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Can we just do a filling?

Tooth problems come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s no surprise that our repairs come in all shapes and sizes as well. Tooth repair takes a trained eye to evaluate the problem and the application of engineering principles to make the proper choice of what restorative materials will give the best long term result for a lifetime of tooth use. Let us take a look and discuss your options. No matter what your particular tooth repair issue is we can come up with a solution to keep you smiling.

What type of tooth repair is best for my problem?

Generally restoration options depend on the amount and quality of the remaining tooth structure. So a lot depends on what is left to work with. Here is a listing of filling types from least to most invasive:

Preventive Resin Filling – This is the most conservative of filling types where very small specific areas of decay in the grooves of the teeth are filled in with tooth colored filling material and then topped with sealant material in the remaining healthy parts of the grooves. It is really a filling/sealant hybrid.

Silver Amalgam Filling – Silver amalgam has been around for more than 150 years. It is strong, time tested, and the least expensive option. Amalgam does not really adhere or bond to the remaining tooth structure, so it rests in the opening without adding to the strength of the surrounding tooth. As fillings get bigger the physical limits of the material make it a more marginal choice.

Tooth Colored Resin Filling – Tooth colored composite resin has been around for around 35 years. It has become a popular choice because of its ability to “blend in” with the color of your natural teeth. Originally designed for fillings in the front teeth, advancements have made it also a good choice for small to moderate size fillings in the higher stress back tooth regions. Resin materials bond to tooth material and can add some strength to surrounding tooth structure. As with amalgam as fillings get bigger the physical limits of the material make it a more marginal choice

Inlay – Inlays are small pieces of filling material that are custom laboratory made to fit within your tooth. If you think of the last puzzle piece fitting into the last opening, in this case the area that was decayed, the inlay can be bonded in and slides right into place. These little inlay nuggets, which can be gold or tooth colored, are stronger and longer lasting then silver or composite fillings.

As damage from decay, wear, breakage or expansion of fillings becomes greater and goes beyond the confines of the biting surface of the teeth; our normal filling materials will not hold up to the extra stresses placed on them. Likewise if you have lost a sizable portion of your natural tooth causing weakening, the risk of further breakage and loss of your tooth is much higher. That is when we suggest our higher strength laboratory made solutions:

Onlay – Onlays are larger versions of inlays. They will wrap over the biting surfaces of the teeth to provide additional strength to decrease the risk of tooth fracture. They usually replace one or more of the “cusps” or bumps that outline or encircle the biting surface. Onlays can be made of a variety of metal or nonmetal materials.

Crowns – Crowns are even larger versions of onlays. Crowns are often needed when larger portions of tooth are missing, fillings are large, or fracture risk is high. Crowns usually cover the entire tooth lending the most protection possible. Crowns can also be made of a variety of materials selected for your priority of protection, esthetics, or both.    

Signs and symptoms of tooth problems

Any combination of the following would indicate potential for an area of new decay, a leaking filling, a tooth fracture, or other breach of the protective enamel coating of your tooth:

  • Cold sensitivity
  • Sweet sensitivity
  • Air sensitivity
  • Biting sensitivity, on biting or release
  • Aching
  • Chips or missing portions of your tooth

Tooth repair procedures

Tooth repair procedures will vary depending on the type of restoration selected

Preventive Resin restorations/Silver Amalgams/Tooth Colored Resins

These are one appointment procedures that entail:

  • The area around the target tooth is numbed, and isolated for the procedure
  • The tooth is lightly prepared or reduced to allow adequate space, decay is removed
  • The filling material is placed or sculpted to replace the missing tooth material.
  • The finish product is meticulously shaped and polished and made to fit the bite
  • You get to show off your smile.

Inlays/ Onlays/ Crowns

These are two visit procedures needing lab work and entail:

1st visit

  • The area around the target tooth is numbed, and isolated for the procedure
  • The tooth is lightly prepared or reduced to allow adequate space
  • A mold is made of your existing teeth, which allows custom crafting by our dental technicians
  • Esthetic temporary teeth are made for a typical two week interim period

2nd visit

  • The area around the target tooth is numbed, and isolated for the procedure
  • The restorations are tried in and you approve their color, shape and fit
  • The tooth and restoration is cleaned and conditioned
  • The restoration is bonded to your tooth
  • Adhesive is removed and everything is cleaned and polished
  • You get to show off your smile

What are the benefits?

No matter the size or type of filling

  • Sensitivity is relieved
  • You have a healthier, happier tooth.
  • Catching dental disease at its earliest stages is always the most cost effective repair
  • Catching dental disease at its earliest stages makes the procedure easiest on you
  • Choosing to protect a tooth through onlays and crowns helps save teeth from more costly repairs or future replacement

At Generations Dental we will evaluate your current oral health and need for repairs at every visit. And when something needs to be improved we will give you all your options, so you can make the chooses that best fit your situation, your lifestyle, your desires and your budget.