Repairing teeth to help ensure they last you a lifetime.
Did you know that tooth enamel is the strongest known biological material on earth? The strength of your enamel is vital for protecting your teeth from injury and decay. Despite this, enamel isn’t indestructible. It’s strong, but it’s actually pretty brittle—so, just like anything else, it can crack, chip, and break. So, what does your Bee Cave dentist do when teeth experience severe damage from an injury or decay? Thankfully, modern dentistry has plenty of options to repair damaged teeth, restoring their health, function, and appearance. Everyone’s case is unique, so these options allow you to find the right treatment for your situation as well as for your budget and personal preferences. But what options are there, and how do you know which one is right for you? To help you understand your options, we’ve created a guide to what treatments we use to restore badly damaged teeth.
When teeth are seriously cracked or chipped, dental veneers are a great, minimally invasive way to restore their function and appearance while protecting them from future injuries. Dental veneers simply consist of thin porcelain sheets that are expertly designed and tinted to match the appearance of your natural teeth and permanently placed on top of them. Each veneer is designed and made specifically for you, which helps them achieve their famously natural appearance. You can choose to have your veneers shaped to match the appearance of your damaged teeth or to change its shape to improve the appearance of your smile. Plus, the treatment is incredibly versatile, so you can get a single veneer, a whole set, or anything in between.
These factors help veneers match your unique treatment needs and wants, making them an ideal option for many people. Placing veneers is incredibly easy, simply involving very slightly shaving down the tops and sides of your tooth to prevent it from looking too thick once your veneer is added. This simple, easy process makes veneers an even better cracked or chipped tooth repair option. Porcelain is also durable and stain-resistant, so veneers generally last around 15 years or more with great oral hygiene, making them a great long-term way to restore and protect damaged teeth.
If you’re suffering from badly infected or damaged teeth, dental veneers often aren’t enough to restore and protect your teeth. This is where dental crowns come in. They’re a more involved treatment option, but they’re incredibly effective—so much so that they often make the difference between saving and losing a tooth! So, what are dental crowns and how do they manage this? A dental crown is a tooth-shaped piece of porcelain, ceramic, or metal that is permanently secured over your natural tooth. To accomplish this, your natural tooth is shaved down on the top and sides. If your tooth is infected or has suffered a major break that left its root exposed, you may need a root canal before Dr. Tomasik can place your crown, but that can be done at the same time.
By sitting on top of your damaged teeth, dental crowns act as a shield, protecting your teeth from future decay and injury. Just like dental veneers, they’re designed and made just for you, so your crown will look like a natural part of your smile unless you choose to receive a metal crown. Crowns are also very durable, but they’re not indestructible, so it’s important to practice proper oral hygiene and not to use them as tools to open packaging or crunch down on something hard like ice or nutshells. If you take care of them, though, a porcelain crown can last around 15 years or more before it needs to be replaced. Nowadays, crowns can be made from a range of materials, though, each of which has strengths and weaknesses. If you’re considering getting a crown, don’t be afraid to ask Dr. Tomasik about your options.
While we’d love to be able to save every damaged tooth, sometimes a major injury or severe decay damages them beyond repair. Thankfully, losing a tooth doesn’t mean losing your options! In fact, there are several restorative treatments that you can choose from if you have one or more missing teeth. Dentures are a traditional way to replace multiple missing teeth. There are several types of dentures out there, including partial dentures that are used to replace several damaged teeth when the rest of your teeth are healthy, and full dentures, which are used to replace all or most of your teeth. Dentures usually consist of an acrylic plastic base fitted with false teeth and every aspect of them are designed specifically for you. This helps ensure that the dentures fit well and don’t slip when you speak or eat, but it also helps them look incredibly natural.
Nowadays, improved materials mean that dentures look surprisingly natural—no one should realize you have them! The acrylic base is matched to the color of your gums while the teeth are designed to either blend in with the rest of your natural teeth or to give you the beautiful, natural-looking smile of your dreams. While you do have to be a little careful about what foods you eat with dentures in—particularly chewy or sticky foods generally aren’t recommended—they can transform your daily life by restoring the function and appearance of your missing teeth. The biggest downsides to dentures are that they can’t prevent the bone loss in your jaw that happens when you lose teeth and, because of this, they require yearly maintenance. Bone loss in your jaw slowly changes the way your dentures fit, so these regular appointments ensure that your dentures continue fitting well, which keeps them comfortable and functional. In general, dentures last about eight years before they need to be replaced. Despite these downsides, dentures can make a huge difference in your daily life and your confidence, allowing you to eat, speak, and smile free of worry.
Traditional dentures are an effective tooth replacement option, but dental implants are largely considered to be the best option out there for a wide variety of reasons. A dental implant is a titanium metal rod that is embedded directly into your jawbone to replace your natural tooth root and then secured with a tooth replacement option. This is where the innovation and versatility of dental implants shine through. The titanium metal that makes up your new tooth root is biocompatible, so your bone heals and grows up around it to hold it firmly in place—just like it does with a natural tooth root. This, along with the constant stimulation that your new tooth root sends to the bone around it, prevents the bone loss that usually results from losing a tooth. It can even reverse minor bone loss!
Plus, implants can be fitted with many different tooth prosthetics, including a dental crown on a single rod or a bridge, partial dentures, or full dentures on multiple implants. As a result, it’s easy to use implants to meet your unique treatment needs and wants. The restoration you choose is designed just for you, allowing your new smile to look completely natural. Implants’ position in your jawbone also provides deep-rooted stability, making them feel just as natural as they look. You can even eat foods like corn on the cob with implants. These factors work together to create the next best thing to getting your natural teeth back—and the confidence to match.
If you’re considering dental implants, however, it’s important to realize that the placement process does involve surgical procedures and generally takes several months. It requires quite a bit of healing time between treatments, so you’ll need to ensure you’re healthy enough before you decide to get implants. While getting them is a bit of a process, dental implants last a lifetime and provide unique benefits that other tooth replacement options simply can’t match. This makes them worth considering for anyone who has one or more missing teeth.
Severely damaging a tooth can be frustrating and concerning, but it doesn’t mean you’re out of options! Modern dentistry has several treatments that can restore the health, function, and appearance of even severely damaged teeth—and when a tooth is beyond saving, your local Bee Cave dentist can help you decide the best way to replace it. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tomasik at any time.