Fillings are the most common way to repair a tooth that has a cavity; the damaged portion of the tooth is removed, and a filling is immediately placed to restore it. There are many types of filling materials available; the most common are “silver” amalgam fillings and “tooth-colored” composite fillings. Dr. Castor will discuss all options with you to help determine the best solution for you. The tooth and surrounding areas are numbed with local anesthetic and appointment length varies depending on the number of teeth to be treated.
Some cosmetic issues can be corrected with fillings that many people refer to as “bonding.” Small chips, discolorations, and gaps may be repaired with tooth-colored material in one appointment. This is a very conservative and cost-effective way to fix minor to moderate cosmetic issues.
Crowns, or “caps,” are used to treat severely worn, broken, cracked, or decayed teeth. This type of restoration replaces most or all of the outer surface of your tooth and can be made out of gold, other metals, or porcelain. Crowns are very esthetic, matching the shape and color of your existing teeth while also improving slight irregularities if you desire it.
In order to fabricate a crown, an impression is made of your tooth and sent to a dental laboratory where a technician creates the individualized crown, specific to your teeth and bite. Due to this, crowns take 2 appointments; the initial visit lasts 60-90 minutes and the final appointment to verify the fit and cement your crown takes 30 minutes. In between visits, you will wear a custom temporary crown to protect your tooth.
Similar to crowns, bridges are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. They are made of the same material as crowns, and can greatly improve your ability to bite and chew if you have missing teeth.
Sometimes, the nerve of a tooth may become inflamed or die, and the best treatment option to save the tooth involves a root canal. Nerves may die for a variety of reasons including; large cavities, deep fillings, trauma/ accidents, severe periodontal (gum) disease, or in very rare cases, complete spontaneity. During a root canal, the nerve inside the root is removed, the root is disinfected and sterilized, and the tooth is sealed with a special filling material. In nearly all situations, following a root canal, the tooth will require either a filling or a crown, depending on how strong the remaining tooth is.
Depending on the complexity of the tooth, root canals can require between 1 and 3 appointments of 1-2 hours. At all times, Dr. Castor will strive to make sure that you are completely numb and comfortable.
Root canals are an excellent way to save uncomfortable teeth that have infections or abscesses instead of having them extracted. A tooth with a high quality root canal and restoration can provide you with many years of pain-free service.
A tooth may need to be extracted for a variety of reasons; whether for orthodontic reasons to correct a crowding or bite issues, for baby teeth that do not come out naturally and prevent adult teeth from erupting, or due to severe cavities and infection. Extractions can prevent all of these issues from becoming worse over time.
It is important to develop a plan with Dr. Castor to replace your extracted tooth to minimize the chance of your bite changing or other issues. Some patients request or require varying levels of sedation; be sure to discuss this with Dr. Castor prior to your appointment so that you can be scheduled appropriately.
Dr. Castor and his staff will ensure that you are comfortable during the extraction, and that you fully understand how to manage the area for the first few days.
Partials & Dentures
If many or all of your teeth are missing, partials or dentures may be the solution that you are looking for. While dentures replace all teeth in either the upper or lower jaw, a partial is used when there are remaining healthy teeth that can be saved. A variety of materials are used to fabricate these removable devices; combinations of metals, rigid and flexible plastic-acrylics, and porcelain are common options.
Partials and dentures are fabricated over the course of several appointments and teamwork between you, Dr. Castor, and the laboratory technician. You will have the opportunity to evaluate the feel and appearance of your new teeth before the final device is made. Both partials and dentures are great ways to regain your ability to chew effectively and smile with confidence.