Restorative Dentistry: Bringing back your smile

Crowns (Caps)

A crown, also known as a cap, is a tooth-shaped covering placed over the tooth to improve its strength or appearance. Crowns are used with bridges and over implants. They also are used to fix chips, gaps and unevenly sized teeth, or even to give you a whole new smile. Crowns are a more permanent solution than other cosmetic procedures and may be more cost effective over the long term.

There are several different kinds of crowns. The newest type is made of solid zirconia, which has the aesthetic appearance of porcelain but can handle the wear-and-tear that molars and other back teeth must withstand. We will consult with you and help you choose the best type of crown for your situation. However, for durability and aesthetic reasons, we often suggest zirconia.

Implants

Dental implants are the preferred way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. An implant actually refers to the underlying structure that a fixed (permanent) replacement tooth (or dentures) is secured to. It is like a replacement root for the tooth. The implant is made of titanium, or some type of strong ceramic, that is secured into the bone.

When most people use the term “implant,” however, they are referring to the entire process in which the implant is secured and a crown is placed over it. This procedure results in a secure and natural-looking replacement tooth.

The success rate for implants is extremely high, and for most people offers the best alternative to a natural tooth. However, not everyone is a candidate for implants. People need to have healthy bones and gums in order for an implant to succeed. Implants might not be suitable for heavy smokers and those with chronic disorders such as diabetes or heart disease. Your dentist will evaluate you to see if implants are suitable for you.

Bridges

In cases where a patient is not a candidate for an implant, a dental bridge can be used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. A bridge consists of crowns place over the teeth on both sides of the missing tooth. The crowns are affixed to a false tooth, or pontic, that is positioned where the missing tooth was. Pontics can be made of porcelain fused to metal or of porcelain alone, depending on the patient’s needs. 

Partial and Full Dentures

Pike Creek Dental can also provide partial or full dentures for patients who have lost numerous teeth and are not candidates for other methods of tooth replacement. Partial dentures are used for those who have lost some but not all of their teeth. Full dentures replace the entire mouth full of teeth.

Today’s dentures are greatly advanced over dentures of the past. They are both more natural looking and more comfortable. And, if you are a candidate for implants, dentures can be constructed that can be secured temporarily via the implants. The dentures are still removed for cleaning and sleeping.

When you want to insert the dentures, you simply click them onto the implants. To remove them, click them off. Dentures secured using implants have a more natural feel. They also are more stable and functional, which means you can eat more of the foods you love.