Restorative Dentistry

White Fillings

Fillings are the most common type of ‘restorative treatment’. A filling replaces the part of the tooth that has been lost because decay has caused a cavity in the tooth or because the tooth has broken. One option in restoring the tooth is to have a white filling, commonly known as  a ‘Composite Filling’.

Many people have fillings, the majority being grey metal called ‘Amalgam’. Fillings do not just have to be practical, they can also be aesthetically pleasing and thus many patients no longer have the desire for amalgam fillings because they are visible : with most white fillings, no-one would know it was there.

Composites are

  • Composite are referred to as white fillings. Composite is a tooth coloured                                                                                                  material composed of glass particles suspended in a resin matrix. It is available                                                                                                in several shades to perfectly match your tooth.

  • Composites are bonded directly to your tooth which can help to support the remaining                                                                                tooth structure.

Composites can be used for a variety of cosmetic dental procedures –

  • Repairing chipped or broken teeth

  • Closing gaps between your teeth (diastemas)

  • Reshaping your teeth

Composite is not ideal for all restorations on back teeth especially if you have a large cavity, as bonding does not have the strength over large areas or if you have a heavy bite, grind or clench your teeth.  The alternative tooth coloured restoration then would be an inlay or onlay

Inlays/Onlays

Inlays and Onlays are restorations that are used to rebuild a tooth that has lost a significant amount of its structure due to decay or trauma.  Similar to dental fillings but rather than being directly placed into your tooth and then set, they are fabricated in our dental laboratory and then cemented into place.  This is known as an ‘indirect procedure’. Inlays fit into the tooth whereas onlays sit on top of the remaining tooth structure.

Inlays and Onlays can be constructed using –

  • Porcelain

  • Gold

  • Composite

Your dentist will evaluate your tooth to see if it is suitable for an Inlay or Onlay and also decide which material is best.

The procedure

Two appointments will be necessary: the first to prepare the tooth surface and the second to fit the Onlay or Inlay.

The first appointment

  • A local anaesthetic is given to numb the tooth and the surrounding tissue.

  • Any decay that is present will be removed and the tooth surface will be prepared for the restoration.

  •  An impression (mould) is taken of your teeth using special dental "putty". The putty is placed into an impression tray; they are both then inserted into your mouth and pushed onto your teeth in order to take an impression. Once the dental putty is set, the impression will be removed.  An impression is also taken of the opposing teeth, so the technician can see how you bite together.

  •  A temporary restoration will be placed on the prepared tooth to protect it whilst your Inlay or Onlay is being fabricated.

  • The impression is sent to our Dental Laboratory where our technicians will custom make your Inlay or Onlay. This can take up to two weeks.

 

The Fit Appointment

  • A local anaesthetic may be needed to numb the tooth and surrounding gum.

  • The temporary restoration will be removed and the tooth cleaned.

  • The dentist will then try in your new Inlay or Onlay, making sure the fit is perfect, your bite is comfortable  and you are happy with the appearance. The Inlay or Onlay will then be permanently cemented in place.

Silver Fillings - Amalgam

Fillings are the most common type of 'restorative treatment'.

A filling replaces the part of the tooth that has been lost either because                                                                              decay has caused a cavity in the tooth or because the tooth has broken.                                                                              One option in restoring the tooth is to have an Amalgam filling however                                                                          with high quality tooth coloured fillings available, amalgam usage is now declining.

  • Amalgam - Sometimes referred to as a silver filling.                                                                                                        This is an alloy which is made up using Mercury, Silver, Tin, Copper and Zinc.

  • It is extremely durable and able to withstand the grinding and chewing of                                                                  the molar teeth over long periods of time.

  • They are less expensive than white fillings

 

The disadvantages

  • They look unattractive in the tooth due to its colour.

  • Some people are concerned about the mercury content; please discuss this with your dentist.

  • Amalgam expands and contracts with temperature which can weaken the remaining tooth.

  • The colouring leaches into the dentinal tubules inside the tooth, leaving a permanent blue-gray halo that bleaching cannot remove.

 

The Procedure

  • A local anaesthetic will be given to numb the tooth and the surrounding tissue.

  • The tooth will be thoroughly cleaned. All decay, food debris or tartar will be removed. The tooth will then be shaped to accept the amalgam  by mechanical retention rather than being bonded or cemented.

  • Depending on the size of the filling, a band may be placed around the tooth which helps to hold the filling material in place whilst it is being packed into the tooth.

  • The Amalgam is packed into the tooth, then carved in to the correct shape.

 

Although amalgam hardens within a few minutes, it takes 24 hours for it to set fully.

Crowns

A crown is a tooth shaped cover which fits over the existing structure of your natural tooth to protect and restore the tooth’s function.

 Crowns can be used to -

  • Strengthen teeth which have been weakened by decay or a large filling.

  • Protect fractured, cracked and worn teeth.

  • Improve the shape, alignment and shade of a tooth.

  • After root canal treatment, to help strengthen the tooth.

Each crown is individually handcrafted by our dental technician to create a healthy, natural look.

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Bridges

A bridge is one of the options to replace one or more missing teeth. It is a permanent fixture which is anchored to the adjacent natural tooth or teeth (the abutment) to ‘bridge’ the gap where the tooth (or teeth) is missing (the pontic). This also prevents the adjacent natural teeth from drifting.

A bridge is a great option if you do not wish to have dental implants or a denture to replace your missing tooth or teeth. There are many different designs and materials which can be used for bridges: your dentist will discuss the best option for you.

Each bridge is individually handcrafted by our dental technician to create a healthy, natural look which also sits comfortably with your bite.

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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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