Reconstructive dentistry gives us many options for repairing damaged teeth. If you experience tooth decay, we might recommend a filling, inlay, or dental crown. Which one is right for you depends on the state of your tooth.
The Right Situation for a Filling
We use tooth-colored fillings. These fillings are made of a composite resin–white plastic with ceramic inclusions to add strength and durability.
Fillings are the right choice for minor tooth decay. They are a great choice in this situation because they don’t require us to remove much tooth enamel. That lets us preserve your natural tooth enamel, which can’t be replaced once it’s gone. Plus, these fillings are inexpensive and can be completed quickly in a single visit. The same material can also be used to correct small cosmetic damage like chipped teeth.
However, these fillings do have limitations. Because they are not especially strong, we want to use them only for small cavities. Using these for large cavities can lead to pressure sensitivity and can weaken a tooth.
When You Might Need an Inlay (or Onlay)
An inlay is a ceramic filling. It’s made of advanced ceramic material, and we can design and manufacture it right in our office thanks to our CEREC machine. We might also call your ceramic filling an “onlay,” if it’s larger and includes one or more of the high points on your teeth, rather than just sitting inside the low part of the tooth.
Inlays are the right choice for larger cavities. Their additional strength comes in handy for restoring some of the strength lost to tooth damage. Plus, their beautiful, natural appearance matters more when you’re placing a filling that is more likely to be noticed because of its size.
We’re not concerned about this type of filling weakening a tooth, but if your tooth has extensive damage, we might recommend a dental crown instead.
Sometimes, Your Tooth Might Call for a Crown
A dental crown is like a sheath that slides over your tooth. The dental crown covers the entire visible surface of the tooth. We strongly recommend all-ceramic dental crowns. The ceramic used is highly durable, stronger than your natural tooth enamel. It’s beautiful in appearance and it is strong enough to protect and support your natural tooth.
We recommend a dental crown when your tooth is so damaged that it can’t support itself or a restoration like an inlay or onlay. A dental crown can also help beautify a tooth, so it might be a good idea if a damaged tooth is also badly discolored.
In most cases, a dental crown can save a badly damaged tooth. But if your tooth is too far gone, we might recommend removing the tooth and replacing it with a dental implant.
Let Us Repair Your Smile in Summerlin
Do you have cavities or other damage to your teeth? We can make your smile whole again, with appropriate treatments for every level of tooth damage, from minor to severe. If you are looking for a restorative dentist in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas, please call (702) 873-0324 today for an appointment with Dr. James B. Polley.