General dentistry includes the prevention and treatment of dental caries (‘cavities’), infections and oral diseases. Depending on the individual case, different forms of restorations are necessary. ‘Cavities‘ form on teeth due to the bacteria we have naturally in our mouth. When conditions in the mouth provide a more acidic environment (sweets, citrus, dry mouth, old leaky metal fillings), the bacteria eat away at the tooth with its by-products, creating a ‘cavity’. At this point the cavity can spread to other teeth, as well as deeper into the tooth, causing a risk of infection and possible need for a root canal.
Types of Restorations:
- Composite Fillings (White, tooth-coloured fillings) are used to repair teeth with decay, fractures or cracks. The decayed portion of the tooth is removed and filled with a composite resin that will match your tooth aesthetically, as well as restore the original function of your tooth.
- Dental Crowns (or “caps”) are a type of restoration that covers the whole tooth surface. They are necessary when there are significant cracks present, or if there is not enough natural tooth structure left (due to decay/breakage) to withstand biting forces without breaking. A crown will cover the entire tooth and strengthen and save it from further breakdown. Teeth with root canals tend to require crowns, as they become brittle after the nerve/blood vessels are removed from the tooth. Crowns can be made with different materials at the dental laboratory (metal, porcelain, zirconia, gold etc); your dentist will discuss the ideal material for your individual case.
- Bridges are fixed restorations, similar to a crown, but made to span the space of a missing tooth and attach to the teeth adjacent to the gap. Bridges help prevent the teeth surrounding a gap from “collapsing” into the space, causing misalignment and possible bite issues. Bridges are one of many ways to fill the space of a missing tooth; we are more than happy to discuss all the other options with you.