Tooth restoration has given countless people a bright, healthy new smile. Today's technologies give you more options than ever before — possibly too many, if you have trouble deciding on the proper course of action for your needs and budget. Here are four critical questions that can help you narrow your focus and request the services you need from a dentist in your area.
1. Do You Have Jagged or Discolored Teeth?
Not everyone is born with perfect teeth, and many of those who are end up damaging those beauties over time. If you hate opening your mouth in public thanks to jagged or discolored teeth, you'll be relieved to know that this sort of problem can be corrected quickly and easily. You may not even need to have the problematic teeth capped. If the teeth haven't sustained serious structural damage, you may need nothing more than a cosmetic cover to fill out their shape or cover any discoloration that tooth whitening techniques can't remove. The two least invasive options are the following:
Veneers are thin, shell-like pieces of porcelain shaped to resemble natural tooth surfaces. Your dentist will shave a tiny amount of enamel off of your front teeth to make way for the veneers, which are then cemented into place. Porcelain veneers can cost up to $2,500 per tooth, but they'll last for 15 years or more. Cheaper composite veneers are more likely to last 5 to 7 years.
Bonding involves filling in gaps or broken parts of teeth with a ceramic material, which is then formed and smoothed to match the natural enamel. Bonding is less expensive than veneers, costing up to $600 per tooth at most. But they're also prone to discoloration over time, especially if you're a smoker.
2. How Deep Does That Crack in Your Tooth Extend?
A tooth that has sustained a crack or fracture deep enough to expose the pulp chamber most likely needs a permanent crown. The crown not only strengthens the damaged tooth, preventing further damage; it also protects the pulp chamber against invading bacteria and reduces the sensitivity caused by exposed nerve tissue. Your dentist will first file down enough of the enamel to accommodate the crown, then make a wax impression of the remaining tooth. This impression will enable lab technicians to shape your permanent crown precisely. While that process is going on, you'll wear a temporary crown to protect the tooth.
There's one scenario in which extracting the tooth may be wiser than crowning it. If the crack in your tooth extends all the way down into the root, your dentist won't be able to cover that part of the tooth at all. in that case, you'll want to have the tooth removed and then replaced with an artificial tooth.
3. Are You Missing Teeth -- and If So, How Many?
Teeth sometimes fall prey to periodontal disease, impact injuries, and other circumstances, leaving you with an empty space along where a tooth should be. The good news is that a missing tooth can easily be replaced with appliances such as the following:
A dental implant is a permanent crown attached to a metal post. In this procedure, the dentist drills the metal post into your jaw. After several months of healing time (during which the post fuses with the surrounding bone), the permanent crown is added. This method gives you the closes possible alternative to a natural tooth, allowing you to brush and floss normally.
Bridges or Dentures
A permanent dental bridge is appliance that includes a false tooth, or sometimes several false teeth. One or both ends of the bridge will be anchored to your own teeth in the form of permanent crowns. You can also opt for a removable kind of bridge known as a partial denture. If you are missing an entire top or bottom row of teeth, you can have full dentures fitted. In addition to the option of standard dentures, you may have the option of implant-secured dentures that won't shift or slip in your mouth.
4. Do You Want Long-Term Value or Short-Term Affordability?
When you have to choose between implant-based dental appliances and traditional bridges or dentures, you might automatically rule out the former due to cost reasons. It's true that implants can cost much more than traditional appliances, but it's also true that they are more likely to remain trouble-free for life. By contrast, an ordinary denture or bridge will be easier to afford up front, but in years to come, you may have to have your appliance re-lined or even replaced several times. Ask your dentist if an installment payment plan or other strategy might allow you to take advantage of implants' long-term value.
No matter what kind of tooth restoration you select, you can regain a smile that you'll be glad to show off to the whole world. Contact a dentist in your area to schedule a consultation!Share