When you have a cavity, the dentist removes the decay from your tooth, but a hole is still left. Fillings are used to restore and fill-in that hole, sealing out bacteria and food particles from getting in again and preventing further decay. The filling material we use are composite resins, which are durable and tooth-colored. Though fillings are a revolutionary treatment, it is important to remember that they are not a fix all, and cavities can still develop around the filling if oral hygiene is poor. It is always important to pay attention to home care, diet, oral hygiene, and to visit us regularly for check-ups.
Sometimes cavities can affect the tooth structure so much that a typical composite filling isn't enough to restore the tooth. Stainless steel crowns are a solution, capping the tooth crown completely with a durable long-lasting metal shell. After the tooth is cleaned and dried, the dentist carefully selects and shapes the crown and cements it over the tooth. As always, it is still important to practice good oral hygiene, so that plaque doesn't build up and irritate the gums around the crown.
Pulpal therapy, AKA "baby root canal", pulpotomy, or pulpectomy is a treatment for when there is inflammation or infection in the roots of the tooth, causing pain, tenderness, or discoloration. To treat this, the dentist carefully removes the infected soft tissue or pulp, cleans and medicates the root canal, then fills and seals the tooth. Finally, a crown is placed on the tooth to protect and restore the tooth to full function. It is virtually painless and saves the natural tooth, limiting the need for ongoing treatments like space maintainers, dentures, or implants that can accompany extractions. But why save baby teeth if they aren't permanent? Because they play an important role! They guide permanent teeth during eruption, and help with speech, chewing, and self-confidence.
For more information, see AAE's page on Root Canals
Porcelain Crowns, also known as PFM (Porcelain Fused to Metal) crowns, are crowns that are made of porcelain and tooth colored. They are more cosmetic than Stainless Steel Crowns, and are often recommended for adult teeth. Each PFM is created specifically for the patient by a lab and once cemented, often indistinguishable from your natural teeth. After removing decay and shapping the tooth, we take a mold of your dentition and occlusion, at the same time creating and cementing a temporary crown. We then design and create your crown, and cement the final PFM over your tooth.
Composite Resin Bonding: Composite bonding is a cosmetic technique where the dentist attaches composite resin on the tooth to change the color and shape for cosmetic purposes, restoring fractured or chipped teeth, and/or filling in gaps. Composite bonding is a quick, minimally invasive and inexpensive procedure with natural-looking results. Bonding agent is applied to the cleaned tooth, then composite resin is molded around the tooth and hardened by a curing light. We finish by polishing or trimming the tooth and checking the symmetry and bite.
Braces/orthodontics (referrals): We provide consultations if you or your child are considering braces. The dentist will review your child's dental development, their occlusion, bite, teeth crowding, teeth eruption, among other things to determine when it is suitable for your child to have braces. If you so choose, we also provide referrals or can assist in finding an orthodontist. Should your orthodontist decide that extraction(s) are needed due to crowding, or that they require your child's dental history, X-rays, or other information, we will gladly provide this. Please fill out and sign a Medical Information Release and Authorization Form, stating the dentist/doctor's name and contact information.