Fillings

Just a few decades ago, dark fillings were a common sight, but modern tooth restoration options make it virtually impossible to tell if a person has had dental work performed. At Smile Sonrisa Dental, every Houston family dentist uses composite resin filings, which are colored to blend with your natural teeth, to treat tooth decay and many other types of tooth damage.

Reasons for Fillings

When cavities occur, fillings are used to replace the portion of the tooth where the decay was removed. Tooth-colored fillings are also commonly applied to repair breaks, chips, and cracks in teeth as well as the wear that occurs when patients grind their teeth at night or engage in bad oral habits such as nail biting. A sculpting material of sorts, composite resin is easily molded into the perfect shape and size to restore your appearance and bite. It can additionally be used to cover stains and discolorations that do not respond to professional teeth whitening.

The Advantages of Composite Resin Fillings

The silver fillings of the past required removing large portions of healthy tooth structure for placement and were prone to expansion and contraction, which caused higher incidences of cracked teeth. Tooth-colored composites offer not only better aesthetics but also better function and versatility. When preparing the teeth for composite fillings, your Houston dentist does not need to remove as much of your tooth, and the material actually bonds chemically to the tooth structure, providing added strength. Furthermore, silver fillings can only be used to fill cavities, whereas composite fillings can be used to repair and cover other types of damage.

The Filling Placement Procedure

Your Houston family dentist begins the filling placement procedure by numbing the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. We then use a special instrument to remove the decayed portion of the tooth and shape the space for optimal bonding of the filling. Taking great care to keep the area clean and dry, we place the resin material in layers, hardening each layer under a special light before moving to the next. Finally, your Houston dentist buffs and polishes the material to achieve the ideal shape, ensuring that the tooth comfortably meets with opposing teeth and has a great cosmetic appearance.

Care of Your Composite Fillings

With good oral hygiene practices, you should be able to maintain the look and function of your filling for many years. Unfortunately, fillings do not last forever and can experience cracks and leaks, especially for those who grind their teeth. If you notice visible cracks or feel sensitivity in the area of your composite restoration, contact your Houston family dentist so that we can assess your need for a replacement filling.

Cavities Care From Your Houston Family Dentist

Tooth-colored fillings are a versatile solution for repairing tooth decay, chips, and cracks. To determine if a composite resin restoration can fulfill your needs for optimal tooth functioning and appearance, contact Smile Sonrisa Dental today to set up your adult dental consultation.

Crowns

Dental Crowns Are Used in a Variety of Situations to Protect and Strengthen Damaged Teeth

While fillings are placed and shaped directly on the tooth, dental crowns are constructed outside of the mouth by a skilled ceramist, and your Houston family dentist then bonds this restoration appliance to your tooth. These hard restorations cover the entire portion of the tooth that rests above the gumline and are used in a variety of situations to strengthen and protect damaged teeth.

Reasons for Crown Placement

These are the most common scenarios in which your Houston dentist places crowns:

  • Extensive decay: Large areas of decay do not usually respond well to fillings, and if you do have a large filling that has been in place for a while, the tooth may be vulnerable to stress and cracks. Covering the tooth with a crown can help prevent further damage.
  • Root canal treatment: While root canal therapy helps save a tooth, it can also weaken it. To help keep the tooth’s structure intact, a root canal procedure is almost always completed as a part of crown placement.
  • Broken cusps: The cusps of the molars sustain the most stress during chewing and are vulnerable to breakage, so crowns are often placed to rebuild a broken tooth.
  • Cracks: Cracked tooth syndrome occurs when the stress of chewing creates tiny fractures inside the tooth. A crown can help redistribute the forces of chewing and hold the tooth together to eliminate the pain.
  • Tooth wear: Teeth grinding or acid erosion can cause the teeth to wear down over time. This throws off the bite, but crowns can be used to build up tooth structure for a restored bite.
  • Cosmetic issues: Porcelain veneers are a more conservative way to transform the look of less-than-perfect teeth, but some extensive aesthetic issues may require full porcelain crowns.
  • Dental bridges: A dental bridge replaces missing teeth and is held in place with the help of crowns.

Dental Crown Materials

Crowns are constructed from a variety of materials, including metal alloys, stainless steel, and porcelain. Our Houston dentist for kids place stainless steel crowns on baby molars that will eventually fall out, but for our adult patients, we offer the most cosmetically appealing crowns made of white ceramic materials. All-porcelain crowns are ideal for the front teeth because they most closely mimic your real teeth. For molars, which must withstand stronger chewing forces, we typically place porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, which have a strong metal base covered with white porcelain to give you the perfect combination of strength and cosmetic appeal.

How Crowns Are Placed

Crown placement is performed under local anesthesia, and your Houston family dentist begins by removing decay or damaged areas. To ensure that the crown stays in place, we must give your tooth a specific shape, which may involve reducing the tooth structure or building it up with filling material. After achieving the right shape, we make a mold of your tooth to send to the dental laboratory so that your crown can be constructed to fit perfectly. Your Houston dentist will affix a temporary crown, and you will need to return to our office when your permanent crown is ready. After trying on the crown and making sure that the fit and color are correct, we will permanently cement the restoration to your tooth.

Dental Crowns in Houston

For crowns, fillings, Houston orthodontics, and all of your adult dentistry needs, call Smile Sonrisa Dental today. We welcome the opportunity to help you achieve great dental health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Bridges

Dental Bridges Maintain the Health and Integrity of Your Teeth

Without diligent preventive dental care, patients are vulnerable to tooth loss. Injury, deep decay, and periodontal disease can all compromise tooth health, requiring extraction. Fortunately, there is no need to live with an embarrassing gap in your smile because our Houston family dentists can restore your appearance and ability to speak and eat with a fixed dental bridge.

Replacing Missing Teeth Is Vital

Filling the gaps after tooth loss is more than a cosmetic issue. Each tooth has its place and helps keep the other teeth in their places. However, when an adult loses a tooth, the extra room created in the dental arch allows the remaining teeth to drift. This makes the teeth crooked and alters the bite so that some teeth do not meet up properly with opposing teeth, and it also places more chewing forces on certain teeth. Any number of issues, including teeth grinding, excessive tooth wear, tooth fracture, and TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint disorder), can occur if the missing tooth is not replaced with a dental bridge or other prosthetic.

Placing Bridges

A bridge can replace a single tooth or several teeth if they are adjacent. The bridge is made of porcelain replacement teeth with crowns on both ends, and these crowns are affixed to the abutment teeth, which are the teeth on each side of the gap. The bridge placement procedure works much the same as with crown placement. Under local anesthesia, the abutment teeth are prepared for crowns, and an impression is made and sent to the dental laboratory with specific instructions for the size, shape, and color of the bridge. After your bridge is crafted, you will return to your Houston dentist’s office to have it cemented in place, and you will walk away with a beautiful new smile and a renewed ability to bite, chew, and speak normally.

Caring for Your Bridge

With good oral hygiene at home and regular dental visits, your bridge can last for 15 years or longer. To clean your bridge, you should brush it as you do your natural teeth, but flossing requires a different process. You should still floss around the teeth that anchor your bridge, but food particles, plaque, and oral bacteria can also collect in the small space where the bridge rests against the gum tissues. We will show you how to use a special floss threader or small interdental brushes to keep this area free of toxins that can harm your gums and cause bad breath.

Fixed Dental Bridges in Houston

Tooth loss can ruin your confidence and cause a domino effect of oral health issues. To maintain the health and integrity of your remaining teeth and make your smile as attractive and functional as it once was, schedule an appointment today with a Houston family dentist at Smile Sonrisa Dental.