There are four different choices that you have when it comes to filling a cavity.
1. Composite Fillings - Natural tooth colored filling, bonds to the tooth to provide added security.
2. Silver Fillings - Inexpensive and strong amalgam based filling.
3. Gold Fillings - More attractive than silver and provide for a better fit.
4. Porcelain Fillings - Also called inlays; the most attractive and durable of the tooth colored choices.
An inlay or onlay is a method of repairing a tooth that is somewhere between a filling and a crown. They are used when the tooth is unable to support a filling, but is not damaged to the point that it needs a crown. An inlay is much like a filling but is inserted into the ridges (cusps) of the chewing surface. An onlay is a little more extensive than an inlay and covers multiple cusps of the tooth. Inlays and onlays are commonly made with ceramic or composite materials but can also be made of gold. They are very durable and can last a long time depending on the material used and how well the patient takes care of them with regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist.
Crowns are used to restore a tooth to its natural size, shape and color after a large filling or crack in the tooth has compromised the tooth. Crowns are almost always placed after a root canal treatment because the tooth becomes weak and is likely to fracture. A crown will strengthen and protect what remains of the tooth and will improve your smile. Crowns are often made of all ceramic material and in some cases can be made in a single visit.
In order for the crown to be placed on the tooth, 1-2mm of the tooth must be taken away and an impression must be made of the tooth. If the office has the ability to make crowns in a day, it will be made and placed on your tooth in the same visit, otherwise the impression is sent to a lab and your crown is fabricated there. If you have to wait on your crown, a temporary is placed on your tooth and will be replaced with your crown when it arrives. When the crown is placed on your tooth, sometimes it needs to be adjusted a little to make the proper fit. After it is adjusted it is cemented to your tooth and is a permanent solution.
Dr. Clements, your Danville crown dentist will explain your crown options and answer your questions. There are three basic types of crowns:
1) Porcelain outer surface with a metal base crown.
2) Pure porcelain or composite crown.
3) All metal crown, which is usually gold. They all differ in durability, strength, appearance and cost. Select a crown below to learn more about it.
If your smile is in need of a makeover, crowns can provide predictable results. Crowns can give an unattractive tooth back its beautiful shape and color. For smaller or worn down teeth, a crown can restore the natural size of the old tooth. A crown can replace either part of or the tooth's entire structure. For procedures requiring only the areas visible from the outside, a veneer may be an alternative option.
The most conservative approach when attempting to replace a missing tooth is a bonded bridge. It is also often referred to as a Marilyn Bridge. An impression of the area is taken and a new tooth referred to as a pontic is formed. Attached to the pontic on either side are abutments or â€œwingsâ€ that will support the pontic. The most common type of Marilyn Bridge uses abutments that are cemented on the backside of the adjoining teeth and hold the pontic in place where the missing tooth used to be. The adjacent teeth may need to be slightly modified to accept the â€œwingsâ€ of the pontic. The advantage of this type of procedure is that you are not having to put full coverage crowns on the adjoining teeth.
An alternative to an implant is a fixed bridge. With this option it is necessary to grind down the teeth adjacent to the space in order to have caps fit onto the ground down teeth. The caps hold a fake replacement tooth in the middle. With this approach, the ground down teeth are more subject to dental decay and root canals. Furthermore, the teeth are connected together making daily hygiene more challenging. Unlike an implant, the bridge offers no additional biting support.