With today’s restorative dentistry innovations, it’s possible to treat all levels of tooth decay and give everyone a healthy, beautiful smile. Restorative treatments extend far beyond the traditional fillings most people are familiar with, and the variety of options gives patients more opportunities to treat tooth decay while improving their smile.
Replacing metal fillings
Amalgam fillings or metal fillings used to be one of the most common treatments for repairing cavities, but today there are better, tooth-colored options available that are virtually invisible on teeth. For anyone who needs a new filling or wishes to replace old metal fillings, options include:
- Tooth-colored fillings – Made of porcelain or composite resin, tooth-colored fillings are popular, cosmetically pleasing treatment option in today’s dental practices. The dentist customizes the filling to match the shade of the remaining natural tooth, so they blend in and become unnoticeable. Anyone tired of their old, obvious metal fillings can ask about replacing them with tooth-colored fillings to restore the natural appearance of the tooth.
- Inlays and onlays – Inlays and onlays are an option for treating cavities specifically in the molars that many patients may not know about. Inlays treat minor to medium decay in the cusps of molars while onlays treat decay that is more extensive. Another term for onlays is partial crowns because they restore larger portions of damage that aren’t quite serious enough for a full dental crown. Patients should discuss the best option for molar decay with their dentist to restore and protect the health of their teeth.
- Porcelain veneers – To treat mild decay on the front facing teeth, patients have the option of porcelain veneers. Veneers are thin, tooth-shaped shells that the dentist custom makes for each patient. The dental professional makes the porcelain veneer to the specific shape, size, and shade that perfectly masks the tooth decay previously filled with a composite resin material.
For more severe decay and damage
Sometimes the dental decay has progressed to the point where it’s too severe for fillings, inlays or onlays or veneers to repair. There may be so much damage to the teeth that there’s an increased risk of them breaking or needing removal, but thankfully there are treatment options for even such severe instances.
- Dental crowns – To restore the appearance of teeth with large fillings and protect them, there are porcelain dental crowns. These tooth-shaped caps cover a damaged tooth completely, and the dentist customizes them to blend and fit in with the patient’s surrounding natural teeth. Porcelain dental crowns may also work for saving severely damaged or decayed teeth, thus avoiding extraction.
- Dental implants – When extraction becomes necessary due to severe damage that dental crowns can’t treat, patients can opt for dental implants. For dental implants, the dentist places titanium posts surgically in the jawbone that they then pair with bridges, dentures or a crown, depending on the number of teeth that require replacement.
Today’s innovative treatments for tooth decay and damage mean that everyone can have cosmetically appealing restorations that improve the health of their smile and boost confidence. Find the best oral health solutions for you by contacting Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics today.