Teeth can be damaged by many insults including trauma, improper brushing, teeth clenching/grinding, and acidic food or acid reflux. However, the major reason why teeth need restoration is tooth decay, or dental caries.
What is dental caries?
Dental plaque, in presence of sugar, generates acid that dissolves the hard component of tooth, and the remaining weakened substance collapses creating a cavity. As the cavity deepens, more and more bacteria become nested in softened tooth tissue, further expanding the damage.
At the very beginning of the process, when the damage is limited to the outer shell of the tooth (enamel) and the cavity is not present yet, proper removal of plaque and omission of sweet and/or sour foods or drinks may lead to natural restoration of minerals in the affected spot: the enamel becomes hard again, although discoloration usually stays. Use of high fluoride content toothpaste, which we may prescribe, can facilitate remineralization.
If softening of dental tissue and infection progress through enamel and reach into the deeper layer of tooth (dentin), the diseased tissue has to be removed and then the tooth restored to its original structure, function, and esthetics. Relatively minor cavities can be repaired using fillings, while extensively damaged tooth may require a crown for adequate long-lasting restoration. Discolored, chipped, or significantly affected by caries front teeth can be also esthetically restored using veneers.
In advanced caries, infection expands through both enamel and dentin and reaches the inner part of the tooth (called pulp) where nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissue components are located. Repair of the tooth wall would not be sufficient for successful treatment, because the infected pulp left inside the tooth would cause major problems. Thus, these cases require removal of pulp tissue in a root canal therapy procedure before restoring the tooth to proper shape and appearance.
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Under local anesthesia administered to make the procedure painless and stress-free, Dr. Nurminsky will remove diseased tissue from the tooth and will replace it with filling material to restore tooth to its normal shape and function. In most cases, we used composite materials which will be matched to your tooth color for highly esthetic results.
Crown is a protective tooth-shaped "cap" that, when cemented into place, encases all or most of the visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials including metals, ceramics, and combinations thereof, to provide the best fit for your esthetic and functional needs. Used to repair teeth that have been extensively damaged by caries or trauma, crown restores the tooth’s shape and size, strength, and appearance. During the procedure, under local anesthesia we will remove diseased tissue from the tooth, replace it with composite material as necessary to maintain the tooth integrity, and then reshape the tooth to accommodate for the crown. The crown itself will be manufactured in laboratory and cemented in place at second appointment, typically two weeks later. In the interim, you will be wearing a temporary crown made of tooth-colored plastic material.
Veneers are very thin shells, typically made of ceramics, that are bonded to the front of your teeth to enhance the beauty of your smile. Veneers can be used to restore teeth that are broken, chipped, worn, fractured, or irregularly shaped. They can also cover tooth discolorations that are resistant to other treatments. Veneers are custom-made for perfect fit to your teeth. The procedure is generally similar to that of the dental crowns, however very little (if any) tooth reduction is required, usually not more than the thickness of a fingernail.