5 Options for Restoring Damaged or Missing Teeth
Permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime; however, there are a variety of issues that could drastically reduce the longevity of a tooth. Gum disease, tooth decay and a dental injury are all detrimental to the teeth and need to be addressed as soon as possible. Dr. William P. Lamas is an experienced periodontist in Miami who repairs and restores damaged teeth using various techniques. His restoration options include numerous types of fillings, dental implants, crowns, dental bonding as well as dentures.
1. Dental Bonding
Dr. Lamas can use a composite resin that matches the color of the patient’s teeth to repair a chipped, decayed, discolored or fractured tooth, or to protect an exposed root as well as to make a shortened tooth appear longer. He can also use this resin to change the shape of a tooth or close gaps between one’s teeth.
Dental bonding is one of the least expensive cosmetic dental procedures available and the procedure can be completed in a single visit. The length of time the bonded material remains intact relies greatly on the patient’s oral habits and the amount of bonding that was required to achieve a successful result: On average, the results attained during a dental bonding procedure typically last for several years before any repairs are necessary.
Although a filling cannot be used to replace an entire tooth, they are ideal for replacing the portion of a tooth that Dr. William P. Lamas had to remove due to decay. Today, filling options vary from silver amalgam to gold and porcelain or composite resin fillings. Silver amalgam consists of silver, zinc, tin and copper mixed with mercury; whereas, composite resin fillings are made of tooth-colored glass and plastic materials.
Types of fillings:
Silver Amalgam and Composite Resin
– the benefit of the silver amalgam fillings is that they are inexpensive and durable; however, they are visible. The tooth-colored fillings are less noticeable, but they are more expensive. The metal fillings last from 10 to 15 years, the composite resin fillings last 5 years or longer.
– these fillings are tooth-colored. They resist staining and usually last more than 15 years. The cost of a porcelain filling is comparable to the cost associated with a gold filling.
– These tooth-colored fillings consist of a special kind of glass and acrylic. The glass ionomer filling is usually used when a filling is needed below the gum line as well as when performing dental work for a young child. A glass ionomer filling is relatively inexpensive and can last up to 5 years.
Dental insurance typically covers a silver amalgam filling; however, if the patient would rather have a filling that consists of a different material, he or she just needs to make up the difference.
3. Dental Crowns (Caps)
In reality, a crown takes the place of the tooth (on the surface). It completely covers the portion of the tooth that remains above the gum line. A crown can be used to restore the look and natural function of a broken tooth, of a tooth with a large filling or to protect a weak tooth. A crown is also used to cover a dental implant, on a tooth that has undergone a root canal or over teeth that are worn down due to bruxism (i.e., grinding), over a discolored tooth, as well as over a misshapen or fractured tooth. Crowns are available in a variety of materials, including all porcelain, all metal or porcelain that is fused to metal.
When choosing a crown with porcelain, Dr. William P. Lamas will match the color of the crown to the color of the individual’s natural teeth. This ensures that the new tooth will blend beautifully with the patient’s remaining teeth.
Crowns offer a long-term solution; however, patients should avoid certain foods. Hard foods can cause a crown to become chipped; whereas, extremely chewy foods may pull the crown free. Therefore, individuals who have crowns should not consume jawbreakers, pieces of ice and extremely chewy foods like taffy. Furthermore, patients who grind their teeth need to talk with Dr. Lamas about attaining a custom-made night guard to protect their teeth while they sleep.
The number of teeth an individual is having replaced determines whether he or she needs a single denture, a full set of dentures or a partial set of dentures. While a removable dental prosthesis can replace a single tooth, several teeth or an entire arch of teeth, these prostheses are not anchored into the gums or jawbone; therefore, they are held in place using clips and/or specially-designed pastes. One of the main advantages of dentures is their affordability.
Replacing missing teeth is essential because once the teeth are no longer present in the mouth, the facial muscles usually begin to sag: Dentures can help fill out the face to help an individual appear younger than he or she would have appeared without them.
Kinds of dentures:
– when some natural teeth are healthy and stable enough to remain intact, Dr. William P. Lamas can leave these teeth in place to preserve the jawbone as well as to provide support and stability to the denture. The overdenture is designed to fit over the patient’s remaining natural teeth (or over dental implants).
– this denture is placed on the day that the natural teeth are removed. Prior to the visit to remove the remaining natural teeth, Dr. Lamas will measure and make models of the patient’s jaw. The benefit of the immediate denture is that the patient will not have to be without teeth as his or her mouth heals; however, once healing is complete, the denture may need to be adjusted.
– this denture is created once the natural teeth have been removed and all of the tissues have healed (which could take several months).
5. Dental Implants
Dental implants closely resemble a natural tooth in many ways. For example, a dental implant is unique because it is the only dental restoration solution that replaces the root of the missing tooth; thus, preserving the jawbone by preventing bone deterioration (through resorption). In addition, each implant is custom-designed to blend beautifully with the patient’s remaining teeth.
Implants consist of materials like titanium and zirconia, both of which are compatible with the human body. In fact, these materials are designed in such a way as to encourage bone growth around them: This process is referred to as osseointegration. Once the osseointegration process is complete, the implant and the bone are essentially one. While some patients must wait until the osseointegration process is complete for a replacement tooth (i.e., a dental crown) to be attached, many of Dr. William P. Lamas’ patients are eligible to receive their implants and dental crowns at the same time, during a single session.
If you are missing teeth and would like to learn more about the options available to you, contact Lamas Dental Specialists at 305.440.4114 to schedule your free consultation. Dr. William P. Lamas is a compassionate, understanding and experienced periodontist in Miami who can help restore your smile.