Before your doctor can formulate a treatment plan, the nature of your problem must be diagnosed. Your doctor uses mechanical, radiographic, and visual techniques to analyze your teeth’s surfaces. These techniques may include x-rays and digital images. Most restorative procedures can be performed with minimal sedation, but more complex treatments may require heavier sedation and the services of a specialist like a maxillofacial surgeon, prosthodontist, or endodontist. Simple restorative procedures may be done in just one visit, where more extensive procedures may require several visits. The main goal is to restore your teeth and gums with minimal discomfort and anxiety. At your initial visit the doctor will examine, diagnose, and decide which treatment option is best.
Once your doctor has examined and diagnosed you they have a variety of treatment options. Here are some of the most common treatments used in restorative dentistry today.
- Fillings – Fillings may be dental amalgam (traditional metal fillings), gold, composite resin, or porcelain. Composite and porcelain fillings can match the color and shape of your teeth which make them an excellent choice for restorations. Amalgam fillings are normally used for back teeth and molars since they can withstand the pressures of chewing although composite fillings can also be used in back teeth and molars.
- Veneers – Veneers are very thin shells placed onto the surface of your teeth. They are used to repair cracked, chipped, uneven, or damaged teeth. Veneers can be fabricated to match your natural tooth color, or to improve it. Your doctor places the thin porcelain shells onto your teeth and then bonds them with cement or a special light. Veneers can last many years.
- Crowns and Bridges – Crowns are used to restore chipped, cracked, and damaged teeth. They are also used in dental treatments such as root canals to protect the affected tooth. Most crowns are fabricated from porcelain or ceramic and once in place look just like your natural tooth.
Bridges are used to replace one or more teeth. They consist of one or more crowns which are attached to adjacent teeth. Bridges are usually permanent, but some can be removed depending on your condition.
- Implant – An implant replaces a damaged or diseased tooth. A titanium screw is placed in the jawbone and the replacement crown is then attached to the implant.
- Inlay – An inlay is a cemented restoration which restores up to three surfaces of the tooth. They can be made of porcelain, ceramic, or gold.
- Onlay – This dental restoration restores the chewing surfaces and sides of your teeth in the back of your mouth. Onlays are made of the same materials as inlays.
- Bonding – Also known as composite bonding, this restoration is used to lengthen your front central teeth or reshape teeth.
These are just some of the restorative procedures your doctor can use to repair and improve your smile. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today.