As the saying goes, there is more than one way to peel a potato. Likewise, there is more than one way to fix a tooth. This post from OKC Smiles in Oklahoma City looks at some of the restoration procedures that are used routinely to repair damaged teeth.
If you are the lucky owner of a set of perfectly healthy teeth, you may never need any of them. Most of us, though, will probably need to restore a tooth eventually.
A Porcelain Veneer
These wafer-thin covers can hide a chip or crack or fix the alignment of a tooth that is slightly crooked.
A Filling, Inlay, or Onlay
This procedure has been used to restore teeth for over a century though the materials and techniques have advanced. One fairly new option is white filling replacement for metal fillings. A traditional filling is shaped and molded after it is applied to the tooth. Because inlays and onlays are produced in a dental lab, they are typically called indirect fillings. Inlays are applied to just the center of the biting surface of a tooth (not to a cusp or point) and are commonly smaller than onlays. An onlay restores one or more cusps of a tooth.
Bonding, officially called direct composite veneers, is used to fix chips, cracks, stains, and make teeth longer. It is also sometimes used to fill cavities. A skilled cosmetic dentist applies pliable composite resin and molds it to the precise shape necessary. The resin is then hardened with a special curing light.
A Dental Crown
A crown replaces the entire visible portion of the tooth, restoring appearance, durability, and function. Crowns are used for teeth that have had a root canal, teeth with extreme decay, the replacement tooth in a dental bridge, and the visible portion of a dental implant. Crowns can be made of all metal (such as gold), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all ceramic, or all resin.
Many dentists consider implants to be the ultimate restoration because it restores the entire tooth – both root and crown. Most dental implant recipients report that the implant is indistinguishable from a natural tooth. Another benefit is the fact that an implant can prevent bone recession which is common at an extraction site. Dental implants are used in a variety of applications such as anchoring dentures and dental bridges.
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