Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your teeth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
Tooth bonding can also be used for teeth fillings instead of amalgam fillings. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than the silver amalgam fillings. Bonding fillings can be used on front and back teeth depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and usually can be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, tell your doctor. The bonding generally can be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress on your bite.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials, and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it's very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.
Crowns are a cosmetic restoration used to strengthen a tooth or improve its shape. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or partially destroyed by tooth decay.
Crowns are "cemented" onto an existing tooth and fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth's new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining to hold a filling. Unlike fillings which apply the restorative material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
Dentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial.
- Full dentures are given to patients when all of the natural teeth have been removed. Conventional full dentures are placed after the gum tissue has healed, which can take several months. Immediate full dentures are placed immediately after the teeth have been removed and may require frequent adjustments during the first couple of months of use.
- Partial dentures are attached to a metal frame that is connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are considered a removable alternative to bridges.
How do I know if dentures are the right choice for me?
Dentures are not for everyone. If you're interested in learning more about dentures and want to know if they are the right choice for you, please schedule an appointment. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you might have, and can determine the best course of treatment for your ongoing dental health.
Caring for your dentures
Dentures, just like natural teeth, require daily maintenance to stay clean and keep bacteria from growing inside of your mouth. Keep your dentures clean and your smile healthy:
- When handling your dentures, stand over a clean, folded towel or a sink full of water. This way, if you accidentally drop your dentures, they are less likely to break.
- Your dentures are not immune from plaque and tartar build-up, so it's important that you brush your dentures every day. To brush your dentures, use a soft-bristled brush and gently brush the surfaces of the dentures, being careful not to break or bend the plastic. Between brushings, it's important to rinse your dentures after each meal.
- Use a gentle cleanser to clean your dentures. Many toothpastes, household cleaners, and mouthwashes can be too hard on your dentures, so it is recommended that you use a mild hand or dish soap to get your dentures clean. Be sure to check for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval to choose products that are safe for your dentures, or ask your dentist about which products may be best for you.
- When you are not wearing your dentures, they need to be kept moist. Dentures that are not kept in a denture cleaning solution or in water can dry out, lose their shape, or even crack and break. Certain styles of dentures require certain soaking solutions, so be sure to ask your dentist which solution is best for you.
- Even if you have a full set of dentures, it's important to keep your gums and tongue clean. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush to gently clean your gums and tongue every day.
If by chance your dentures do break, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Broken dentures that don't fit properly can cause irritation to your gums and mouth. Also, remember to continue scheduling regular dental checkups every six months to make sure that your smile stays healthy for many years to come.