Your bright, shining smile can say so much about you, especially when meeting new people! If your smile has been damaged, broken, or weakened by an accident or poor dental hygiene, it can affect your self-esteem and make it tough for you to smile confidently. Not only that, it can affect your health. Restorative dentistry is the answer.
The Southtown Dental Group , located in the heart of San Antonio, Texas can help you fix any damaged teeth or other aspects of your smile with the latest restorative dentistry technologies and methods. Broken, missing, or ailing teeth can be effectively repaired or replaced with:
- Dental fillings
- Root canals
- Dental bridges
- Dental crowns
What is Restorative Dentistry?
The best way to prevent having to go through any restorative or cosmetic dentistry procedures is to ensure that you regularly attend your scheduled dental cleanings and check-ups, and practice good dental hygiene at home. The longer you wait and the less effort you invest in caring for your smile, the more it will be down the road.
Your San Antonio family dentist has had over twenty-five years of experience helping patients overcome poor dental hygiene and oral health ailments through teeth cleanings, dental exams, and other preventive dentistry measures. If you’re having tooth or jaw pain, a consultation with our doctor can help to determine the cause, and what type of intervention you might need.
Restoring your smile is important, not just for aesthetic reasons and to help your self-confidence, but also to:
- Restore your ability to properly chew
- Restore speech and pronunciation
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Readjust your bite to properly distribute force when you chew
- Prevent teeth from moving out of their correct position
Anatomy of a Cavity
Cavities are caused by plaque and bacteria which lead to tooth decay. The severity of a cavity depends on whether it can be fixed with a simple filling or if it will need a root canal. Eating or drinking sugary foods can also cause cavities. Additionally, anything that creates excess acid in the mouth can also wear the enamel away over time.
Your teeth have an outer covering that is as hard as crystal, called the enamel. The crown, or top part of the tooth is what is visible above the gum line. The tooth root is located below the gum line and is also referred to as pulp. In addition to the root, the pulp is also where nerve fibers and blood vessels are located which supply nutrients to the dentin. Dentin is the softer tissue that forms the tooth from the root to the enamel.
Many people do not realize they have a cavity until they begin to feel pain or sensitivity. This is another reason to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist because they can spot cavities before they progress to this stage. If the cavity is on the surface in the enamel, it will most likely require a simple filling. Dr. Morales uses a tooth-colored resin to fill the tooth and the procedure is simple and painless.
Cavities can quickly progress and get down into the dentin or the pulp. Both of these areas are much softer than the enamel and infection can spread quickly, sometimes causing an abscess to form. Once the cavity reaches the dentin portion of your tooth, you will experience pain or sensitivity especially when eating or consuming hot or cold beverages. If the cavity gets into the pulp, or root, and an abscess develops, you will likely be experiencing significant pain.
When the cavity has progressed down into these softer tissues of the tooth, a root canal is necessary in order to save the tooth and prevent infection from spreading further. The longer you wait to get dental assistance, the more damage can be inflicted on the tooth and even into the jaw, causing bone loss.
What Exactly is a Root Canal, and What Does it Correct?
When the dental pulp becomes damaged or infected, it exposes the tooth to dangerous oral bacteria, and the root begins to die. The nerve tissue is a vital part of the tooth and is what holds the tooth in place. In order to prevent the loss of the tooth, a root canal must be performed to eliminate any further infection and to save the structure of the tooth.
Signs of damage to the nerve or root can include:
- Infection visible on an x-ray
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Surrounding gum tissues are swollen and inflamed
- Minimal to severe tooth or jaw pain
- Bad breath/foul odor in the mouth
- Headache or ear ache
- Pain when biting down on the tooth
Don’t despair, having a root canal is not as bad as it seems. The dentist will numb the area around the tooth so you won’t feel a thing. The cavity and decay will be cleaned out and then the tooth is filled with a resin material to seal it. This process effectively kills the root, but the tooth is still able to be saved. Because the tooth will no longer be receiving nutrients through the root, the structure can be compromised and prone to breakage going forward, so a crown is needed to preserve the structural integrity.
After the dentist completes your root canal, he will place a temporary crown over your tooth. You will need to come back for one additional visit for him to place the permanent crown.
What Is a Dental Crown and When Might it Be Used?
Dental crowns have a variety of uses and are commonly used in restorative dentistry. They are made out of porcelain and the coloring can be tinted to match your other teeth so they look completely natural. A crown covers the entire tooth surface all the way down to the gum line.
If you have a root canal that affects the strength of the tooth, a crown is used after the procedure to keep the tooth strong and resistant to any further damage or breakage.
Crowns can also be used if a patient has a broken tooth. Before the doctor can place the crown, he first has to ensure that the ailing tooth is as healthy as it can be before the crown is placed on top of it. This requires cleaning out any of the decayed or broken areas, so the tooth does not lose structural integrity later on. After this, a temporary crown is put in place until the custom-formed permanent crown is made. An impression of the tooth is taken so the crown will fit perfectly. Dr. Morales
will place the crown so that it fits perfectly with your bite.
While there are different types of crowns, they all have the same purpose. A crown can only be used if the majority of the tooth is still in place. Examples of when a crown may be used include:
- Covering a tooth implant
- Protecting and covering a tooth with a large filling when not much of the tooth surface is remaining
- Protection of a weak tooth
- Holding a dental bridge in place
- Protection of a tooth after a root canal
- Restoration of a broken tooth
- Covering a discolored tooth for cosmetic reasons
Over the years, crowns have been made out of varying materials such as gold alloys and porcelain fused to metal or porcelain pressed over metal. However, restorative dentistry has come a long way with the use of full porcelain crowns. These are the most aesthetically pleasing and are a long-lasting replacement solution!
If you are interested in learning more about dental crowns or any other of our fantastic dental restoration procedures, please schedule an appointment online or call us at 210-361-5991 to speak with a Southtown Dental Group professional.
If a decayed tooth has progressed too far, a root canal may not be an option, and the tooth must be extracted. Accident or injury to the tooth may also necessitate an extraction. A dental bridge can be used to correct this problem.
The dentist will evaluate carefully the structure of your teeth and alignment of your bite in order to determine the best course of action. When restoring smiles, it is important to make sure that the replacement crowns and bridge do not interfere with the natural bite and fit correctly.
Your San Antonio dentist can help you replace the missing part of your smile with function-restoring dental bridges. If you want to maintain a healthy smile and appearance, feel confident in knowing that your dentist has years of hands-on experience with happy and satisfied patients. You can trust your “neighborhood dentist” to restore your smile with affordable dental bridges.
A dental bridge is one option that can be used if a person has missing teeth. You can close – or bridge – the gaps. A false tooth (a dental crown) is placed over the gap where your natural tooth once rested. The bridge grasps onto the teeth that abut the gap, becoming a natural anchor while suspending the dental crown in place. The crown and bridge replace the missing tooth to restore the full function of your tooth and your smile!
Dental implants are another option to replace missing teeth. An implant is a small titanium cylinder that is placed in the jawbone. Oral surgery is required to place the cylinder in the gum. The implant will then fuse with the jawbone and form an “artificial root” which will provide structural support as a natural tooth would. Once the implant has fused with the bone, a dental crown is placed over the implant so that it looks exactly like a natural tooth.
Tooth decay and/or missing teeth can sometimes cause bone loss in the jaw bone especially if they are not treated right away. If this has occurred a bone graft may be necessary on the jaw bone before the dental implant can be inserted. Otherwise, the implant would not have enough bone to fuse to structurally. A qualified oral surgeon would perform the bone graft procedure.
For more information on the dental implant procedures, see what the American Academy of Implant Dentistry has to say here.
Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants: Pros and Cons of Each
Dental bridges and implants both serve the same purpose of providing a replacement tooth if a tooth or teeth are missing. There are pros and cons to each option and in each individual case, one option may be more appropriate than the other.
A dental bridge is an option for a missing tooth however, the teeth on either side of the gap must be in place for the bridge to have something to adhere to on both sides. Since the missing tooth will be replaced by a crown that is suspended between the two abutting teeth, it won’t be anchored to the jaw. If there has been bone loss to the jaw, this can be a better option for those that don’t wish to have any bone grafting done. A bridge is a simpler procedure since no oral surgery is required and is generally a lower-cost option.
A dental implant does not require any support from neighboring teeth since it will be anchored into the jaw bone. Implants are also appropriate when there is more than one missing tooth. Because implants serve as “artificial roots,” the jaw bone maintains its structural integrity which helps maintain facial structure as you age. A dental implant is also easier to maintain since you can brush and floss as you normally would with your natural teeth. A bridge requires a special type of floss that can get underneath the bridge. While there is more expense involved initially for an implant, they will generally last twenty-five years or more. A bridge may need to be replaced every ten to fifteen years.
Modern dentistry has evolved and is moving away from the use of dental veneers. They are more costly and have to be replaced after about seven years. Instead, porcelain crowns are now used instead of veneers. They’re stronger, just as beautiful, and last much longer!
Do you suffer from broken, damaged, or stained teeth? Do you wish that you could straighten the appearance of your smile without orthodontic braces? Southtown Dental Group can rejuvenate the appearance of your smile with porcelain crowns!
San Antonio Restorative and Cosmetic dentist understands that the embarrassment of a broken smile can hurt your confidence levels and wants you to know that there is an effective solution in using dental crowns.
Porcelain crowns are individually crafted and are effectively a natural-appearing “cover-up” for any tooth, much like fresh paint on a wall in your home. This makes cosmetic dental crowns an attractive option for those dental patients who are not comfortable with more invasive procedures that require a full tooth replacement.
In some cases, porcelain crowns have been used as an alternative to orthodontist braces, as they can be aligned to make your teeth appear to have fewer gaps.
How are Crowns (veneers) Placed?
In order for the dentist and his staff to place the crowns on your teeth, they must first “shape” the existing tooth surface. This process allows for the crown to fit comfortably on the natural tooth without negatively affecting your bite or speech capability.
We will always strive to maintain the natural structure of your teeth whenever possible, but in some cases, crown placement may require removing part of the natural tooth structure in order to ensure the quality of your overall smile.
We only use porcelain materials at Southtown Dental Group. No metal coping is used to provide a cleaner and more natural aesthetic.
Southtown Dental Group also offer dentures to our patients. We always strive to duplicate the natural look of your teeth. We don’t want your friends or family to see “fake teeth” and want you to love your fresh, new smile!
Our denture teeth are comprised of a combination of porcelain powder and acrylic as a binder. A partial denture can also be used if needed and we use the same care and quality materials with these as we do with full-mouth dentures.
Contact us For All of Your Dental Restoration Needs
Your Southtown Family Dentist has helped patients restore their smiles and their health over the years. We believe in treating all of our patients just like they are family members and provide the most up-to-date dental procedures using only the highest quality of materials. We strive to make your experience a good one with us and to offer painless and affordable payment options for all of our patients.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We are always able to assist you with information, scheduling and financing. We are happy to answer your questions and provide any information you may need about dental procedures or our practice.
Simply call us at 210-227-0101 or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
If you would prefer to stop by our downtown San Antonio Family Dentistry office, you can go to: 930 South Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205 (Google Maps Directions)