10 Options for Restoring Bad Teeth (Failing, Missing, Rotting)

10 Options for Restoring Bad Teeth (Failing, Missing, Rotting)

While a great white shark continuously grows row after row of razor-sharp teeth to replace those that are missing or worn, once our permanent teeth emerge, they are meant to last us a lifetime. However, sometimes, unforeseen circumstances limit the life of a tooth. For example, tooth damage may occur due to periodontal disease (gum disease), decay, a tooth fracture or some other type of a tooth injury: Should any of these issues occur, seeking assistance from a Periodontist who is experienced in tooth repair and restoration is essential.
If your tooth is salvageable, the extent of the damage is the most important factor when determining which restoring option is best for you.

1) Fillings

The first thing you may think of when considering ways to repair a bad tooth is the filling. This is probably because the filling is the most common repair option that dentists use.

Although a filling cannot restore an entire tooth, once the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, the filling replaces the entire cavity. Once the filling is placed, it essentially seals off the part of the tooth from which the cavity was removed, preventing further damage; thus, protecting the portion of healthy tooth that remains.

There are several materials used for fillings:

Silver amalgam – these fillings are easy to apply, durable and inexpensive; however, they are clearly visible.

Porcelain or composite resin – fillings made with these materials are not as durable as those created using the silver amalgam, but they are much less noticeable because they are typically the same color as the patient’s tooth.

Gold – most people do not choose to fill a cavity with gold; however, it is an option. These ‘fillings’ are created in a lab and once in place, can last up to 20 years.

2) Bonding

Dental bonding material usually consists of a composite resin or porcelain that can be dyed to match the patient’s natural tooth color. This treatment is used for restoring a broken or chipped tooth.The Periodontist applies the bonding material to the broken or chipped portion of the affected tooth and carefully shapes it until the correction appears natural. Bonding is used to fill in a crack, chip or to reattach a portion of tooth that has been broken off.

A bonding treatment is usually completed in a single session. With bonding, there are no customized replacement restorations that need to be created in the laboratory or follow-up visits to keep.Furthermore, bonding is one of the least-expensive restoration options available.

3) Restoring a Tooth with a Crown

While a filling or bonding procedure may be ideal for fixing a small area of decay or a chipped tooth, when more extensive repairs are needed due to a substantial amount of decay or a severely fractured tooth, for dental issues that are this bad, a crown may be the only feasible option.

A crown is custom-made to fit perfectly over the top of an affected tooth. Since the shade of the crown is made to match the patient’s natural tooth color, crowns are usually undetectable by others.

Crowns are durable and can last for years. Even so, patients need to avoid chewy foods, biting down on hard objects or crunching on pieces of ice. In addition, patients who subconsciously grind their teeth while they sleep should ask their Periodontist about how they can get a custom-designed night guard to wear at night. Restoring a tooth with a crown can be expensive; however, insurance usually covers a portion of the cost.

4) Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is used to ‘bridge the gap’ that is left when a single tooth or multiple teeth are missing. A dental bridge is anchored in place by the teeth located on either side of the gap.

An artificial tooth, or teeth, are attached to the middle of the dental bridge to fill the empty spacethat exists between the anchor teeth.

Bridges can vary greatly depending on the number of teeth that are missing, where they are located and which type of bridge is used.

Types of Dental Bridges: The Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridge

A tooth-supported fixed bridge requires the grinding down of each anchor tooth. This grinding process roughens up the anchor tooth to ensure that oncethe crowns responsible for holding the bridge in place are in position, they can be securely affixed to the natural tooth.

Types of Dental Bridges: The Resin-Bonded Bridge

A resin-bonded bridge involves the use of bonding wings consisting of porcelain or metal to the anchor teeth. This resin-bonded bridge is usually better than removable partial dentures; however, the bad news is that these bridges do not offer the longevity that dental implants do.

5) Traditional Dentures & Conventional Dentures

Dentures replace an entire arch of missing teeth. If an individual is missing all his or her teeth, a full set of dentures is required; however, if he or she is only missing teeth on one arch, a single denture will do. An upper denture covers the entire roof of the mouth. A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe, to leave room for the tongue.

Traditional dentures are removable and are not anchored to the jawbone the way that dental implants are: Instead, individuals use pastes specifically designed for use with dentures to hold these dental prostheses in place.

Traditional dentures are considered an affordable restoration option. However, one of the major drawbacks is that dentures are not a permanent part of the mouth; therefore, they tend to move around, can be uncomfortable to wear, which makes adjusting to them challenging for some.

Conventional Denture vs. Immediate Denture

A conventional denture procedure involves removing the remaining teeth, waiting for the healing process to be complete, which can take several months, and then creating a custom-designed denture. This procedure is bad for individuals who work outside the home because they will be without their teeth for some time.

Immediate dentures involve removal of the remaining teeth and the placement of apreviously-created, custom-designed denture directly thereafter. Although the patient leaves with a set of dentures,he or she will need to return in several months,after the inflammation associated with the tooth removal subsides, so the dentures can be relined.

Other Issues with Dentures

Dentures may make clicking noises upon speaking, coughing, eating and/or laughing. Dentures can even affect how well an individual tastes food. Also, while rare, there are instances when individuals have swallowed their dentures while eating or sleeping.

Since dentures only rest on top of the gingiva(gums), the jawbone is not stimulated. Without stimulation, the jawbone begins to deteriorate, which may negatively affect the shape of the face, making an individual appear older than he or she is: For some, up to 10 years.

Dental implants do stimulate the jawbone, which is one of the reasons people are choosing dental implants over traditional dentures.

6) Removable Partials/Flippers

Just like dentures, a partial/flipper is an affordable tooth-replacement option. However, these, too, can be unstable and uncomfortable. These prostheses can also impact speech and the way an individual eats. Once again, since the jawbone is not stimulated, deterioration is likely.

7) Dental Implants

Today, due to their realistic appearance and longevity, every tooth replacement option is compared to the dental implant. Although dental implants are more expensive than removable dentures, partials and flippers, they do offer numerous benefits. An implant replaces the root of a lost tooth,eliminating concerns related to facial changes due to bone deterioration.

After the artificial root is in place, a realistic-looking crown is used to replace the visible portion of the tooth. Since the implant is permanent, there are no concerns related to swallowing it. In addition, a dental implant is the restoration solution that most closely mimics the natural tooth, an implant can be brushed, flossed and cared for just like a natural tooth.

8) An Overdenture

An overdenture is a denture that is attached to dental implants; whereas, a traditional denture is bad for the jawbone because it just sits on the gingiva, an overdenture is beneficial to the jawbone because it is attached to implants.

Overdentures have special attachments designed to snap onto the implants.These dentures are created for the upper and lower arches; however, they are used more frequently on the lower arch because traditional dentures are typically less stable there than on the upper arch. To ensure adequate support, overdentures require at least two dental implants.

Overdentures should be removed and cleaned daily. In addition, they must be removed prior to going to sleep. The gums must also be gently cleaned upon removal.

9) Veneers

Veneers offer a quick way to beautify one’s smile, but they are a costly solution. This restoration treatment is ideal for people who have chipped, stained, or gapped teeth. However, veneers are irreversible; therefore, choosing to have this restoration treatment is a big decision.

Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are custom-tailored to fit the contour of each tooth. A veneer is bonded to a natural tooth to fix its color, shape or to help fill in gaps. Veneers offer a beautiful, natural-looking result, while providing the patient with resilience and strength. Although this restoration treatment is costly, veneers can last up to 20 years.

10) Professional Whitening Treatments

When teeth become discolored, people may begin to feel self-conscious. Many times, this discoloration is caused by the foods we eat and lifestyle choices, like using tobacco products. Foods known to stain the teeth include chocolate, coffee, tea, dark-colored wines and berries. Another common reason for discoloration stems from thinning enamel.

Age also plays a role in tooth color: As we age, our enamel thins and the dentin beneath frequently begins showing through. Since the dentin is more yellow than the enamel, the teeth begin looking discolored.

Some people naturally have slightly gray or yellow tooth color. Despite the reason for the discoloration, a professional whitening treatment may be the solution. One professional whitening treatment can lighten an individual’s tooth color by as much as 10 shades and, with proper care, the results attained can last up to a year.

If you need a tooth restoration treatment or you have a missing tooth that needs to be replaced, please contact Lamas Dental Specialists today. Dr. William P. Lamas is a dedicated periodontist who is helping people in and around Miami attain the beautiful smiles they have always wanted. Call his office today at 305-440-4114 to schedule your free initial consultation.