Almost everyone will experience tooth decay at some point in his or her life. Swift detection and correction of tooth decay can minimize the significant expenses and inconveniences associated with more serious problems caused by tooth decay. Restorative dentistry treats all phases of tooth decay, from simple cavity fillings to entire tooth replacements.
Tooth-colored fillings are a safer and more attractive alternative to older silver amalgam fillings. By precisely matching tooth-colored composite fillings with the natural color of your teeth, Dr. Kinga is able to provide you with white fillings that are virtually invisible. The removal of amalgam fillings and replacing them with white fillings can create for you a more pleasing, silver-free smile.
What are white fillings?
White fillings are made of composite resin and serve to fill cavities just like silver amalgam fillings. However, white fillings are matched to the color of your teeth and are virtually invisible. Tooth-colored fillings have become more popular over the years. As the availability of white fillings has increased and the possible dangers associated with mercury containing amalgam fillings have been publicized, more and more patients are having their cavities filled with beautifully white, tooth-colored fillings.
Removing and replacing old metal fillings
Many patients opt for the removal of their amalgam fillings as well. These patients want to enhance their appearance by ridding their mouths of unsightly silver fillings and replacing them with tooth-colored composite fillings. This simple procedure is an easy way to make a big difference in your smile.
We are very proud to be a mercury-free practice.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth—covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.
The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Why is a dental crown needed?
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay, from breaking, or after a root canal therapy) or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there is not a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant
What types of crown materials are available?
Permanent crowns can be made from all metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or all ceramic.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (usually gold) dental crowns are color matched to your adjacent teeth. Aside from all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. The crown's porcelain portion can also chip or break off. These crowns are stronger than all-ceramic crowns and are an excellent choice for posterior (back) teeth.
- All-ceramic crowns are made entirely from tooth-colored ceramic material. They are probably the best cosmetic alternative to natural teeth, but they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal. For that reason they are usually placed on anterior (front) teeth.
First visit: crown preparation
As the first step in the process of making your crown, Dr. Kinga will anesthetize (numb) your tooth and the gum tissue around it. Next, the tooth receiving the crown will be filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown. If a large area of the tooth is missing (due to decay or damage), a synthetic pin (post) and filling material will be used to "build up" the tooth to support the crown.
After reshaping the tooth, an impression of the tooth will be taken for a laboratory to precisely fabricate your crown.
Dr. Kinga will also select the shade that most closely matches the color of the neighboring teeth.
Second visit: receiving the permanent dental crown
During your second visit, Dr. Kinga will check the fit and color of the crown. If everything is acceptable and you are happy with your new crown, it will be permanently cemented into place.
There are two ways to eliminate a gap between teeth, created by a missing tooth or teeth. One way is through dental implants; the other is through a bridge.
A bridge is made up of at least two crowns for the teeth on both sides of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth or teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
Why would you have a bridge done?
Bridges are primarily done to:
- Restore your smile
- Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
The first four reasons are rather self-explanatory and most often used by patients as a rationale to have a bridge done. The last reason on the list is quite often overlooked, even though it is a very important one. The teeth adjacent to the gap created by missing teeth tend to shift with time. It might look like the remaining teeth are shifting to close the gap. What really happens can be seen only in the x-ray picture, which shows what is going on below the gum line and inside the jawbone. The x-ray reveals that the root of the shifting tooth is pressing against the root of the tooth located next to it. And, in accordance with the laws of physics, the more chewing is done, the more pressure is exerted. As a result, both roots are being damaged. This fact alone is a very good reason to consider having a bridge done.
What is the process for getting a dental bridge?
During the first visit for getting a dental bridge, Dr. Kinga will prepare the abutment teeth. The preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of your teeth will be taken, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic(s), and crowns will be manufactured by a dental laboratory.
During the second visit, Dr. Kinga will check and adjust the new bridge as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual's case. The bridge may be temporarily cemented in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it fits properly. After a couple of weeks, the bridge will be permanently cemented into place.
Root Canal Therapy
Ah, the dreaded root canal...
Root canal therapy is considered to be the most feared dental procedure. Does that surprise you?
A survey conducted by the American Association of Endodontists reveals that most people with a fear of the dentist base their fear on someone else's experience, not their own. The inaccurate information about root canal therapy prevents patients from making an informed decision regarding their teeth. There are some patients who go as far as requesting a tooth to be extracted, rather than saved with root canal therapy.
Root canal therapy is usually performed when the tooth cannot be filled or restored any other way because the decay has reached the nerve of the tooth or the tooth has become infected.
The first step in the procedure is to take a digital x-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone. Then Dr. Kinga will use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth and access the pulp chamber. The pulp along with bacteria, the decayed nerve tissue and related debris is removed from the tooth. The cleaning-out process is accomplished with the assistance of the rotary endodontic instrument and root canal files.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta-percha are placed into the tooth's root canal.
The final step involves further restoration of the tooth. A tooth that needs root canal therapy often has a large filling, extensive decay or other weakness. Therefore a crown, crown-and-post, or other restoration often needs to be placed on the tooth to protect it, prevent it from breaking, and restore it to full function.