When dental decay or damage occurs, a restoration is often necessary to restore optimal oral health and function. Many individuals worry that their new restoration will be noticeable to others. Fortunately, however, advanced materials and techniques now make invisible dentistry a possibility.
In this article, we will explore some of the most common restorations available. We will also explain how modern methods can help ensure that your smile remains lifelike and natural-looking for years to come.
Invisible Dentistry: Custom Restorations for Your Unique Smile
No two smiles are the same. That’s why restorative dentistry requires an artistic eye. Modern dental restorations protect your teeth from further damage, but they also beautify your appearance while retaining your smile’s individuality. In the sections below, we’ll explore some of the most common restorations available today.
If decay or damage is minimal, the issue can usually be addressed with a dental filling. Traditionally, fillings were made from an amalgam of silver, tin, copper, zinc, and mercury. These restorations were metallic in color and were quite noticeable, as they did not blend in with the surrounding teeth.
Today, the vast majority of dentists use tooth colored fillings. This composite resin material can be color-matched to your specific tooth shade for impressive, seamless results. Best of all, composite resin is safer and less invasive than silver amalgam.
Sometimes damage may be too severe for a filling, but not extensive enough to require a dental crown. In these cases, indirect fillings may be used. Also referred to as inlays and onlays, these restorations fit into the actual tooth structure, much like a puzzle piece.
Inlays and onlays can be crafted from a wide range of materials, including composite resin and dental ceramic. Because these restorations can be precisely color matched to your natural teeth, they are practically invisible once bonded into place.
A dental crown – or cap – covers the entire tooth structure. This restoration is recommended when moderate or severe damage is present. Traditionally, crowns were made of gold and other metal alloys. Today, most patients prefer the aesthetics of tooth-colored crowns.
When indicated, ceramic crowns can be fabricated with a metal substructure. Porcelain-on-metal (POM) crowns are particularly beneficial for back teeth that endure strong bite forces. These restorations can be made in such a way that any metal is completely hidden by tooth-colored ceramic. As a result, modern dental crowns can blend seamlessly with your smile for optimal aesthetic results.
Cosmetic imperfections like chips, cracks, and discoloration can be concealed by dental veneers. Like crowns, veneers fit over the natural teeth, but they only cover the front surfaces.
Veneers can be made from medical-grade porcelain or zirconia. These advanced dental materials mimic natural tooth enamel for a lifelike sheen.
When your veneers are created, your unique dental anatomy is taken into account. Your new restorations will conceal any cosmetic flaws and bring balance and symmetry to your smile. In fact, dental veneers are virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. No one will even know you have restorations unless you tell them.
A missing tooth can have a significant negative impact on function and oral health. But for many patients, a visible gap in their smile is the most troubling aspect of tooth loss.
Serving as a replacement for a missing tooth root, an implant is placed in the jaw during an oral surgery procedure. Once the implant has healed, a dental crown can be permanently attached. Once treatment is complete, an implant can be used just like a natural tooth, and no one will be able to tell a tooth was ever missing.
Learn More about Invisible Dentistry
Dental damage doesn’t mean you have to compromise your smile. Today, there are plenty of restorative options available that offer incredibly natural results. To learn more about artistic smile design, contact Lake Forest Dental Arts.