Fillings, Crowns & Implants Procedures
Fillings are used to accomplish their name: they “fill” the hole that disease or injury have made in a tooth. Since these holes come in all shapes and sizes, on teeth of differing shapes, sizes and functions, the filling solution varies according to these factors. We use many different filling materials to solve the cavity/injury problem.
Amalgams are a silver-colored material that holds up well on chewing surfaces such as molars. This good longevity makes them a popular choice for fillings in the back of the mouth.
Composites are synthetic materials that are popular because they are tooth-colored and don’t look unnatural when you smile. These are the material of choice for fillings on the front teeth and on premolars. High quality composite material bonds well to the tooth so sometimes this is also the preferred filling for a molar, depending upon the other factors involved.
Crowns are needed when a tooth is badly broken down, is fractured, has so much decay that a filling isn’t strong enough, or if it has had root canal treatment (see root canal section). A crown is a porcelain, metal or composite tooth top (or crown) custom-made to replace the natural top that is broken or missing. Bite forces, location in the mouth and esthetic requirements determine the type of material selected for each crown.
Well-done crowns fit snugly around the base of the tooth so that no bacteria get in underneath to compromise the health of the tooth base. If this were to happen, the base of the tooth would decay, creating a new and painful problem. Sometimes, if the tooth has had root canal treatment, a reinforcing post is inserted in the root of the tooth to give it extra strength in holding the new crown.
Porcelain and composite crowns come from the lab in different shades of tooth color. In this Schertz area dental office, we take extra time to match the shade of your new tooth to the nuances of shade in your natural teeth so that no one but you knows which one is the new one. Crowns also can be used to alter the color and shaped of teeth for esthetic reasons. (See Cosmetics Section and photos)
Implants are another way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. An implant is done in conjunction with an oral surgeon who drills a hole in the jaw bone and imbeds a titanium post in the bone. It takes several months for the bone to grow closely around and stabilize the implant. After this, a crown is made to match the teeth on either side of the implant. Most of the time, an abutment is needed as part of this process. This is a “post” that attaches to the implant and provides the “foundation” to the crown. The crown fits snugly on top and around this abutment. Implants can also be used to hold bridges when replacing multiple teeth and to stabilize complete and removable partial dentures.