Tooth Enamel Repair

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it can wear away over time. Certain foods and drinks, oral hygiene habits and bacteria can all damage tooth enamel.

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Unfortunately, since enamel does not contain living cells, it cannot repair itself once it has eroded. However, several approaches can help prevent and treat eroded tooth enamel.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth fillings are used to repair cavities (holes) in teeth that have been destroyed by tooth decay. They also can protect weakened areas of a tooth from further damage. There are several types of tooth filling materials available, including gold, porcelain, resin composite, and glass ionomer. Your dentist will discuss the best option for you.

Tooth-colored fillings are made from a mixture of nontoxic plastic resin and silica particles that mimic many of the qualities of healthy tooth enamel, including translucency and wear resistance. The material bonds directly to the teeth, which helps to bolster them and reduce tooth sensitivity.

To place a tooth-colored filling, your dentist will first numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic. Then, the dentist will clean and prepare the area. The dentist then applies multiple layers of the tooth-colored filling material to the tooth surface. Each layer is cured with a special light to harden it. The tooth-colored filling is then shaped and polished to finish the restoration.

A tooth-colored filling usually takes less than an hour to place, compared to several hours for a dental crown. The treatment is relatively quick and painless, although your child may feel some pressure on the tooth. To minimize discomfort, you can ask your dentist about sedation alternatives for children during the procedure. To help prevent future cavities, you can brush and floss your teeth regularly, and eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps custom-made by dental laboratories to fit over damaged teeth. They help to restore a tooth’s shape, strength, appearance, and size after severe damage from infection or injury. In addition to preventing acid erosion, they also protect weakened teeth from heavy force and help to reduce tooth discoloration caused by aging or whitening treatments.

When a root canal is needed for one of your teeth, we will often use a dental crown to prevent the tooth from deteriorating after treatment. When left unprotected, the dentin beneath the enamel can begin to break down prematurely, affecting both your oral function and your smile. The earlier your tooth can be rebuilt, the better.

We have several types of dental crowns that may be suitable for your needs. A porcelain crown is the most natural-looking and offers light translucence similar to a healthy tooth. These are best suited for front teeth. An all-ceramic crown is more durable and provides a stronger color match than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, but does not allow for as much transparency.

Ultimately, the best way to promote a long lifespan for any type of tooth restoration is to practice excellent oral hygiene and visit your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and checkups. We can also provide fluoride treatments to strengthen your natural teeth and help to prevent acid erosion.

Dental Veneers

A person can correct minor flaws with dental veneers, which are wafer-thin shells a dentist can place on the front of teeth. They typically match the color of a natural tooth, and they reflect light like one. A dentist can also make them whiter for a brighter smile. These cosmetic treatments last at least ten years, and they do not weaken the natural tooth structure.

The veneers can fix problems such as small gaps or crooked teeth. They can cover stains and discoloration, as well. A person can have veneers placed on just a few teeth or several, depending on their goals. There is no downtime involved in the treatment, and a person can immediately return to work or school after it is done.

Veneers are made out of a porcelain material that looks very similar to a tooth, and it resists staining better than enamel. A person may notice that their teeth feel slightly rough after getting them, but this is normal and should improve with time. They also may have some sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks because the original tooth enamel has been removed.

The veneers placement process requires three separate visits to a dentist, including the consultation and preparation. The procedure involves etching the tooth’s surface and applying bonding materials. A dentist then cements the veneer in place and cures it with a special type of light.

Dental Bonding

Tooth bonding is a quick and affordable cosmetic solution for correcting minor dental issues. It’s far less invasive than other cosmetic procedures such as dental veneers and crowns, so patients typically don’t need anesthesia (unless they are also filling a tooth). To perform the procedure, your dentist chooses a composite resin color that matches the natural enamel of your teeth. Then, the surface of your tooth is roughened and conditioned to help the bonding material stick. Once bonded, the dentist can mold and shape it to your desired appearance. The final step involves using a high-intensity curing light to harden the composite.

Once cured, your bonded tooth will look and function as though it was a natural tooth. However, since bonded teeth aren’t as strong as your natural enamel, the resin can chip or break over time. Bonded teeth are also more prone to staining, so it’s important to brush and floss regularly, as well as get regular dental checkups.

For the best results, be sure to visit a dentist that has experience with this cosmetic procedure. Bunker Hill Dentistry offers a variety of cosmetic services, and our dentist Dr. Le has a unique artistic background that helps him select the right shades of resin and ensure the perfect fit for your teeth. He can also recommend a mouthguard for patients who grind or clench their teeth at night, as this can quickly wear down the bonding resin.