Restorative procedures are performed to restore the lost tooth structure caused by dental disease or injury so the functions of speech, swallowing and chewing can be restored.
Full or partial dentures allow people who have lost all or some of their teeth the ability to eat, speak and smile. The full denture replaces all of the patient's natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips. Without the support of teeth, facial muscles can begin to sag. The partial denture simply replaces missing teeth so the remaining teeth don't shift and become crooked. Crooked teeth are difficult to clean which results in decay and other dental problems.
A bridge, also called a fixed partial denture, is a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been removed or are missing. A bridge helps maintain the shape of your face, as well as alleviate the stress in your bite by replacing the missing teeth.
An alternative to a partial denture or bridge is a dental implant. A dental implant can be used to replace a single tooth or restore an entire smile and provide a more permanent solution. Dental implants are a good alternative for people who have generally good oral health and have lost their teeth due to an accident or have lost a tooth due to periodontal disease.
Composite fillings are white fillings designed to match the color of your teeth. Composites may be used to repair a defect or restore a decayed tooth. Often used on front teeth, they may also be used in back, if the restoration is minor. While the composite filling is more natural looking, silver (amalgam) fillings are generally stronger and less costly. These new materials have not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental materials, such as gold. This is because the strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations such as fillings in the back teeth where chewing forces are greatest.
In past years, if a tooth had a diseased nerve, the patient would have lost that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure, called root canal therapy, the tooth can be saved. Inside each tooth is the nerve, also known as the pulp, which provides nutrients and feeling to the tooth. It runs like a thread down through the root of the tooth. When the nerve is diseased or injured the tissue around the nerve dies. If the dead tissue is not removed the tooth will get infected and would need to be pulled. The dentist will remove the nerve, clean out the root canal and seal off the tooth to protect it. The dentist will then put a crown over the tooth to make it stronger. Typically, a root canal is a simple procedure with little or no discomfort.