Restorative dentistry combines the principles of endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics. It is the management of tooth disease in the oral cavity, tooth and supporting structures. Restorative dentistry also includes the rehabilitation of the tooth to its functional and aesthetic requirements of the patient. Many treatments fall under the heading of restorative dentistry including fillings and crowns.
The main reason you might would need a filling is due to the presence of tooth decay, most commonly known as a cavity. Tooth decay occurs as frequently as the common cold. Bacteria found in the mouth combines with the foods we eat and creates acid, which breaks down tooth enamel causing cavity formation. Tooth decay can easily be prevented by brushing and flossing on a regular basis. The only symptom of tooth decay is a toothache once a cavity has formed, however with regular visits to the dentist, tooth decay can be diagnosed through x-rays and treated before a toothache starts.
Fillings stop the spread of tooth decay and prevent further damage to the entire tooth.
Silver fillings (made of amalgam and mercury) used to be the standard material for fillings because they are durable, strong and less expensive in comparison to composite (or tooth-colored fillings). However, due to the possibility of mercury leakage and tooth breakage from the expansion of the amalgam they are rarely used. At Tennyson Lake Dental we prefer to use tooth-colored fillings to any alternatives because of the aesthetic and greater health appeal. The composite filling requires less tooth reduction and actually rebuilds the tooth. The silver mercury fillings simply fill a hole without strengthening the tooth. Also, the composite filling does not contain mercury, which is healthier. We think a wise health choice is composite fillings rather than silver mercury fillings.
When decay becomes severe a crown may be needed. A filling becomes a patch and will not prevent further damage to the tooth.
Crowns, also known as caps, are placed onto an existing tooth to correct large amounts of decay, wear and breakage of the teeth. Crowns support and protect the existing tooth structure, ultimately saving your natural teeth. While there are many options for the materials that a crown can be made out of, porcelain (tooth colored) is the most unobtrusive to your smile. Gold crowns are the strongest material used, porcelain is the most natural looking and porcelain to metal combines the best of both options.
Dr. Joseph Hidalgo will work with you to decide which treatment option is the best depending on your goals and the functional needs of your smile. If you have been putting off your regularly scheduled dental check-up, don't put it off any longer.