restorative dentistry out there and it is also one of the quickest restorative treatments, to the point that it requires no anesthesia (unless there is a filling being delivered at the same time), though it is even more limited in the forms of damage that it can treat.
Crowns are artificial replacement teeth that entirely cover the surface of the tooth. A dental crown, also known as a cap, is typically made out of porcelain, the material that best looks like natural teeth, and is made to match the natural shape, size, and color of your teeth. The process is a little more involved, typically involving reducing the damaged underlying tooth to fit the crown on top. However, it is a permanent solution, only needing to be replaced if it comes loose and is lost.
A dental bridge is much like a crown. However, instead of being a single artificial tooth made of porcelain, it is multiple that are put in that the same time. There are different kinds of bridges available. Some of them involve placing two crowns atop pre-existing teeth with a middle crown that replaces an entirely missing tooth, with a connecting bridge between them to hold them all in place. There are also bridges that are connected using resin to bond the newly added teeth to existing teeth. Talk to your dentist about which kind of bridge might be suited your needs.
An implant is a specific way to replace missing teeth, but the terminology can be confusing as an implant can have a crown attached to it, or it can have dentures attached to it, for instance. The implant itself is a metal post that is implanted not into an existing tooth but, instead, to your jawbone, where it is given time to fuse in place. Then, artificial teeth such as crowns and dentures can be fitted to the implant with a composite resin. This typically helps crowns and dentures be a lot more firmly stuck in place than other ways of putting them in.
While once the most common way to replace teeth that were entirely missing, dentures have been somewhat superseded by crowns, bridges, and implants. However, if you have missing teeth as well as damaged gum tissue, or you do not have enough jawbone to support a dental implant, then traditional dentures can still be very effective. Even at that stage, it’s important to have replacement teeth as they can help you preserve your facial structure, as well as making it easier to speak clearly and eat more foods without trouble.
It’s important to know that, whatever the damage, your dentist is going to have options for you. What’s more, they can help you with the decision-making process, helping you figure out which of the options above (or others) might be best for you for any given problem. If you have damaged teeth, the sooner you start getting their input, the better. A broken or chipped tooth is a dental emergency and it should be treated like one.