Restorative dentistry focuses on the repair or replacement of damaged or missing teeth. These procedures are meant to improve overall oral health and function.


A dental filling is used to replace missing or damaged tooth structure. Tooth decay leads to the formation of a cavity, which is then filled. Many materials are used to fill teeth. The two most common are tooth colored composite materials and metallic amalgam.

What is a composite filling?

Composite materials are made of resin and glass. They are adhered to a tooth in place of the missing tooth structure. Composites have the benefit of being very natural in appearance. They adhere to teeth, possibly strengthening them when cracks are present. Composites can be expected to last between two and ten years.

What is an amalgam filling?

Amalgam fillings have been used in dentistry for over 100 years. They are less expensive than composites and seem to last a little longer. Amalgams are not natural in appearance, and do not adhere to tooth structure. They also offer no additional resistance to fractures.


A crown is a restoration that covers an entire tooth. They are done when a tooth has more than one-half of its tooth structure missing and a filling won’t solve the problem. If a tooth is cracked, a crown will usually hold the tooth together so that the damage doesn’t get worse.

What are crowns made out of?

Crowns are made out of two materials: gold and porcelain. Porcelain crowns are very natural in appearance. They are the most commonly used crown and are used where it is important to look good as well as last. Most crowns will last between five and twenty-five years – eight years is the average. Gold is the longest used material in dentistry, but it has esthetic drawbacks. The main advantages of gold crowns are that they have the best longevity of any restoration in dentistry – often exceeding twenty-five years.


A bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth by joining an artificial tooth definitively to adjacent teeth or dental implants.

What is a fixed bridge?

A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth that is between two natural teeth. Unlike a removable denture, a bridge stays in your mouth. It is made by putting crowns on the adjacent teeth and attaching a third tooth, called a pontic, in the middle. The pontic replaces the missing tooth. Most bridges can be expected to last from five to seven years.

What is a bonded bridge?

A bonded bridge is a variation on the traditional bridge. Sometimes called a Maryland bridge, a bonded bridge is made out of porcelain and gold. It is bonded to minimally prepared adjacent teeth. This makes it a less invasive procedure than a traditional bridge, but this limits its use to areas of your mouth with low chewing pressure.


A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The benefit of using implants is that they don’t rely on neighboring teeth for support. They are permanent and stable. Implants are a good solution for tooth loss because they look and feel like natural teeth. They do not get cavities, but can still suffer from gum disease.


A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and the tissues connected to those teeth. It is made of acrylic, plastic, and sometimes porcelain and metal materials. A denture closely resembles natural gum tissue and teeth.

What are complete dentures?

Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while partial dentures fill in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevent other teeth from shifting position. Complete dentures are “immediate” or “conventional.” An immediate denture is a complete denture or partial denture that is inserted on the same day that teeth are removed. The immediate denture acts as a bandage to protect the tissues and reduce discomfort after tooth extraction. An immediate denture will fit poorly after about six months. This is because the tissue which supports the denture changes shape after the teeth are removed.

What are conventional dentures?

A conventional denture is done when teeth have been missing for six months or more. Unlike the immediate denture, the fit of a conventional denture changes more slowly over time. Most dentures need to be relined or replaced after about five years.

How long does the denture process take?

The denture process takes five appointments: the initial diagnosis is made; an impression is taken; and a wax bite is made to determine vertical dimensions and proper jaw position; a “try-in” is placed to assure proper color, shape and fit; and the patient’s final denture is placed, following any minor adjustments. New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new “teeth” because even the best fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. While most patients can begin to speak normally within a few hours, many patients report discomfort with eating for several days to a few weeks. To get accustomed to chewing with a new denture, start with soft, easy-to-chew foods. In addition, denture wearers often notice a slight change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow, or minor speech difficulty.

How are dentures repaired?

Occasionally, a denture will break, requiring a repair. This can usually be done over two visits. At the first visit, an impression may be taken of the denture. The denture will then be sent to a laboratory that specializes in the fabrication and repair of dentures. The laboratory technician will repair the denture, and send it back to the office. The second visit will be used to insert the denture. At this visit, the bite and the fit of the denture will be evaluated and corrections made if needed.

What is a denture reline?

The shape of your mouth changes slowly over time. A denture made more than five years ago may no longer fit your mouth as well as it used to. To correct the discrepancy between the denture and your mouth, a reline may be needed. This is the process of adding additional acrylic between the denture and your mouth,allowing for a more precise, stable, and comfortable fit. A reline requires at least two visits. At the first visit, the denture will be used to take an impression of your mouth. This will be sent to a dental laboratory where more acrylic will be added. When completed, the denture will be returned. At the second visit, the denture will be tried in. The bite and fit of the denture will be evaluated and corrections made if needed. Additional appointments may be needed to make the denture comfortable. Your mouth will need to undergo a period of adaptation to the new shape of the denture.

Root Canal

A root canal treatment is performed to treat an infection within a tooth. This treatment eliminates the infected tissue within a tooth. Once the diseased tissue has been removed, the inside of the tooth is disinfected and filled with a rubber material. The rubber material prevents bacteria from growing greatly reducing the risk of reinfection.

Does a root canal require a crown?

A root canal treated tooth requires a filling or a crown to seal it. Front teeth are usually filled, but back teeth are almost always crowned.

What are the risks of a root canal?

More than 95 percent of root canal treatments are successful. Sometimes a tooth needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots or the reinfection of a tooth.

Post & Core Build-ups

When a tooth is root canal treated, an opening is created to gain access to the diseased pulp tissue. The opening needs to be filled in order to strengthen the tooth and retain a crown. A post is used to retain the filling material by giving the material something to hold onto. A post is placed into the hollowed out root and cemented into place.

What are posts made of?

The post can be made out of different materials. Gold, carbon fiber, and stainless steel have all been used successfully. Each has specific indications where they work best. Gold is typically used when only a small amount of tooth structure remains. Carbon fiber and stainless steel are used when more of the tooth remains intact

When are posts used?

A post is used to retain core material. Core material is used to retain a crown when insufficient tooth structure remains after root canal treatment.

Do all teeth with root canals need a post?

Not all teeth with root canals need a post. When there is enough tooth structure remaining after root canal treatment, then a post does not offer any additional benefit but all teeth that have root canal treatment need at least a build up.


When a tooth can no longer be maintained, an extraction is done to remove it. An extraction may be simple or surgical. In a surgical extraction, some of the surrounding bone and gums that support the tooth need to be removed. The tooth may also need to be sectioned into smaller pieces. An extraction is more likely to be surgical with a broken tooth or a tooth with more than one root like wisdom teeth.


An onlay is a restoration made of porcelain or gold that can repair a heavily damaged tooth. An onlay is an indirect restoration that incorporates a cusp by covering, or onlaying, the missing cusp. This type of restoration conserves natural tooth structure by replacing only the broken parts of the tooth.


A dental sealant is a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of molars. Sealants have been shown to be highly effective in the prevention of cavities. They act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and small food particles from penetrating into a tooth. Sealants are most commonly used on newly erupted molar teeth. Molars typically erupt at age six and twelve. Sealants can be beneficial at any age.

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