Single Crown Restorations and Fixed Bridges
A crown is a laboratory-made dental restoration that covers your entire tooth. Crowns may be placed for several reasons: Usually the better portion of the tooth has been broken or damaged by decay or trauma. As a result, a filling can't replace enough of the tooth or make the tooth strong enough. A crown may hold together parts of a cracked tooth. It also can be used to hold a bridge in place if a tooth is missing between two teeth that already are in need of extensive restorations. In addition, crowns can be used to improve appearance: they may be placed to cover misshapen or badly discolored teeth.
Crowns are custom-made in a laboratory. Prefabricated crowns are made of acrylic/plastics and are used on a temporary basis until a permanent crown is made. Crowns can be all metal, porcelain fused to metal (PFM), or all ceramic. Metals include gold and noble metal alloys. PFM and all-ceramic crowns are the same color as your natural teeth. They look just like normal teeth.
Under specific and ideal circumstances, short all-ceramic (porcelain) bridges may be made without the need for metal reinforcement, but it is still very common to fabricate a bridge to replace several missing teeth using a hidden strong noble metal that is fully covered with porcelain and appears just like natural teeth. As each situation is different, we invite you to contact us if you have questions about your dental needs. We will gladly do a thorough evaluation and advise you on your treatment choices.
Porcelain dental veneers are a beautiful way to correct stained, chipped, or minimal crowding or spacing between teeth. By placing glass-like ceramic porcelain on the surface of teeth, dentists can provide patients with bright, straight, and natural looking smiles. Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain, about half a millimeter thick (the thickness of a fingernail or so) that are bonded onto the front of teeth.
Porcelain mimics tooth structure better than any other restorative material. It is harder than enamel, so it resists wear and can last for many years. Some advertising creates the false impression that placing porcelain veneers requires that your teeth be "ground down" or on the contrary, not even touched at all. It would be more accurate to say that your teeth are “shaved” a little. The amount of reduction is minimal but the potential cosmetic enhancement is the greatest.
Tooth-colored restorations Tooth-colored fillings are made from durable specialty plastics called composite resins. Similar in color and texture to natural teeth, the fillings are directly bonded to the teeth, less noticeable, and much more attractive than other types of fillings. Their strength now is also compatible (if not superior) to any other direct restorative material, like amalgam. Because composite resins are tooth-colored, they look more natural than other filling materials. You can smile, talk, and eat with confidence. In addition, tooth-colored fillings are compatible with dental sealants. A tooth can be filled and sealed at the same time to prevent further decay.
The term “whitening” refers to restoring a tooth's surface color by removing micro- and macroscopic dirt and debris that cannot be removed with toothpaste or during recall appointments. According to the FDA, the term “bleaching” can only be used when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color.
There are two categories of staining as it relates to the teeth: extrinsic (external) staining and intrinsic (internal) staining.
Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco, and routine “wear and tear”. Most superficial external stains can be removed with brushing and professional dental cleanings. Stubborn extrinsic stains can be removed with more involved efforts, like teeth whitening or bleaching.
Intrinsic stains are those that form on the inside of teeth. Intrinsic stains result from trauma, aging, and exposure to minerals, chemicals or antibiotics (like tetracycline) during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride.
Teeth Whitening/Bleaching Options in our office
Two major teeth whitening options are available. Both rely on one of multiple concentrations of active ingredients and varying application times.
Significant color change in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-office whitening. This protocol involves the carefully controlled use of a relatively high-concentration active gel, applied to the teeth after the gums have been protected with a paint-on isolating material (rubber dam). Generally, the gel remains on the teeth for several 15 to 20-minute intervals that add up to an hour (at most). Those with particularly stubborn staining may be advised to return for one or more additional bleaching sessions, or may be asked to continue with a home-use whitening system.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
Professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits can produce the best results long-term. Take-home kits incorporate an easy-to-use lower-concentration active gel that remains on the teeth for about an hour a day. The gel is applied to the teeth using custom-made bleaching trays that resemble soft-thin mouth guards.