Both crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices, which are permanently cemented onto existing teeth or implants (only your dentist can remove them). Crowns and bridges are made from natural looking porcelain materials that blend in with your own teeth and will improve the look of your smile.
A crown is used to completely cover, or “cap” a weakened, damaged or cracked tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. It can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function.
Dental bridges are appliances used to replace one or more missing teeth. A bridge allows us to replace lost teeth without the use of a denture or dental implant. Bridges span the space where teeth are missing by cementing them to your natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth is then attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. It is best not to leave big gaps between your teeth as eventually they cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. Dentures can be used to replace lost teeth due to trauma, decay, or typically gum disease. There are 2 types of dentures available, complete and partial.
Complete Dentures are used when all the teeth are missing from your upper or lower jaw and are placed directly onto your gums. There are 2 different types of removable full dentures; Conventional and Immediate. The conventional dentures are made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. To ensure we get the most natural looking and feeling fit for your mouth, the process involves taking several impressions to help us determine and replicate as closely as possible the correct size and shape of your natural teeth.
A Partial Denture is a removable dental appliance that is used to replace multiple missing teeth. At Framingham Dental Center, we use Valplast® Flexible Partials. This lightweight, flexible nylon resin material allows the restoration to adapt to the constant movement of your mouth. And because the gum colored material blends in with your mouth, it also offers far better aesthetics for a natural looking smile.
It is important to replace missing teeth, not just to help you chew food, but to support your jaw bones, increase stability and improve retention. It is also critical for speech. Although implants are a better long-term solution, with today’s new technology, dentures are more comfortable and natural looking than ever.
Dental crown implants are a more predictable and longer lasting solution for missing teeth then conventional therapy, such as a crown and bridge. Implants are not susceptible to recurrent decay and they do not require cutting down healthy tooth structure for support. In addition, dental implants should and can last a life time.
Once a dental implant is placed, three to six months of healing or osseointegration (the surrounding bone grows around the implant) is required before the implant can be restored. Once the implant has integrated with the bone, an abutment and crown (or bridge) is fabricated out of metal, ceramic, or porcelain. This is permanently cemented onto the implant. Implant crowns, like conventional crowns appear to be identical to the shape and natural color of your natural teeth.
A root canal is a treatment in which the injured or infected pulp tissue inside a tooth is replaced with a filling material. Root canals are the thin passages that run from the soft inner tissue of your tooth (pulp) to the tip of the root of your tooth. The pulp consists of specialized dental cells, blood vessels, tissue fibers and some nerve fibers located in the hollow space in the central part of the tooth. Because the canals contain nerve fibers, infections of this sort are often accompanied by varying amounts of pain.
During the root canal procedure, the area will be sufficiently numbed. The inside of the tooth is then thoroughly cleaned and a filling material, along with medications to sooth the area, are packed into the tooth.
A final tooth-colored filling is then applied to the surface of the tooth. In many cases, a crown will be placed instead of a filling to provide more structural integrity for the tooth.
An extraction is the removal of one or more teeth from your mouth. Extractions are performed for a variety of reasons, including the following:
Sometimes if a tooth has sever decay or a bad fracture, the damage to that tooth may be too extensive to be restored with a filling or crown. In these situations, extraction may be considered the best solution.
Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during your late teen years or early twenties. Impacted teeth get stuck in the jaw and often need to be removed if they are decayed or cause pain. Also, a wisdom tooth that has emerged partially may be blocked by other teeth or may not have enough room to come in completely. This can irritate the gum, causing swelling, which requires it to be removed.
People undergoing orthodontic work may need teeth extracted to create room for the other teeth that are being moved into place.
Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.
White fillings, also called composite fillings are made from durable, tooth colored plastics, called composite resins. We use these resins to restore the natural appearance of a decayed or previously filled tooth. Since the resins are similar in color and texture to natural teeth, the fillings are less noticeable and much more attractive than other types of fillings.
An advantage of composite fillings, as compared with other dental restorations, is that they require less of the healthy part of a tooth to be removed to hold the filling in place. This is due to the composite materials’ ability to bond to teeth adhesively. Composite fillings are strong and provide resistance against future fractures. Also, unlike amalgam (metal) fillings, composite fillings are mercury-free and contain no toxic metal, or material. A composite filling requires only one visit, during which the tooth is prepared and restored.