Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Replacing Unesthetic Restorations

There are 2 types of life spans:
Everything has a life expectancy, even dental filling materials. Dental materials appear to have two different types of life spans - a functional life span and an esthetic life span. The better the original dental restorative material and the skills of the operator, the longer the restoration will last. Lab-processed materials will generally last longer than direct placement materials.

What is the functional life span?
The functional life span is defined as the length of time a material will last before it fails to function properly. This failure will either (a) weaken the tooth or (b) permit decay or gum disease to begin. For example, when a piece of the filling breaks off (or often in the case of an amalgam [silver metal] filling, it causes a piece of the tooth to break off), the tooth requires a new restoration.

How is the esthetic life span different from the functional life span?

An esthetic life span is somewhat different. In the case of bonded and tooth-colored restorations, it means that the material, while possibly still able to function, has begun to degrade. A filling may have matched the tooth beautifully when placed, but over time, the change in color of the filling material, as well as actually tooth color changes, cause an obvious mismatch between tooth and filling material. Since the restorative material does not have the same properties as tooth enamel, it will wear a little differently. The shape will change over time, too. Luckily, it is a very slow process.

With lab-processed restorations, crowns and bridges, the crown may still be working well, but age and changes in your mouth make it and the surrounding soft tissues look less acceptable that it was when first placed. Again, this happens slowly, over many years.

What other esthetic problems can be fixed? 
Other esthetic problems that can be corrected include notches in fillings or under crowns caused by improper brushing (or decay), recession of the gum tissue that exposes  darker root surfaces around crowns or fillings, porcelain crowns (caps) that no longer match the adjacent teeth, and metal margins of crowns that are visible due to gum recession (and this is quite common).

Why should you consider getting new dental restorations?
When you can see these types of changes, you can be sure that others who look at you when you are speaking or smiling will see them too. If you place a high value on your personal appearance, this is the time to consider having the restorations replaced with newer materials. Newer dental restorative materials look better, last longer, are more color-stable, and more wear-resistant than older-generation bonded materials. You can expect them to look good for many years.

What fillings look the best?
In our opinion, silver metal fillings never look "good." Even at this best, polished and shined, they do not represent a picture of health. As the metal ages, it corrodes, pits, and darkens. Its constant expansion and contraction due to hot and cold foods we eat weakens the tooth. The darkening of a filling can cause a darkening of the tooth itself. After time, the tooth will become permanently dark gray. The wider your smile is (and the more teeth you show when talking and smiling), the more of a problem this can be. The most esthetic filling are tooth-colored.

What happens if I choose to keep my old fillings?
Broken, stained, worn, and visible fillings detract from your appearance. When you look at a tooth (from about 2 feet away) that has been restored, you should not see the filling. While these types of problems are, of course, non life-threatening, consider attending to them before they get worse - and difficult and expensive to correct.

In our office, we place a high value on the appearance of your teeth and how you feel about your smile. We want you to look your best. We use the best materials and techniques available in dentistry today to ensure a healthy smile. We will be happy to evaluate your particular condition and discuss options with you.

If you have any questions about replacing unesthetic restorations, please feel free to call our office to discuss restoration options at 512-250-5012.


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  2. What is a tooth-colored filling?
    Tooth-Colored Fillings Tooth-colored fillings are made of a blend, or “composite,” of plastic resin and silica fillers. These substances mimic many of the qualities of natural tooth structure, such as wear-resistance and translucency. Dental composites also help strengthen teeth .Jain Dental Clinic promises to deliver quality dental care treatment in Indirapuram, Dentist in East Delhi