In a perfect world, each of your precious teeth would stay healthy, strong, and brilliantly white throughout your life. The truth is, however, that most Oklahoma men and women will need to restore a tooth at some point.
A tooth can be compromised by tooth decay, enamel erosion, a chip or crack, gum disease, or injury. Sometimes old restorations break and need to be replaced or root canals performed decades ago develop an abscess.
Here are 7 different options for repairing a damaged tooth:
Bonding, officially called direct composite veneers, is used to correct minor cosmetic dilemmas – small chips, cracks, discoloration, and spaces between teeth. A skilled cosmetic dentist applies moldable tooth-colored composite resin and shapes as desired. The resin is then cured with a special light to harden and adhere tightly to the tooth. Composite bonding is often the most affordable option for improving healthy teeth with minor cosmetic issues.
Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin tooth-shaped fronts that are permanently bonded to your natural teeth. They are used when the underlying tooth is structurally sound and free of cavities. A beautiful veneer can cover a chip or crack or repair the alignment of a tooth that appears slightly off kilter as compared to surrounding teeth.
Modern white fillings are strong and inconspicuous. A minimally invasive filling at OKC Smiles leaves you with more of nature’s ideal dental material — your own enamel and dentin. We can also replace old amalgam fillings with white fillings. This makes your teeth look a lot better every time you open your mouth. Get rid of all that metal!
Inlays and Onlays
A traditional filling is shaped and molded after it is applied to the tooth. Because inlays and onlays are created in a dental lab, they are typically called indirect fillings. A less invasive inlay or onlay may be used instead of a traditional filling or, in some cases, a crown. Inlays are applied to just the center of the biting surface of a tooth (not to a cusp or point) and are typically smaller than onlays. An onlay restores one or more cusps of a tooth.
A crown replaces the entire visible portion of the tooth, restoring appearance, strength, and function. A crown is frequently required for a tooth that has had a root canal, a tooth with extreme decay, or as the replacement tooth in a dental bridge. Attaching a crown to the abutment is the final step of a tooth implant procedure. Crowns can be made of all metal (such as gold), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all ceramic, or all resin.
Soft Tissue Grafts
Gum recession puts teeth and underlying bone at risk. Soft tissue grafting can cover the exposed root of a tooth to prohibit further damage. Gum surgery is also performed for cosmetic reasons such as reshaping a gumline to eliminate a “gummy” smile.
What if a tooth has to be extracted because it is beyond saving? For many OKC Smiles patients, a dental implant anchored into the bone is the ideal solution. A tooth implant consists of a strong metal post (artificial root), the abutment (connecting piece), and a beautiful crown. A dental implant has many advantages over a dental bridge. They are stronger, provide virtually natural function, restrict bone recession, and do not impact the surrounding teeth. For patients with many missing teeth, tailor-made implant-anchored dentures can be created in any configuration needed.
For more details about any of these procedures, call OKC Smiles at 405-634-7303. Thanks for visiting the OKC Smiles blog. We appreciate your interest in our Oklahoma City dental practice.
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