Our teeth allow us to eat, talk, and smile. When a problem arises, restorative dentistry allows us to get missing or damaged teeth back to normal shape and function so you can focus on the rest of your life. The goal of restorative dentistry is to bring back your natural smile and prevent future health issues. Dr. Amy Nordquist offers exceptional restorative and cosmetic dentistry treatment that will help give you a beautiful smile that you are excited to show off.
Cavities are tiny holes in your teeth that result from tooth decay. The bacteria that causes the cavity must be removed in order to prevent further damage to the tooth. Once the cavity is removed, either a resin or porcelain filling material will be used to restore the tooth back to its normal shape, size, and function. The type of material that is used will depend on the location and size of the cavity. A composite resin material is moulded directly in the mouth and is preferred to restore small cavities. Porcelain fillings (inlays) are made outside the mouth which allows them to be made with a perfect fit and from stronger, more esthetic materials. Porcelain inlays generally last longer than composite resin fillings.
Onlays with CEREC
When a tooth is too damaged to support a filling, but a full coverage crown is not yet needed, an onlay can be used to restore the tooth back to normal size, shape, and function. An onlay generally covers one or more cusps (the biting surface) of a back tooth. Onlays are a more conservative option compared to a crown which covers the entire tooth. With our CEREC technology, we can deliver an onlay in a single session, no additional visit is necessary like with a lab-made onlay.
Crowns with CEREC
A crown is necessary when more than half of a tooth is decayed, fractured, or damaged. A crown covers the entire tooth structure that is above the gumline, making it a full-coverage restoration. Crowns can be used to protect teeth from breaking while also hiding imperfections like discoloration, cracks, or old silver fillings. In the past, crowns were made by a laboratory which involved an unpleasant impression, a temporary crown, and a follow up visit to cement the final crown. With our CEREC technology, we can deliver a crown in a single session!
Extractions and Bone Grafting
Unfortunately, there are times when a tooth needs to be removed from the mouth. Despite every effort to save it, an extensively damaged tooth can compromise your oral health as well as your overall health and can lead to serious issues if not addressed right away. The most common reasons for tooth extraction are severe decay and advanced periodontal disease. A tooth extraction refers to the removal of a tooth from it’s socket. Following the removal of a tooth, Dr. Nordquist may recommend the socket be grafted. Bone grafting is done to preserve the density of the jawbone. It keeps the bony walls from caving in, providing a firm, solid foundation for a dental implant in the future.
In the event that a tooth is lost, it is best to replace that missing tooth to avoid further damage to the surrounding teeth and structures Following a tooth extraction, there are generally three options to restore a missing tooth space.
- A removable option would involve an acrylic retainer with one or more teeth attached to it that replaces the missing teeth for esthetic and chewing purposes. A removable appliance must be removed when sleeping at night and often requires removal after eating to remove debris embedded under the appliance.
- A bridge utilizes the teeth on either side of the missing tooth space as abutments to support the restoration. Bridges are considered a “fixed” option as they do not require removal from the mouth on a daily basis. A bridge is a great option when treatment is already required on the teeth adjacent to the space.
- A dental implant is the most natural tooth replacement option. After a tooth is removed, a dental implant replaces the missing root(s) of the tooth. After several months of healing, the implant is restored with an abutment and implant crown that will restore the natural shape and function of the missing tooth. Implants have an excellent success rate and are the longest lasting tooth replacement option available.
Dentures are artificial, entirely removable teeth, typically made of acrylic, that can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth with dentures can improve your ability to eat and speak, and restore a youthful appearance. Dentures are the least expensive option for replacing missing teeth, however overtime, they become loose and tend to become uncomfortable. There are several types of dentures to consider, including:
- Complete dentures- used when all of the teeth are missing
- Partial dentures- used when only some of the teeth are missing
- Immediate dentures- made prior to the removal of all remaining teeth and are delivered immediately after the extractions. Immediate dentures are used as a temporary solution while the bone and gums heal from extractions. Once the bone and tissue has fully healed (usually about 3-6 mo after extraction), a conventional denture can be made that fits snugly against the gum tissue.
- Implant supported dentures- dentures that rest on implants to help keep the denture more stable when you talk and chew. Implant supported dentures can be made removable or permanently fixed in place.
The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint which connects the lower jaw to the rest of the head. Temporomandibular joint disorders (or TMJD) occur when one or both of the jaw joints becomes stressed, injured, or misaligned. TMJD results from factors such as stress, bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) arthritis in the TMJ, or trauma/injury to the head, neck or jaw. These disorders generally manifest as
- clicking, popping, or grinding sounds in the jaw when opening or closing
- pain in the jaw or ear when chewing
- frequent headaches
- tension in the neck or shoulders
- inability to open wide to yawn or chew
- clenching your teeth when focusing on something like the driving, working on the computer, or watching television
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, ask Dr. Nordquist to evaluate you for TMJD. She may recommend an oral orthotic to relieve your symptoms and prevent further damage to your joints.