Tooth colored fillings
Composite fillings are tooth colored fillings that are very durable, and are made to match the color of your natural tooth. Dr. Cohen uses these fillings to stop tooth decay from getting worse. Tooth decay results when plaque bacteria in the mouth use sugar and starch to break down tooth enamel and cause cavities in the teeth. Such cavities can be painful and, if left untreated, can result in a myriad of health problems including infection, abscess, and tooth loss.
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are used to repair teeth that are badly damaged by decay or wear. If the tooth’s chewing surface has substantial decay or holds a large filling that is worn or cracked, then either an inlay or onlay may be recommended to restore the tooth. A back tooth has cusps, which are like peaks, and pits that are like valleys. If the cusps or peaks are intact, then an inlay will be made to fit into the contours of the cusps. If one or more cusps are weak or broken, then an onlay will be made to cover the cusp and provide protection and support to the chewing surfaces of the tooth. As long as there is adequate tooth structure remaining, both inlays and onlays are more conservative than crowns since they do not involve cutting down the entire tooth. Inlays and onlays can be made out of composite resin, porcelain, or gold.
A crown is used to cover a tooth and bring it back to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are placed when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won’t solve the problem. If a tooth is cracked, a crown holds the tooth together to seal the cracks so the damage doesn’t get worse. Crowns are also used to support a large filling when there isn’t enough of the tooth remaining. There are 3 types of crowns: porcelain crowns, porcelain fused to gold crowns and full gold crowns. Porcelain crowns are predominately used on front teeth where esthetics is very important. There is no metal used so therefore, there are no dark lines that can be seen at the gumline. Porcelain fused to gold crowns are used in the back teeth where more strength is needed since these teeth take a lot of chewing forces and need added protection. This type of crown has a gold center for strength but is tooth colored on the outside so that they match your natural teeth. Full gold crowns are used when extra strength is needed to protect the teeth and is usually used in areas that are not seen when you smile.
A bridge is a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost. The natural teeth that are adjacent to the space created by the missing teeth are modified similar to that of crowns. They serve as retainers for the bridge, which is cemented into place. A fixed bridge looks, feels, and functions like natural teeth. It prevents other teeth from shifting and will help to maintain the shape of your face. They can either all porcelain, porcelain fused to gold, or all gold.
Dental implants are metal posts that work as a substitute for a real tooth root. The metal posts are placed in the bone under the gum where a tooth is missing. The bone will then heal around the metal post and a crown can then be placed on the post making this implant look like your natural tooth.
Implants help retain bone that would otherwise be lost because of a phenomenon called bone resorption. When a root is missing the bone will basically deteriorate because there is no root to hold the bone in place. When an implant is placed, the bone adheres to the implant and will not deteriorate which allows the implant to act as a strong foundation for biting and chewing. The advantage of doing a single tooth implant versus doing a bridge is that with an implant, the adjacent teeth are not affected. Dental implants may also be used to secure bridges and dentures when more than one tooth is missing.
Dentures and Partials
When dental implants are not an option for missing teeth, Dr. Cohen may fit you with a denture or partial. Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal framework.