Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry in Spokane, WA


A dental filling is used to restore the shape and the structure that is lost due to dental decay or any other problem like accidents or trauma. Modern dentistry offers us with many options when it comes to dental fillings unlike ancient times when options were limited. Dental fillings can be of different types like gold, silver amalgam or composite resin. Each filling material comes with a package of advantages and disadvantages.

For a dental filling to be done the basic steps include:

  1. Removal of the decayed part – After identifying the tooth to be filled, the dentist will remove all the decayed tooth structure by drilling. All the soft and unsupported tooth structure is removed until the hard tooth structure is reached.
  2. Placement of the filling material- On top of the prepared tooth, the filling material is placed.
  3. Finishing and polishing- Extra material is removed and the detailing of the filling is done to give it the contours of the natural tooth. Any rough surface is smoothened so that you achieve a smooth and glossy finish.

Composite Resin Fillings

Since composite resins are tooth colored they are extremely esthetic. A composite filled tooth is so close to a natural tooth in looks that it is virtually impossible to make out if a filling is done or not. Unlike silver fillings, composite fillings require minimal tooth structure removal. This is because it binds to the teeth chemically and hence, conservative removal of the defective tooth material is enough. They are expensive as compared to the other fillings. In large restorations they may not last as long as an amalgam. It is applied in a layer-by-layer form. That is why, it consumes a lot of chairside time.

Silver Amalgam Filling

Silver fillings are one of the most ancient types of filling material and have been used from the beginning of dentistry. It is an alloy made by the mixture of metals like tin, silver and copper with mercury (as the liquid component). Silver fillings are strong and are used for back teeth primarily as they can withstand heavy chewing forces. They are very durable and can even last for a lifetime. In most of the cases, silver fillings have been reported to have a life of ten to fifteen years. One of the most important benefits of silver filling is that they are, by far, the cheapest filling materials available. Silver fillings give an unpleasant metallic appearance due to which they are not considered esthetic. Mercury present within the silver filling has shown some serious side effects in few patients. Although, this fact is controversial and research is still in progress, dentists are venturing out to try new filling materials to avoid any disputes. The rate at which the tooth expands or contracts due to hot or cold fluids is not equal to that of silver fillings. Hence, the teeth with silver fillings tend to break easily.

Dental Crowns

Dental crown is a cap like prosthesis that is placed on a tooth so that the lost form or function can be restored. It can be made of purely metal like gold or steel, porcelain and metal or purely ceramic. A dental crown serves functions like strengthening of a weak tooth, building up the shape of a grossly decayed tooth, masking the discolorations of a tooth, protecting a root canal treated tooth from breakage and replacing missing teeth through a bridge.

A dental crown is placed on a prepared tooth. Preparation of a tooth involves removal of a thin layer of tooth structure to accommodate the dental crown. Listed below are the steps involved in crown placement:

  1. Tooth preparation- In cases, when a tooth has a live pulp tooth preparation is done only after a shot of local anesthesia as patient experience some sensitivity during the drilling session. In root canal treated teeth, there is no problem of sensitivity.
  2. Impression of prepared tooth- The impression of the prepared tooth is recorded. This gives the exact measurements in which the dental crown should be fabricated. The model of your tooth (prepared from the impression) is sent to the laboratory where the dental crown is prepared. A temporary crown is fixed on the prepared tooth to keep it in a protected state.
  3. Fixing of the dental crown- This is the last step in which the patient is called for the placement of the final crown. The fixing is done with the help of cement that glues the dental crown to tooth.

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