Cosmetic treatments tend to look better and last longer in people who have healthy teeth and gums. So any tooth decay or gum disease should be treated before cosmetic dentistry begins.
Cosmetic treatments to restore teeth
Fillings, crowns, onlays, inlays, root fillings and veneers are used to restore decayed, worn or broken teeth or those affected by gum disease.
Fillings are used to fill holes (cavities) that have formed in your teeth, usually as a result of decay or tooth wear.
Tooth-coloured fillings can be used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings, making them a natural-looking alternative. They are often used in teeth that show when you smile or talk.
Before you have your filling, your dentist will remove the decayed and weakened parts of your tooth and clean the hole. With tooth-coloured fillings, your dentist will build the filling in layers, hardening each layer with a special blue light before placing the next. This technique takes a bit longer than having an amalgam filling done.
Crowns, inlays and onlays
If a tooth has been broken or weakened by a large filling or a lot of decay, your dentist may recommend fitting a crown (or cap). A crown looks just like a healthy natural tooth. It is made in a laboratory and then cemented over the top of the damaged tooth, to disguise it. For teeth near the front of the mouth, crowns are made of ceramic materials. Crowns on back teeth may be made of ceramic, gold or a gold/porcelain combination.
Inlays and onlays are similar to fillings (in that they fill a hole in your tooth). However, like crowns, they are made in a laboratory and then cemented to the tooth with special glue. Inlays and onlays are strong and can be an attractive alternative to amalgam fillings. They are suitable for the grinding surfaces of the back teeth and can be made out of gold, porcelain or tooth-coloured filling material.
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