The purpose of restorative dentistry is simple: restore your teeth back to how they should be. If you have damaged teeth or ones that are missing, restorative dentistry repairs and replaces teeth. This way, your smile looks normal and you can eat like you used to. Dental crowns, dental implants, inlays, onlays, root canals, and even the traditional dental filling all do that.
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Your dental restoration can eventually fail. This can be due to age, accidents, injuries, and more. While knowing why a dental restoration failed can help, the more important thing is to figure out how to fix the problem. Here are some common ways restorations fail and how you can get help at our Decatur, AL dental office.
A dental filling pops out of a cavity: Cavities are often repaired with dental fillings. A metal amalgam or composite material is shaped and bonded to the enamel. However, the filling cannot last forever. All of the hot and cold food you eat makes it expand and contract a little bit. Over the years, this can weaken the bond between filling and enamel. You can have a filling completely fall out.
If this happens, you might be in a lot of pain. If so, call us immediately at 256-274-8680. Until you can be seen, you can use sugarless gum or dental cement (available in most drug stores) to cover the cavity. This can help prevent that spot from getting infected.
An inlay or onlay falls off of your tooth: Inlays and onlays are restorative dentistry treatments that often serve as an alternative to dental fillings. They’re made from a durable, tooth-colored material that seals up and protects damaged areas like cavities. When they rest on the biting surface of your teeth, they’re called inlays because they usually lie in between the cusps of your teeth. If you need something on the side or corner of a tooth, you get an onlay instead.
Just like with dental fillings, inlays and onlays can fall off your tooth. They use a similar bonding process, so years of temperature changes and pressure from chewing all the time can take their toll.
A toothache returns to a tooth that had an infection: Bacteria can cause several problems in your mouth. They can cause cavities. They can infect your gums. But they can also get inside your tooth and infect your dental pulp. When that happens, this can go from bad to worse fast.
All of the nerves and blood vessels for your teeth are safely hidden inside. This is your dental pulp. It’s protected by enamel and dentin, which is why you normally do not feel your teeth. If a cavity or accident breaks through to the pulp, bacteria can get inside. They infect your pulp, which usually causes a very bad toothache. Root canals are a restorative dentistry treatment that removes the infection and saves the tooth.
However, your tooth can get reinfected. If this happens, it’s usually best to get another root canal. But if the tooth keeps getting infected again, you will need to talk with Dr. Betts about whether a dental extraction is a better option.
A dental crown has gotten loose or falls off: Dental crowns are a popular restorative dentistry treatment. That’s because they do a great job of restoring and protecting your teeth. They’re made from a durable but attractive material and shaped to look like the tooth they cover. Dental crowns are bonded to your teeth and should last a long time.
Things can go wrong if you get into an accident or have an injury. Either can break that connection, making your dental crown loose or even come off. If it’s been many years since you had a dental crown placed, it can even come loose just from being old. In these cases, the best thing to do is usually replace the dental crown with a new one.
A dental implant is loose and painful: Dental implants are long-lasting, excellent restorative dentistry treatments. They replace missing teeth, both the tooth itself and the root that goes into the jawbone. This gives dental implants the same durability as your natural teeth. It also helps prevent bone loss in your jaw.
Long-lasting is not the same thing as permanent or indestructible. As with dental crowns, accidents and injuries can make your dental implant loose. They can also get loose over time as your jawbone and mouth slightly change with age. When a dental implant becomes loose, it can cause you pain from time to time.
How to handle this depends on exactly what’s going on. If the replacement tooth is loose, Dr. Betts can replace it with a newer, undamaged one. If the implant itself is loose, then you will likely need to see a specialist to replace the implanted root.
If you are having any problems with your dental restorations, call us today at 256-274-8680.