Bonding is a treatment that can be used to repair teeth that are decayed, chipped, fractured or discoloured or to reduce gaps between teeth. For this procedure, a dentist mixes composite resin — a type of plastic — into a paste, then tints the mixture to whiten or match the color of your teeth. Several layers of resin are applied to each tooth. Each layer is hardened under ultraviolet light or laser. Final steps include shaping and polishing the resin material, so the finished tooth looks natural and smooth.
Bonding can also be used to build up older teeth to make them appear younger. Bonding is an option for people of all ages, including children, as the resin can be replaced as teeth grow.
A crown or cap is a cover that fits over a tooth that has been damaged by decay, broken, badly stained or mis-shaped.
Your dentist prepares it and usually requires more than one visit to complete.
A crown can be made of acrylic, metal, porcelain, or porcelain bonded to metal. All-porcelain crowns look more like your natural teeth and therefore are usually used for front teeth, while porcelain bonded to metal is stronger and better for crowns in the back of the mouth. Sometimes all-metal crowns are used for back teeth because of the metal’s strength.
To prepare your tooth for a crown, the tooth is first frozen with anesthesia and then filed down so the cap can fit over it. An impression of the teeth and gums is made, and a temporary cap is fitted over the tooth until the permanent crown is ready. On your next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary cap and cement the crown onto the tooth. The crown will closely match the colour and shape of your natural teeth.
Porcelain fixed bridges & Dental Implants
When indicated, missing teeth should usually be replaced to help regain your ability to chew, prevent other teeth from shifting, and restore your smile. There are three main types of artificial teeth. Each one is designed for a particular situation:
A dental implant is made by surgically inserting one or more small metal posts beneath the gum into the jawbone. In a few months, when the implants are fused to the surrounding bone, the artificial tooth or teeth are then attached, and the missing tooth or teeth are restored.
A fixed bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. It is called a “bridge” because it covers a gap, and the bridge is supported by teeth or implants on one or both sides of that gap. The supporting teeth or implants are sometimes called abutments.
In this procedure, each abutment is prepared to receive full crowns or caps. When completed, the bridge is cemented into position over the supporting abutments.
Veneers are strong, thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the teeth. They are used to repair chipped, decayed or stained teeth and may help in closing gaps between teeth.
With a bit of contouring, veneers may also correct slightly crowded or overlapping teeth. If your teeth have discoloured with age, a veneer may improve their appearance. Veneers can also be used for cosmetic reasons instead of crowns, which are more often used for badly damaged or decayed teeth. The tooth enamel needs to be ground down slightly in order to accommodate the veneer.
Veneer preparations frequently require the use of local anesthetic and, depending on colour and shade, may take more than one appointment to complete.
Many people assume they will wear dentures eventually. However, with proper care, your teeth can easily last a lifetime. That said, should you lose the majority of your teeth, dentures can replace them and restore your smile.
And even if you are only missing a few of your natural teeth, you may want to think about filling out your smile with dentures. They can help you look younger while providing support to your cheeks and lips. Dentures aid in speaking, chewing and swallowing. Visit your dentist to find out if dentures are right for you.
Types of Dentures
There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Each type is made from an impression of the wearer’s mouth. Once the mold is made and the measurements are sent off to a dental lab to be made into permanent dentures, the dentist fits a temporary denture.
Dentures are secured by attaching to or fitting over any remaining natural teeth or implants.
Taking care of your dentures is vital to your overall oral health. Here are some tips on how to keep them in good condition:
- Clean dentures over a water-filled sink to prevent damage if they are dropped.
- Place a small amount of liquid hand soap on the denture brush and brush all surfaces, including the clasps on a partial denture
- Rinse well with water
- Store dry in a labelled denture cup
- To re-insert dentures, wet first with water to prevent discomfort
Many Canadians are looking to brighten their smile. The colour of teeth can darken with age and accumulation of surface stains. There are a number of whitening options available to consumers. The best way to learn about these is to talk to your dentist.
Your dentist can explain the pros and cons of whitening toothpastes, at home whitening that occurs under a dentist’s care, and in-office whitening. Your dentist will consider your unique oral health conditions and can advise you on which, if any, is a suitable method for whitening your teeth.