Preserving Teeth

What are Restorations?

Restorations are aimed at preserving the function, appearance, and life of your natural teeth. When teeth are damaged through dental caries (decay or cavities), periodontal (gum) disease, trauma (injury), or simply breakage from internal weakening, restorations can give you a reason to smile.
The phrase "nothing lasts forever" is especially true for dental restorations. While many restorations can last 10, 20, or more years, even so, they must be replaced occasionally to best protect your teeth. However, good oral hygiene and regular professional care help maintain restorations and achieve the longest possible use from them.

The importance of detecting problems early?
It is important for anyone with any type of restorations to have routine periodic checkups at recommended intervals. This assures that restorations are fully intact and still protecting the underlying tooth as needed.
In many cases, you will not feel any symptoms of leakage under a restoration until damage has advanced to a critical level. You should suspect underlying problems if you experience dull or sharp pain when chewing (either every time or off and on). Early identification and treatment of caries beneath restorations can save your teeth.

Other reasons that Restorations need to be replaced...
In addition to underlying decay, sometimes restorations need to be replaced for cosmetic reasons; the material used previously may become badly discolored. Cement used to adhere crowns or other types of restorations can dissolve over time, causing a loosening of the crown. Additionally, pulp disease may require the removal of old restorations to gain access for treatment of the tooth.
Natural aging may change teeth or the surrounding structures enough to require replacement of restorations to either improve your "bite" or to save your teeth.
Sometimes old restorations must be replaced because they simply may be worn out, and the underlying tooth jeopardized.

Types of Restorations commonly used
The most popular restorative materials are gold, silver amalgam, composite resin, and porcelain. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist will choose the best material for your particular dental situation.

When decay creates a cavity in the tooth, the dentist usually fills it with a durable material. It can be gold, composite resin (tooth colored plastic or a metal called amalgam).

Composite resin
A tooth-colored resin material bonded to the tooth surface that may be used for tooth-colored fillings, to cover stain, and to rebuild or change a tooth's shape.

Silver amalgam
Even though they may not be as cosmetically appealing as tooth-colored restorations, silver amalgam restorations have proven to have a high degree of durability.

Fixed bridge
An appliance that remains fixed in the mouth and is used to replace missing teeth.

A crown is a cover for a tooth that has been weakened by decay or by recurrent fillings. It may also be required after Root Canal treatment or when a tooth is broken or cracked. It fits over a specially shaped tooth base and is usually made of gold, ceramic, or a combination of materials. And normally last from 5 to 20 years.

Full and partial dentures
Dental appliances that are removable and serve to replace all or some natural teeth.

Ceramic laminate veneers are all white, thin ceramic shells, which fit precisely onto the faces of prepared anterior teeth. Like bonding, veneers are used to cover up discoloration, cracks and chipping, and to change the shape or size of your teeth. Veneers outperform bonding with greater resilience and a greater resistance to stains and dulling. Applying a thin layer of porcelain, composite resin or preformed plastic so that it adheres to the front surfaces of teeth. Laminate veneers usually require more than one visit to the dentist but are quite expensive and hence less in use in our country.

Porcelain laminate restoration
Any tooth-colored restoration such as a filling, crown, or bridge used to repair or replace part or all of a tooth.