What is Tooth Restoration?
Tooth restoration encompasses several dental techniques to replace or repair lost or damaged teeth. Fractures, decay, disease and deterioration of an earlier restoration may all lead to damaged tooth structure. The most common tooth restoration techniques include amalgam, gold, porcelain or composite resin fillings, dental implants and crowns, bridges, and dentures.
What Are Fillings?
Fillings restore the structure and function of teeth undermined by decay. Severe decay leads to a hole in the tooth called a cavity. The filling literally fills the cavity and makes the tooth strong again. Your dentist first cleans the cavity and treats any residual decay. Then she inserts the filling. Once in place, the filling also helps prevent further decay.
What Are Crowns and Bridges?
Crowns and bridges are permanent prosthetics implanted by your dentist or a specialist prosthodontist. The dentist models crowns on your existing teeth. They help to restore the form and function of a broken, decayed or missing tooth. Sometimes they fix onto dental root implants in cases of a lost or extracted tooth. Bridges span the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. Cemented or anchored in place, they help to stop the other teeth moving out of alignment.
What Are Dentures or False Teeth?
Dentures or "false teeth" are separate structures made of acrylic resin. They insert into the mouth and replace all or several of your teeth. Unlike other tooth restorations, you must remove and clean them regularly.
How to Avoid Tooth Decay
To avoid the worst effects of dental decay, you should practice good oral hygiene and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit your alcohol intake, and stop smoking. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss between your teeth, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to help stop the build-up of plaque.
When to See Your Dentist
If you suffer from decayed, damaged, or missing teeth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dental practitioner will recommend the right course of treatment and dental restoration for you. She'll also recommend ways in which you can avoid dental health problems recurring and will make appointments for you to have regular check-ups. As with any potentially harmful condition, the sooner your dentist discovers dental decay or damage, the easier and more effective is the treatment they can offer.