There are often numerous treatment options for a problematic tooth and these options vary in complexity, price, and length of “chair time”. The most important determining factors helping your treating dentist decide the best option for your tooth are usually the severity of the issue, and just as importantly, your dental history and oral habits. Explore this section for a list of some of the most common restorative procedures our dentists expertly perform.
Composite fillings (“tooth colored-fillings”) are used to repair teeth that are affected by decay (“cavities”), wear, cracks, and fractures. The extent of the issue will determine if a composite filling will suffice as the treatment option.
After being adequately numbed by your treating dentist, the decayed or affected portion of the tooth is removed. If the decay was deep and near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The BPA-free and mercury-free composite filling is then directly placed onto the tooth, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function. These tooth colored (therefore very esthetic) restorations are conveniently placed in just one visit and unless there is a need to adjust the occlusion (“the bite”) of your new filling, there is no need for a second visit.
Sometimes when there is very shallow decay starting on a tooth, we have the ability to prevent its progress by conservatively placing a preventative resin, a PRR, and helping you avoid the need for a full-fledged filling in the future. Other than saving you from greater costs, this route also saves you from the need to be numbed for the procedure.
Composite restorations are also used for cosmetic cases and provide an affordable path to an enhanced smile.
Inlays and onlays are state-of-the-art, conservative dental restorations. The two restorations generally serve the same purpose and the difference between the two restorations is which part of the tooth they are covering. (Inlays cover mainly the center of a tooth, while onlays’ coverage also includes one or more cusps (points) of the tooth.) Often times, when large amounts of decay or an older silver fillings is removed, an extensive hole is left behind (aggressive tooth structure removal is just one of the disadvantages of the outdated silver fillings), making the placement of resin composites an inadequate restorative choice. Enter inlays/onlays: these lab-fabricated restorations essentially fill the now hole-y tooth, providing strength to the damaged tooth, without the need to remove any additional healthy tooth structure.
Like direct composite restorations, inlays/onlays are placed to repair decayed, chipped, broken and worn teeth, but are a more superior choice in instances where the damage to the teeth is too extensive and too substantial for regular fillings to suffice. Inlays/onlays offer a more precisely fitted, and longer lasting reparative solution than regular fillings, and can protect your teeth from further damage and/or fracture.
Inlays and onlay are indirect restorations, fabricated by a dental laboratory and then cemented onto the prepared teeth; these restorations therefore require two visits, the first being the removal of old materials and decayed tooth structure from your numbed tooth by Dr. Salehezadeh. The second visit is for the cementation of the custom-made restoration. (In between the two visits, your tooth is temporized with a temporary filling.) Inlays/onlays can be made of different materials, and at The QPD, tooth-colored porcelain is the material of choice, due to its high esthetics and strength. Inlay/onlay restorations are similar to crowns, except that they are gentler to the tooth as they require less removal of tooth structure and replace only what is needed (i.e. old fillings and decay), making them an optimal choice for numerous scenarios.
Similar to onlays, crowns are placed to restore teeth with extensive damage. These indirect restorations are usually placed when teeth no longer have sufficient healthy tooth structure remaining and cannot endure more conservative options like composite fillings or inlay/onlay restorations. Other instance when crowns are treatment planned include after a root canal, replacement of a failing pre-existing crown, and for better esthetics. Crowns are also utilized to restore dental implants and provide the patient a functioning chewing surface.
Dental crowns fully support the teeth which they cover, mimicking the natural shape of the teeth for which they are made. (For cosmetic procedures that require a change in appearance, the crowns will NOT mimic the original teeth.) Crowns are indirect restorations and like inlays/onlays, generally require two visits to be completed: one for preparation of the teeth, and one for the cementation of the crowns; temporary crowns are placed on the prepared teeth for the time in between the two visits.
Fabricated in a dental laboratory, dental crowns can be made of several different types of material, each having its advantage and purpose, from providing the best strength to offering the most pleasing esthetics. For the best combination of strength and esthetics, Dr. Salehezadeh utilizes different all-ceramic options that allow for beautifully natural results.
When missing one or more teeth, dental bridges close the gap between your missing teeth and your existing teeth, providing a relatively easy tooth replacement option. Custom made and fabricated by a dental lab, bridges are a “fixed” solution (meaning you cannot take them off and on) and can be a fully esthetic option with the proper material choice.
A traditional dental bridge is comprised of at least two crowns, anchored on healthy “abutment” teeth, one at each side of the gap. Each crown is cemented onto each of the abutment teeth, and a pontic (“fake tooth”) is in between.
These bridges are the same as traditional bridges, except that the anchoring abutments are implants, not teeth.
Like traditional bridges, Maryland bridges rely on two healthy abutment teeth, one on each side of the missing tooth gap. However, while a traditional bridge requires placing dental crowns on the anchoring abutment teeth, a Maryland bridge uses a framework that is bonded onto the backs of the abutment teeth, eliminating the need to cut into these teeth. Maryland bridges are usually utilized for missing anterior teeth and are not suitable for all tooth-missing scenarios, but when utilized for the proper case, they provide a very conservative and esthetic solution. If you are missing a tooth and have never heard of this option, expect to hear about it from Dr. Salehezadeh!