Fillings are done to remove decay, and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new a material fills hole that decay left. We offer both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth colored) fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth could need root canal treatment or extraction.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material onto the face of the tooth and matching the color of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay or for other cosmetic reasons. The tooth surface is roughened in order to accept the bonding and a gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface. A primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. The material is then placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is necessary when a cavity is permitted to reach the pulp (nerve) of a tooth. (Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early) Occasionally, deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and possibly extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). When the pulp becomes infected, it must be treated since the tooth will not be able to heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled to prevent any further infection. Usually a core buildup and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.
Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body therefore, teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns sit over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.
It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. During the first visit, any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped (prepared) to accept the crown. Then an impression is made of the tooth for use in fabricating the crown. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, all ceramic material, or gold. During this time a temporary crown is worn. During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is cemented in place and adjusted as necessary.