White Fillings (Mercury Free) – Although the old amalgam fillings are safe, very strong, and long lasting, these are gradually being fazed out throughout the world. Generally patients these days prefer the more aesthetic, white resin restorations. These white fillings are generally a composite resin material. This is what we use almost all the time at Dental on Falconer.
However placing composite resin restorations is very technique sensitive and requires excellent moisture control. Thus they are not suitable for 100% of situations. On the rare occasion where we can’t use a composite resin to fix your tooth, the dentist will let you know in advance and the alternatives.
Crowns – Crowns are restorations that fully cover a tooth. They are often referred to as ‘Caps’ by the general public. Crowns are made in a lab and cemented permanently over the tooth. They are strong and long-lasting. They are usually made to cover and protect a tooth that is heavily filled and prone to cracking. They are also sometimes used on front teeth to improve the appearance by changing shape and colour of discoloured or misaligned teeth.
Crowns can be made out of a variety of materials including Gold, Porcelain, Zirconia or a combination of these.
The procedure to get a crown involves an appointment with the dentist to reshape the tooth to make room for the crown, take an impression and send it to the dental laboratory to be custom made to the exact size and colour. A few weeks later, after it is precision constructed by the laboratory, it is cemented in place by the dentist.
Bridges – Bridges are constructed in the same manner as crowns above. Bridges are used to replace missing teeth where a patient can’t or doesn’t want a gap, dental implant, or denture. A conventional bridge involves placing a crown on the tooth either side of where the tooth is missing with a fake crown joined to these crowns to fill the gap. It is made in one piece in a dental laboratory and the procedure and materials used are identical to how a crown is made, as mentioned above.
Full & Partial Dentures – A full Denture is for where all teeth are missing in either the upper jaw or lower jaw. If a patient is missing all teeth, then they would usually require full upper and lower dentures.
Where a patient is missing only one or some of their teeth, a partial denture is one method of replacing the missing teeth. (Other methods may include implants, bridges or orthodontics to move teeth and close spaces). Partial dentures can be constructed from various materials depending upon the situation. The most common material is either entirely from acrylic or a combination of metal with acrylic.
In recent years another flexible material (Velplast) has come on the market which does away with the need for metal clasps around the teeth. Generally patients find these dentures more comfortable to wear and more aesthetic as there are no metal clasps showing. However, they are not suitable for all situations, so the dentist will inform you as to what your options are if you require a partial denture.
Dental Implants – Implants are one method of replacing missing teeth, (others methods include dentures of bridges). They can be used to replace one missing tooth or multiple teeth. Dental implants are basically a titanium screw that is fixed in the jaw bone. Contrary to popular perception, having an implant placed is totally pain free and very few patients even get post operative discomfort. An implant is like the root of the tooth within the jaw bone. A crown is then constructed to go on top of this implant, just like the crown of a real tooth. When finished, a completed implant with crown is very close to having a real tooth back in place!