Teeth with cavities or trauma can affect the overall health and appearance of your smile. If left untreated, the defect may continue to worsen. If you want a beautiful smile, but you have one or more teeth effecting the esthetics of your smile, check out these four cosmetic options you can choose to improve the look and functionality of your teeth.
1. Tooth-Colored Fillings
In the past, most fillings were composed of metal alloy, commonly known as amalgam. Although strong and durable, they made for an unsightly appearance, especially in teeth near the front of the mouth.
Today, most fillings are composed of a tooth-colored material, known as composite resin. This material often matches the rest of your teeth. The material for tooth-colored fillings bonds to tooth structure, allowing for a more conservative preparation
2. Porcelain Dental Crowns and Veneers
If your teeth have a lot of decay or damage, a filling may not be strong enough to restore the tooth’s functionality. In fact, a large filling may actually allow too much flexure, increasing the chance of future breakage or discomfort with function. In this instance, a dental crown may be the better option. A crown covers the entire tooth. This is typically done with a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown or an all-ceramic crown, which looks almost like natural tooth tissue. Plus, the crown strengthens the tooth.
Crowns are good on all teeth, but if the concern is primarily esthetics, and limited your front teeth, veneers may be a better choice. Like crowns, they cover discoloration, chips, and cracks. Veneers may only cover the front of your teeth, but a lesser amount of healthy tooth struture is removed than with dental crowns.
3. Composite Bonding
Composite bonding uses the same material that crafts tooth-colored fillings, but instead of using them to fill in cavities, your dentist can use composite bonding as an affordable alternative to porcelain veneers.
Composite bonding can usually be completed at about a fourth of the cost of lab fabricated veneers. Also, your dental benefit may be more likely to contribute to expense of composite boding than lab fabricated veneers.
A shade of composite resin will be selected to blend in with the rest of your teeth. The dentist removes little to no healthy tissue in the process, which is usually completed in one appointment. The benefit of this is there are no temporaries to worry about dislodging while waiting for a lab to craft a veneer or crown.
4. Dental Implant and Dental Bridge
If your teeth have severe damage, your dentist may not be able to rebuild or save the tooth. This is especially common on back teeth because they need to be strong to withstand the pressure of mastication. If the tooth cannot be saved, the dentist must extract it and replace it with a dental implant or bridge. Dental implants are much more expensive, but they durable, do not effect adjacent teeth, and are the closest replacement to natural teeth. However, the process to get an implant ready for restoration is long, and you may need additional procedures, such as a bone graft. This will be recommended if there is initially not enough boney support for the implant placement.
If an implant does not seem like a predictable, to costly, or time intensive treatment option, a dental bridge may be a good alternative. A dental bridge requires sound teeth on both sides of the missing tooth area. These teeth will be prepared to receive a crown, and a single unit will be fabricated to cover the teeth prepared and support a fake tooth, or teeth, between them.
Cavities, chips, and cracks are common. However, you can fix your teeth and improve their overall appearance. If you would like more information regarding cosmetic or restorative procedures, contact us at Silverstone Family Dental today. We are happy to answer all your questions.