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6 Ways to Restore Your Smile

Beaming Elderly Woman | Extractions | Louisville, KY | Natural Smiles

Are your pearly whites in need of some TLC? Restorative dentistry is the practice of repairing smiles that are decayed, chipped, cracked, or that have parts missing altogether. It is about making your teeth look great and function well again — bringing them back to health.

At Natural Smiles, we offer many restorative techniques that will make your damaged teeth beautiful and strong once again. Today’s modern materials and advanced dental technologies mean procedures are faster, more comfortable, and offer better results than ever before.

If you’d like to schedule a restorative consultation in Louisville, KY, call Natural Smiles at 502-785-8695.

 

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Not so long ago, cavities were repaired exclusively with metal fillings, which are visible on the tooth every time you open your mouth. Many dentists still use these old-fashioned amalgam fillings on their patients’ cavities!

In addition to being unattractive, a metal filling may require removal of more of your tooth structure before placement. While there is absolutely no evidence that the trace amount of mercury in amalgam restorations is dangerous, some people prefer not having any of the chemical in their or their children’s bodies. And a small number of patients may develop an allergy to one of the metals used in the filling.

At Natural Smiles, we have a better way. We use metal-free composite resin fillings only. The material is precisely matched to your tooth color, so it’s completely invisible in your mouth. Composite fillings generally require less drilling than their metal counterparts.

  • After numbing your mouth so you are comfortable, we carefully remove all of the decay in the tooth.
  • We use a special gel to “etch” the tooth. This ensures a strong bond.
  • We will apply the putty-like resin to the cavity, shaping it for a completely natural look.
  • We use a special light to harden, or “cure” the material.
  • We trim and polish the filling so it blends with your smile beautifully.

 

Inlays & Onlays

Sometimes, you have a cavity in the back of your mouth that’s too big for a standard filling, but not severe enough to require a dental crown. In this case, you may be a candidate for an inlay or an onlay. These restorations are quite similar to each other, differing just in the amount of tooth they cover.

An inlay is used if the area to be repaired is contained within the cusps of the tooth. An onlay is required if the decay includes both the area inside the cusps plus one or more of the cusps themselves.

Inlays and onlays are sometimes called “indirect fillings” because unlike conventional fillings, they are not applied directly to the tooth.

  • We will numb the area thoroughly so you don’t feel a thing.
  • We will meticulously remove all trace of decay.
  • We will take precise impressions of the tooth to be treated.
  • We will send those impressions to our trusted dental lab, where your durable porcelain onlay or inlay will be manufactured. We will fit you with a temporary restoration to protect your tooth in the meantime.
  • When your onlay or inlay arrives at the Natural Smiles office, we will have you come in for a second appointment. We will make sure the restoration fits perfectly and is a precise match to your tooth color before securely bonding it into place.

 

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a restoration that covers the entire portion of the tooth above the gumline. It is extremely useful and versatile, giving the tooth strength, protecting it from trauma and decay, and making it look gorgeous. A dental crown may be used in a number of situations.

  • A tooth is so badly decayed, it is extremely weak or there is very little of the structure remaining.
  • A tooth is damaged from a traumatic injury.
  • A tooth is aesthetically displeasing — discolored or oddly shaped, for example.
  • Dental crowns are placed on healthy teeth in order to support a dental bridge.
  • A dental crown may be used to top a dental implant.

If you require a dental crown, we will make precise impressions of your tooth at our Louisville, KY office. We will send them to our dental lab, where your custom porcelain crown will be created. When it arrives at our office, we will have you come in and we will place the restoration over your tooth, cementing it into place. With proper care, your dental crown should last several years.

 

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a restoration that replaces a single missing tooth, or multiple adjacent missing teeth. It consists of a pair of crowns placed on the teeth adjoining the gap, and an artificial tooth or teeth, called pontics, supported in the middle. So it really does bridge the gap in your smile.

One of the first steps is to prepare the adjoining “abutment” teeth. We will have to remove a little bit of enamel from them in order for the crowns to fit properly. We will take impressions and send them off to our dental lab, where the crowns and the pontic will be crafted.

We will give you a temporary bridge to wear while your permanent one is in the works.

Once we’ve received your beautiful new bridge from the lab, we will have you come to our office once again. We will ensure the bridge fits perfectly and is comfortable before we cement it into place. Like our crowns and fillings, our bridges contain no metal.

 

Dental Veneers

A dental veneer is a thin sheath of porcelain that’s bonded permanently to the front of a tooth. Veneers are generally thought of as a cosmetic procedure, and in many cases that is their primary purpose. But they do serve a restorative function, too. The super-strong porcelain we use in our custom veneers protects and strengthens teeth that are cracked and damaged.

 

If you live in or around Louisville, KY and are interested in learning more about the restorative dentistry procedures we offer at Natural Smiles, call our office at 502-785-8695. Or fill out and submit our handy online contact form. We will get back to you promptly.