While preventive dentistry is, dollar for dollar, your best health investment, it isn’t foolproof, and sometimes your teeth are damaged. Tooth decay is the leading cause of tooth damage, but trauma and normal wear can take their toll on your teeth, too. Fortunately, restorative dentistry can repair tooth damage from most causes. Even seemingly badly damaged teeth can often be restored to health, beauty, and function.
To learn if restorative dentistry in Corpus Christi can repair your teeth, please call (361) 851-8274 today for an appointment with a restorative dentist at the Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.
Do You Need Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry is used to repair your teeth, but how do you know when your teeth need repairs? Here are some signs:
- Visible chips or cracks
- Teeth get discolored unevenly
- Your tongue finds sharp or irregular parts of your teeth
- Teeth seem smaller
- Teeth sensitive to temperature or pressure
Visible chips or cracks on your teeth are the most obvious sign that you might benefit from restorative dentistry, but it’s not the only way to tell. Uneven tooth discoloration can also be a sign of tooth damage. A small dark region is likely to be a cavity. On the other hand, an individual tooth that turns darker than its neighbors might be damaged inside.
Your tongue might find the chipped or cracked surfaces. Over time, you might notice that your teeth seem smaller–you might even notice that your profile is shrinking.
You might also feel discomfort when you drink hot or cold beverages, or if you bite down on foods. Sometimes, the tooth pain is persistent. But don’t let the absence of pain make you think that nothing is wrong: by the time a tooth begins to hurt, it’s often been badly damaged.
Dr. Lowrance has been a mercury amalgam free dentist since 1983, and only offers tooth-colored fillings at his practice.
Tooth-colored fillings come in two types. Most often, we use composite fillings, which start as a paste that can be spread into cavities or onto damaged tooth surfaces. Once it’s properly shaped, these can be hardened with a curing light. With polish, these look very natural. However, we can also use ceramic fillings, which look even more natural, and are more resistant to wear and discoloration.
Fillings are usually the first line of response to tooth damage. They’re used most often to repair tooth decay (cavities), but they can also be used in response to minor chips. When used this way, they’re often called cosmetic bonding or just dental bonding, but it’s essentially the same process as composite fillings. For repairing chipped teeth, we can also use veneers. They’re more expensive, but also a more permanent solution.
Dental crowns are used to restore teeth that are more badly damaged. A dental crown is essentially a sheath or cover that slides over the visible portion of the tooth, completely covering it. By providing the tooth with an entirely new surface, the dental crown can repair damage, provide support, and protect the natural tooth within.
We use dental crowns when a tooth is structurally weakened or if the nerve within the tooth has been exposed or is at risk of exposure.
Dental crowns can also be used cosmetically for the same applications as veneers. We use them in situations where the tooth might need a little extra support or repair.
Should You Repair a Tooth or Replace It?
If you have a tooth that’s damaged enough to need a dental crown, you might be wondering whether it’s better to repair the tooth or just replace it with a dental implant.
Most of the time, we recommend repairing a tooth. Dental implants are the next best thing to a natural tooth, but they’re not a natural tooth. Repairing a natural tooth still leaves the option open for an implant in the future, and you can’t get it back later. However, there are some times when it’s better to replace a tooth, such as:
- Tooth can’t be restored
- Tooth is too expensive to restore
- Restoration has low odds of success
- Tooth is threatened by gum disease
- Removing tooth will improve overall health
- Other teeth are being removed, and removing this tooth will improve results
Of course, in some situations, we just can’t restore a tooth, and we have to remove it. Other times, your tooth is technically restorable, but it would be too expensive or too risky to attempt. If you have advanced gum disease, for example, we might restore the tooth, only to find that it is lost to gum disease.
Other times, the tooth is a center of infection that can threaten your overall health. Sometimes, an infected tooth can lead to a deadly infection in the brain, blood, or lungs and we just need to remove it to protect you.
Other times, you might have multiple teeth that need to be removed, and we might remove another tooth that could technically be repaired, but will give a better overall result if we remove it.
Again, our goal is usually to save your teeth. If we think we can’t or shouldn’t we will explain the situation clearly so you can make an informed decision. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion–we won’t be offended!
Looking for Restorative Dentistry in Corpus Christi?
If you have one or more teeth that are damaged and need repair, let the skilled dentists at the Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry help.
Please call (361) 851-8274 today for an appointment.