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Accidents, cavities, teeth grinding and even just getting older can all cause damage to our teeth. Some of the resulting problems may be visible to you. You may notice that your tooth has changed color or realize that your gums have receded or that your tooth wriggles. You may find that your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, or that you have a toothache.

If the problem is not identified and repaired, the tooth may have to be extracted, which would leave a hole in your mouth. A missing tooth or missing teeth is not just a cosmetic problem; it can impact how you speak and what you can eat. If the space is not filled, the surrounding teeth may shift out of position, causing even more problems.

Fortunately, our dentists at Dental One Associates of Virginia have several solutions to address all of these problems and restore your smile to its full functionality.

Dental Fillings

More than 90 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have had a cavity at some point.

A dental filling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective way to repair a tooth damaged by decay. If the tooth has a cavity, the dentist will remove the decayed area and fill it with a tooth-colored material that bonds to the tooth, making it stronger. These tooth restorations, which are called composite fillings, are strong and fracture-resistant so they are able to withstand the pressure of chewing.

Dental fillings are most effective when only a small part of the tooth has been damaged by decay. You still need to have enough healthy tooth structure left for the dentist to attach the dental filling. If there is not enough healthy enamel, then the dentist will recommend a crown instead.

Inlays & Onlays

Our dentists at Dental One Associates of Virginia also do inlays and onlays. These are similar to fillings. A dental inlay fills the space between the rounded points (cusps) on top of the tooth. A dental onlay covers one or more of the cusps. They are typically used when the damaged area is too big for a filling but may not need a complete crown.

Tooth Crowns

Think of a dental crown as a cap for your tooth. The crown completely covers the tooth all the way down to the gum line, protecting the tooth and allowing it to function normally again. It’s needed when a tooth has been decayed, cracked, or broken and the problem is too big to fix with a filling. Crowns are also needed after a root canal treatment. Crowns can also be placed over healthy teeth to support a dental bridge.

Our dentists create crowns that matches the shape, color, and translucency of your other teeth. Once it’s in place, your friends and family won’t be able to tell it’s not your natural tooth.

Crowning a tooth usually takes two visits. During the first visit, our dentist will remove the damaged area and prep the tooth to fit inside the new crown. If you have very little natural tooth left, then the dentist may build up the tooth with a filling material to support the crown. This is called a core build-up.

After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression to send to the dental lab. Before you leave your appointment, the dentist will attach a temporary crown to your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready.

At your next visit, the permanent crown will be placed over your tooth and secured in place.

Dental Bridges

Fillings and crowns help restore your natural teeth that are damaged but still in place.  A dental bridge fills the gap left by a tooth that is missing.

Unlike a partial denture, which is removable, a dental bridge is permanently attached to other teeth in your mouth. The bridge includes two crowns, which fit over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These are attached to an artificial tooth, called a pontic, which is in the middle. The pontic looks just like a crown; the only difference is that there is not a real tooth beneath it.

If you have one missing tooth, your dental bridge will require two crowns and one pontic. This is called a 3-unit bridge. If you have two missing teeth, the bridge will require two crowns and two pontics. This is called a 4-unit bridge. Longer bridges can also be created.

If you need a dental bridge, call one of our offices today to schedule an appointment.

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