Repairing Decay, Defects and Hypersensitivity
Repairing teeth that need partial restoration is what dentists call Operative Dentistry (think Operations on Teeth). If you have a cavity or tooth defect, have lost enamel or have sensitivity, then this is the place for you.
Fillings: Chocolate or Vanilla?
Wouldn’t it be great if fillings came in flavors? While that may never be possible, we do offer two types of fillings for fixing cavities and tooth defects: tooth colored fillings and fluoride releasing fillings.
What If a Filling Was Invisible?
Gone are the days of dark metal fillings. Nowadays, dentists have a number of tooth colored materials that can be used for fillings that are absolutely lifelike. Tooth colored fillings, also called white composite resin fillings, are a great way to replace decayed and infected tooth structure so that teeth can stay healthy.
What If a Filling Could Make Your Tooth Stronger?
For people with a history of frequent cavities or with high risk of cavities because of age, diet or a compromised immune system, fluoride releasing fillings are an excellent way to treat cavities while strengthening teeth and preventing future cavities. These fillings are still white, tooth-colored fillings; however, the material is particularly designed to provide a fluoride boost to the surrounding tooth. Fluoride releasing fillings have the added benefit of reducing sensitivity because they both cover and seal the pores of the tooth.
Who Wants to Save Money?
Repairing cavities when they are still small is one major way to save money on dental work. Why? Because small fillings are less expensive. Removing decay and placing a filling also stops the cavity from spreading and prevents it from infecting the nerve and causing a major toothache.
The Extra-Strong Filling Nobody Knows About
Have you ever heard of an onlay? How about an inlay? Most people haven’t! Inlays and Onlay are special, extra strong fillings made from the same stuff as crowns and bridges. These fillings are made to last.
Inlays go inside the tooth where cavities used to be. Onlays go on the top of the tooth when cavities are extra large. Both are extremely strong and completely resistant to stain and color changes.
Inlays and onlays are made in a dental laboratory and then bonded to the teeth. This makes them stronger than regular fillings that sometimes shrink during the hardening phase.
Dental insurances don’t like that inlays and onlays cost more than regular fillings because they are made in a lab with superior crown materials. For most insurances, they are not a covered benefit.
The last time I used an onlay to repair a tooth was for a young lady who was born with a defect in her back teeth which allowed cavities to form more quickly. In her case, fixing the void in a way that would last as long as possible meant using a porcelain onlay. Though it cost the same as a crown, the onlay was able to fix the defect and preserve more of the tooth structure, which is what mattered to her parents.
Sensitive teeth are miserable. They give shocks of pain when least expected. They zing when you eat candy and sting when you pick out popcorn kernels. They ache from hot coffee and twinge with ice cold. They even hurt just from breathing! Ughhh!
Sensitivity usually happens when the inside of the tooth is exposed. Healthy teeth have the inner layers of dentin protected under the hard, white enamel. Healthy teeth are also shielded by a thick layer of gum tissue. With either enamel erosion or gum recession, these inner, more sensitive parts of the tooth get exposed to air and start the uncomfortable cycle of sensitivity.
Fortunately, there are several ways to treat sensitive teeth:
- Fluoride Varnish: This varnish binds to teeth where they hurt. It temporarily seals off the open pores of dentin and cementum that cause sensitivity. This is the least expensive way to treat sensitivity and has the additional benefit of strengthening teeth and preventing cavities; however, it gradually wears off and needs to be reapplied every 3-4 months for continual relief.
- Composite Bonding: Bonding provides long term relief for sensitive teeth by covering the spots of exposed underlayers of the tooth with protective, tooth-like composite material. Composite bonding can provide sensitivity relief for several years instead of several months.