The majority of people will experience dental decay (cavity) at some point in their lives. Left untreated, decay can lead to pain, infection and tooth loss. Dental fillings are an effective means of treating decay and returning a tooth to health. Teeth with small to moderate amounts of decay are often good candidates for fillings.
Fillings can be amalgam (silver) or composite (tooth-colored). Dr. Ott most often recommends composite fillings due to the restorative qualities of the material and the cosmetic outcome. The placement of composite fillings requires less tooth structure be removed than amalgam fillings due to its ability to bond with the natural tooth structure and composite fillings expand and contract with temperature variations less than amalgam, creating a lower risk of weakening the tooth over time. In addition, composite fillings are matched to the natural tooth color, creating a better cosmetic outcome.
Dental crowns are single tooth restorations used to restore a tooth that has been damaged or weakened by extensive decay, endodontic treatment or cracks and fractures. A crown is generally tooth colored to match the shade of natural teeth. The crown is a protective covering that fits over the natural tooth that has been prepared for the crown. The crown will look, fit, feel and function like a natural tooth.
A dental bridge is used to fill the space that is present when there is a missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is generally tooth colored to match the shade of the natural teeth. When a bridge is placed the teeth on both sides of the space are prepared (this is the same procedure as a crown preparation). The prepared teeth are then each covered by crowns (these are called abutments) which have a replacement tooth or teeth between the them (these are called pontics). The result is full restoration of appearance and function.