Patients need restorative dental work for a variety of reasons. The type of restorative materials and procedures chosen depend on the size of the area to be repaired, the location in the mouth, aesthetic expectations, and patient preferences. At Laurelhurst Dentistry, we offer many different restorative options to fit your needs.
Composite Dental Fillings
At Laurelhurst Dentistry, we provide tooth-colored composite fillings made of glass or quartz filler embedded in a resin base. Composite fillings perform well when used in small to mid-sized restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. In these conditions, they provide good durability and resistance to fracture.
Tooth-colored composite fillings offer our patients several advantages:
- Composite fillings often allow the dentist to make a more conservative tooth preparation than when using silver amalgam. This means less tooth structure is removed which results in a smaller filling.
- Because composite bonds directly to tooth structure, it does not require an undercut preparation the way an amalgam filling does. This results in lower risk of tooth fracture when compared to amalgam fillings.
- Dental composite comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades which blend well with existing teeth, preserving a clean, natural-looking smile.
Although a good choice overall, there are two issues to consider when getting tooth-colored composite fillings:
- Cost – Composite fillings generally cost more than amalgam fillings. This is due to a higher cost of materials and the additional time that it takes to place a composite filling.
- Durability – Composite fillings will show signs of wear more quickly than amalgam fillings when used in very large restorations.
At Laurelhurst Dentistry, we believe it is important to offer patients a variety of options to fit their personal preferences, budget, and esthetic expectations. These options include the placement of dental amalgam fillings. Dental amalgam is a filling material made up of mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metallic elements. Dental amalgam fillings are durable, highly resistant to wear, and generally less expensive than other filling material options. Disadvantages include:
- Generally requires removal of more tooth structure than when composite filling material is used
- An increase in the risk of tooth fracture over time
- Appearance does not blend in with natural tooth structure
While some concerns have been raised regarding the safety of dental amalgam and mercury content, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have all found dental amalgam to be a safe, effective restorative material.
Traditional And CEREC Dental Crowns
Crowns are often the recommended treatment for teeth with cracks, fractures, or large fillings. Crowns restore both strength and beauty to broken down or poorly shaped teeth. At Laurelhurst Dentistry, we offer gold or beautiful, full-porcelain crowns. Depending on the teeth to be treated, we may choose the option of a traditional lab-fabricated crown or make your crown on-site using CEREC CAD-CAM technology.
Traditional crowns generally require two appointments to complete. The tooth is prepared during the first appointment and a temporary crown is placed. The patient then returns in one to two weeks for removal of the temporary and cementation of the final crown. When the CEREC system is used, porcelain crowns and onlays can be completed in a single visit, eliminating the need for temporary crowns. This state-of-the-art technology allows us to create high-quality, porcelain crowns with efficiency and beauty.
At Laurelhurst Dentistry, we provide dental bridges that replace one or more missing teeth. Dental bridges can be made using porcelain, gold, or a combination of these materials. A fixed bridge involves the placement of crowns on teeth adjacent to a missing tooth. These teeth are called abutment teeth. These crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge. A pontic (false tooth) is connected to the crowns and replaces the lost tooth.
A dental bridge is fitted precisely to match remaining teeth and provide a comfortable, functional bite. Impressions of your teeth are taken and sent to a lab. Between appointments, a temporary bridge will be provided to protect your teeth. A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. Good dental care of these teeth is critically important, as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
Dental implants have been one of the most successful and influential advancements in dentistry over the last decade. At Laurelhurst Dentistry, we utilize state-of-the-art technology in dental restorations involving dental implants.
Dental implants can be used to permanently replace single teeth or multiple teeth, and to improve the retention of partial and full dentures. Dental Implant restorations consist of two parts.
First, the implant body is made of titanium and is placed directly into the bone. After a healing period of a few months, an implant abutment is attached to the implant body. The abutment is what takes the place of the tooth in the mouth. We then fabricate a custom crown to fit the abutment. The result is a beautiful, long-term restoration that is virtually indistinguishable from the natural teeth in your mouth.
Dental implants may also be used to improve the retention of an existing partial or full denture. When used to improve the retention of a denture, the abutment is shaped so that it attaches directly to the denture itself. By varying the number of implants and the type of attachments, the amount of retention can be increased by different amounts.
A dental implant requires no alterations to adjacent teeth. Diligent daily oral hygiene is required for implants to stay clean and healthy. It’s also important to regularly visit Laurelhurst Dentistry for routine follow-up appointments and cleanings to keep your new smile healthy and bright!
Dentures can replace some or all missing teeth. Depending on your personal needs, there are different types to choose from
Traditional Complete Dentures – This type of denture replaces all of the upper and/or lower teeth. They are held in place by the natural anatomy of the mouth.
Overdentures – Giving dentures more stability and better fit, an overdenture is a type of denture that is placed over dental implants and typically “snaps” onto the implants.
Partial Dentures – A removable partial denture attaches to your natural teeth with clasps that keep them in place, completing your smile by filling out the spaces created by missing teeth. Partial dentures are constructed of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases connected by a metal framework. Your natural teeth are used as stable supports for removable partial dentures instead of dental implants.
The alignment of your jaw will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges shrink due to teeth extraction. All types of dentures will experience wear over time, and will need to be replaced or realigned in order to maintain proper jaw alignment. Regular dental examinations at Laurelhurst Dentistry are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for any changes or potential gum disease.
Oral Surgery/Tooth Extractions
The dentists at Laurelhurst Dentistry may determine with you that one of your teeth needs to be extracted. Tooth extraction can occur for a variety of reasons, such as trauma or broken teeth, poor positioning in the mouth, or teeth that are unable to be repaired. A tooth may also be severely decayed or have advanced periodontal disease.
The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems involving your ability to chew, problems with your jaw joints, and shifting teeth. Regular appointments and preventative measures recommended by the dentists and staff at Laurelhurst Dentistry can help you to avoid these complications.
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that occurs when the gum tissues and the bone around teeth become inflamed. Also known as gum disease or periodontitis, this condition is marked by irritated gum tissue due to the presence of the bacteria found in plaque.
Plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar) if not consistently removed each day. Periodontal disease is best prevented by thorough daily brushing and flossing of your teeth, along with routine visits to the dental office.
If you notice that your gum tissue is swollen, red, and bleeding easily, it’s important to let us know right away. If left untreated, the gums can separate from the teeth, causing spaces to form between the teeth and the gums along the gumline. The result is the deterioration of gum tissue and jawbone, leading to tooth loss.