When your teeth have become damaged by either cavities or cracks, a filling may be required. Composite (white) or amalgam (silver) filling material can be used to fix a cavity or a crack. White fillings match the colour of your natural teeth but they are, in general, more sensitive than silver fillings. White fillings usually need to be replaced more often when placed on the back teeth due to the stress caused by chewing over time. Silver fillings are reserved for back teeth as they are not as nice to look at but can hold up better over time from the stresses of chewing. The dentist will discuss the pros and cons of the type of filling material to use so you can make an informed choice of which filling material you wish to have.
When you are at your appointment for a filling, numbing gel is placed on the area followed by freezing. The filing is placed, and any important details is discussed with you about the procedure. You can usually expect the freezing to ‘wear off’ between two and four hours.
When your tooth has become too damaged for a filling, a dental crown (cap) may be needed. A crown is a fake tooth that is used to protect and cover your teeth that is held onto the existing tooth with strong adhesive. Crowns are also placed on implant teeth after an implant has healed.
Crowns require two appointments. In the first appointment, a dentist will shape your tooth and take an impression of the tooth for a crown to be fabricated. A temporary crown will be made to help protect the tooth while the final crown is being fabricated. At the second appointment, the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is ‘glued’ in place.
When you have a missing tooth, a bridge may be used to repair the ‘gap’. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap with a false tooth connected to the two crowns. A bridge is glued in place just like a crown and cannot be removed. The bridge must be cleaned regularly (we will show you how!) to ensure it stays healthy and a cavity does not occur. The procedure for a bridge is exactly like a crown except it will take a bit longer.