Dr. Williams and his staff provide knowledgeable and gentle care when it comes to helping you keep your teeth and gums healthy. Even with proper dental hygiene and regular visits to our dentist office, cavities and other oral health problems will occur, requiring some type of restoration.
There are many options available regarding restoring health to your teeth and gums. Dr. Williams and his professional dental team will advise you when restorative treatment may be needed and outline the options that best fit your situation.
Dental fillings are used to restore or fix areas of teeth that have decayed or broken. Many different types of fillings – including amalgam, composite, gold and porcelain – can be placed to prevent further decay as well as even out tooth surfaces for better biting and chewing.
There are many ways that dental professionals determine whether or not a filling is needed. One of the most common ways is during a regular cleaning and exam. A dental probe and x-ray can also help your dentist identify possible trouble spots.
The kind of filling you receive depends on a number of factors, including your overall health, dental history, cavity location, durability, cost, and your preference. Dr. Williams will use all available information to help you decide which option is right for you:
- Amalgam Fillings - Dental amalgam has been around for a long time and is often referred to as a “silver filling.” Amalgam is a mixture of metals such as silver, copper, mercury, and tin. If you have amalgam fillings that you would like replaced, let Dr. Williams know right away so that you can discuss all possible options.
- Composite Fillings – These natural, tooth-colored fillings are “bonded” to the tooth, made from resin material that is cured using light. The composite filling is then shaped and polished, closely resembling the natural look of your teeth. These fillings can be placed in either front or back teeth.
- Gold Fillings – Often referred to as inlays or onlays, gold isn’t used in its pure form, but rather in an alloy containing 75% gold and other metals such as copper, palladium and silver. The tooth is prepared by removing the decay or old filling, and then an impression is made and sent to a dental lab. The lab then makes the restoration and at a second visit the restoration is cemented onto the tooth. Gold fillings are generally more expensive than other options, but they are durable and perform well over time. These fillings can last up to four times longer than other materials.
- Porcelain Fillings - Porcelain is used in several different types of dental restorations including inlays, onlays, crowns and veneers. One of the advantages of these fillings is that they resemble the natural color of your teeth, and this specific material makes them stain-resistant. Like gold, porcelain filings involve two visits, are bonded to your tooth at the second visit, and can last significantly longer than amalgam or composite fillings.
Whatever filling you choose, Dr. Williams will present the best options and provide attentive, gentle care through every phase of the process.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a reliable way for dentists to help you maintain a healthy smile over many years. Over two to three office visits, this procedure can save a tooth in trouble and preserve the overall health of your teeth.
A tooth is made of enamel on the outside and pulp on the inside. The pulp, found in the center and in the canals of teeth, consists of connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels. The main purpose of pulp is to help a tooth grow when it first emerges, and it can be removed without destroying the tooth. A Root Canal involves the removal of this pulp, which is quite common in the United States.
Why Root Canal Therapy?
A Root Canal is necessary when a tooth’s root is damaged by a large cavity or an injury that results in infection. Antibiotics can’t be used to treat the inside of our teeth, which limits the treatment options once the pulp is inflamed and/or infected. If this infection goes untreated, it can spread to other parts of your body.
If it remains untreated, this condition can also cause the tooth to die and require that it be extracted. This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s always better to keep your teeth if possible. Restoring your teeth saves you money by avoiding expensive dental work like dentures or bridges, and it helps keep your teeth aligned and healthy.
The overall purpose of a root canal is to save the damaged tooth. This is done by removing the infected pulp, treating any remaining infection, and filling the empty root canals with special, medicated dental materials, restoring the tooth to its full function.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
With recent advances in technology and anesthetics, root canals feel similar to having a filling. The first step in the procedure after numbing the tooth is to place a “rubber dam” on the damaged tooth. The dam is used to keep the tooth isolated and dry.
A small hole is made in the chewing surface of the damaged tooth to gain access to the nerve and pulp tissue. Dr. Williams cleans the inside of the tooth and the infected tissue is removed. The tooth is irrigated throughout the procedure with a cleansing solution to flush away any debris.
The goal is to clean the entire length of the tooth’s canal space. Then, the tooth is filled in with a special material called gutta percha. A filling is then placed where the small hole was made. A crown will need to be cemented over the top to protect the tooth from breaking.
How Long Does Root Canal Therapy Take?
Treatment can take one to three office visits for your dentist to numb the tooth, remove the inflamed or infected pulp, clean and shape the inside of the tooth, then fill and seal the space to prevent further infection and discomfort.
Afterwards, it is essential that you return to have a crown or other restoration placed over the tooth to protect it. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if you had pain or infection before the procedure. You can relieve it with over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Root canal therapy is highly successful and usually last a lifetime; it’s one of the best ways to save your beautiful smile!
If your teeth are weak or broken from damage or decay, then you may need a crown. Placing a dental crown is a relatively quick and simple procedure that can strengthen your teeth and your smile. It works as a protective barrier over your tooth, using the existing structure of it while guarding your tooth against further damage.
Dental crowns can be made from a few select materials. Temporary crowns are made prefabricated from stainless steel or plastic. Permanent crowns are made from gold, porcelain, or a combination of both. Gold crowns won’t chip or break, and can withstand biting and chewing forces well.
Crowns made with porcelain look the most like natural teeth. Porcelain fused to gold crowns has an inner metal shell with porcelain baked onto it. These crowns can be a good choice for both front and back teeth. They are strong enough to withstand heavy biting pressure and look great, all at the same time. Pure porcelain crowns are also a viable option. They possess a translucency that makes them the most cosmetically pleasing of all the different types of dental crowns.
Dental crowns can generally be completed in about two visits with your dentist. The first visit involves Dr. Williams filing and supporting the existing tooth, along with making an impression of the area around that tooth for the permanent crown. Dr. Williams will then place a temporary crown over the tooth between visits. During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and replaced with the permanent crown.
Similar to partial or full dentures, bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. When a tooth is missing, it can cause a chain reaction of problems that include:
- Shifting teeth
- Change in your bite
- Speech impediments
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Greater chance for periodontal disease
- Increased risk of tooth decay
Once teeth have shifted, they become much harder to clean. This gives plaque places to hide, forming harmful tartar that can cause cavities and gum disease. With dental bridges, however, there’s no need to allow missing teeth to threaten your beautiful smile.
A dental bridge is a false tooth or teeth, also known as a pontic, which is joined between two crowns to fill in the area left by a missing tooth or teeth. The two crowns holding it in place are attached onto your teeth on each side of the false tooth. This is known as a fixed bridge.
Fixed bridges are made of porcelain fused to metal (PFM) or ceramics, which closely resemble natural teeth. Since bridges can’t be taken out of your mouth, they require a serious commitment to daily dental hygiene habits but will last as many as ten years or longer.
The process of getting a bridge takes two visits minimum to complete. On a first visit, teeth are prepared and Dr. Williams takes an impression of the teeth. A temporary bridge will be made for the two weeks it takes to make the permanent bridge in the lab. This temporary bridge will serve to protect your teeth and gums.
At the second visit, the temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent bridge will be cemented after the bite has been correctly adjusted. Dr. Williams will then advise you on how to best take care of your teeth with the dental bridge, supplying a bridge floss threader in order to floss around all areas of the bridge. Flossing, along with brushing twice a day, is required each day to protect your bridge and smile!