Composite restorations, otherwise known as “white or tooth-colored fillings” are your first line of defense when removing small amounts of decay, or replacing mercury (or amalgam) restorations. Essentially, the materials used act as super glue in your teeth, strengthening and supporting your tooth structure with the added benefit of being cosmetically pleasing.
Dental inlays are made from a tooth-colored ceramic material and are used as an alternative to silver or composite fillings. Inlays can be used to repair a damaged tooth but require less removal of the tooth structure than a traditional crown. Dental Inlays can be used to repair decayed teeth, large or broken fillings and broken or fractured teeth.
A dental onlay is very similar to a dental inlay. The primary difference between the two is that the onlay will replace one or more of the chewing cusps on the tooth. Dental onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns.
Two appointments are needed for an inlay or onlay procedure. In the initial appointment Dr. Farmer will take an impression of the tooth and prepare it for the new dental onlay by removing any decay or old filling material. The tooth is then cleaned and shaped for the proper fit of the onlay.
On your second visit to our Longmont dental office, Dr. Farmer will bond the new dental inlay or onlay to your tooth and make adjustments for proper bite and comfort.
Once composite restorations (or mercury silver fillings) become larger than the remaining tooth structure, a tooth is weakened and needs a stronger restoration to strengthen and protect it. A crown is a circumferential “helmet” that holds the remaining tooth structure together and protects it from cracking or breaking. In our office, we use ceramic crowns which we bond to your tooth structure and contain no metal. This allows for a very strong, very natural restoration that you may not be able to differentiate from your natural teeth.
Another common reason that a crown may be necessary is if a tooth has developed stress fractures. Cracks and fractures in a tooth travel just like cracks in glass. These cracks can become very painful and, over time, may jeopardize the health and lifespan of the tooth.
A final reason tooth may need crown coverage is if it has had a root canal in the past. Once a root canal has been performed on a tooth, it may become more brittle over time and need more support and coverage to protect the tooth and your investment.
The process of having a crown made requires two appointments with Dr. Farmer. An impression of your tooth is taken and sent off to a laboratory so that the crown can be professionally created. During this time, you will have a temporary crown cemented on your tooth. Once your permanent crown is ready, it will be fitted and permanently bonded to your tooth at a following appointment.
Dentures and Partials
Partial Dentures: After multiple teeth have been removed it is imperative to refill the empty spaces. If you have remaining healthy teeth and cannot have dental implants placed due to extreme bone loss or monetary limitations, a partial is a great alternative to maintain your current quality of life. A partial is a removable dental prosthesis with resin teeth that attach to your existing teeth aesthetically replacing your missing teeth.
Complete Dentures: Dentures are used when you have lost, or will be losing all of your teeth on your upper or lower arch. Complete dentures can either be made in an immediate fashion or in a more conventional fashion. Immediate dentures are made before the teeth are extracted and can be worn immediately. These dentures do not allow any time for the gums and bone to heal and shrink, which will mean more post-operative adjustments and additional relines as time passes. Conventional dentures are fitted and fabricated after the teeth have been removed. They are not worn until two to three months after tooth extraction so that the bone and supporting soft tissues have time to heal properly. This type of denture needs less adjusting and relines over time.
Implant Supported Dentures: Dr. Farmer generally recommends that complete dentures are more comfortable and functional when combined with dental implants. Implant-supported dentures have improved retention and function giving guests a higher quality of life.
Located in the center of your tooth is the pulp chamber. A pulp is a collection of blood vessels that give nutrients to your tooth. Occasionally this area of your tooth can become infected. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of an infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature, or pain in the tooth and/or gums. Once it has been decided that you need a root canal, you will be scheduled for two visits. The first visit is to remove the infected nerve and prepare the pulp chamber. The roots are then filled with a natural rubber material that will seal off the roots from any residual or future bacterial infections. Once the actual root canal is completed, your tooth will need a crown to secure its strength and stability, giving the tooth back its structural integrity.
Our goal is always to preserve your teeth but, occasionally, a tooth may need to be extracted due to decay, breakage, loss of supporting structures (for example from periodontal disease), or for orthodontic or cosmetic reasons.
Our office utilizes a high performance soft tissue laser. It can be used in surgeries to lessen post-operative complications, infections, and guest discomfort which are problems often associated with scalpel incisions or electrosurge during dental surgeries. It can also be used to reduce bacteria and encourage faster healing in deep gingival pockets caused by periodontal disease. Our diode laser can stop an apthous ulcer or herpetic lesion from forming, or if formed, can decrease the healing time and stop the pain immediately. Laser therapy can also be used to make your teeth less sensitive.