Promoting Healthier Smiles with Restorations
A smile affected by damage or decay can have a significant impact on your health and quality of life. Dr. Steven E. Lewis helps patients across Porterville enjoy healthier smiles with quality restorations. Using gentle, compassionate care, Dr. Lewis and his team look for effective and conservative treatment options to exceed patient expectations and revitalize their smiles.
Don’t put up with an unhealthy smile for another day. Contact our office and schedule a visit today!
CALL US: 559-781-0223 REQUEST APPOINTMENT
Restoration Services We Offer
Dr. Lewis provides several restoration options to benefit the smiles of our patients. If your smile is affected by damage, decay, or tooth loss, we offer the following solutions:
Do I Need a Restoration?
Dental restorations are used when one or more of your teeth suffer trauma from damage or decay. The goal of restorations is to find the simplest and most effective way to preserve as much of your smile as possible.
If you suspect something is wrong with your smile, a dental exam will determine what’s wrong and what the appropriate treatment would be. Dr. Lewis relies on his decades of experience to help identify a patient’s oral health issues and provide prompt and effective treatment.
Do I Need a Crown or a Filling?
While fillings and crowns provide different levels of support for teeth affected by tooth decay, it isn’t always easy to determine which one you need. Dr. Lewis examines each case on an individual basis, keeping your health and goals firmly in mind, and always communicates your options to help you make an informed decision.
When deciding between a crown or filling, there are two things the dentist pays careful attention to.
The Condition of the Unaffected Tooth
If the area of decay is small, and a substantial portion of the enamel remains healthy, a filling is often all that’s needed to restore a tooth’s integrity. However, if the filling would be large or would leave the tooth weakened, a crown may be a better choice.
The Likelihood of Further Decay or Damage
If you are prone to getting cavities, especially among certain teeth, the dentist may conclude that a crown would offer better protection than a filling. This helps you to avoid further dental work in the future, saving you time and stress.
Do I Need a Crown After Root Canal Therapy?
In root canal therapy, the dentist creates an access point into the inner tooth chamber to remove infected tissue as well as decayed enamel. A filling is then applied to restore the tooth.
In many cases, this filling is large, which makes the tooth more vulnerable to damage. A crown is placed over the tooth to protect it from damage when chewing and reduce the chances of a new cavity emerging.
Why You Need to Replace Missing Teeth
Losing teeth has a huge impact on your smile, not only aesthetically, but on its health and function as well.
When you lose a tooth, pressure from chewing causes the neighboring teeth to drift into the empty space. This gradually changes the alignment of your teeth, potentially leading to problems when speaking or chewing, uneven wear on teeth, and aching in your jaw.
Most significantly, your jaw can actually begin shrinking after tooth loss. Your jaw receives chewing pressure through the roots of your teeth. When a root is lost, the body stops supplying necessary nutrients to the jaw bone, and it gradually shrinks and becomes weaker. This can lead to further tooth loss and even alter the shape of your face.
Teeth Replacement Options
When it comes to replacing teeth, you have three main options: bridges, dentures, and dental implants. Each option works in its own unique way, so determining which one is best for you will depend on several factors.
What they are: A dental bridge replaces teeth by suspending one or more prosthetic teeth between two neighboring teeth.
How they work: The prosthetic tooth (or teeth) are attached to a crown on each end, which are placed over the neighboring teeth. These teeth act as supports to anchor the prosthetic teeth in place.
How many teeth they can replace: Bridges typically replace a single tooth, but may replace as many as three in a gap.
Full & Partial Dentures
What they are: A custom prosthetic that replaces the appearance and function of several teeth at once.
How they work: Dentures are designed to mimic the look, feel, and function of teeth. Made of acrylic resin, they sit over the gums and are removable. Full dentures are held in place by suction or adhesive paste, while partial dentures use metal clasps to anchor to your natural teeth.
How many teeth they can replace: Partial dentures can replace several teeth; full dentures replace an entire arch.
What they are: Dental implants are the most permanent replacement and the only option that replaces both the crown and the root.
How they work: An implant is a titanium post inserted into the jaw. Titanium is biocompatible, allowing the jaw bone to fuse to it and create a permanent hold. The dental prosthetic (a crown, bridge, or dentures) is then fixed to the top of the implant with an abutment, thus replacing the entire tooth.
How many teeth they can replace: The strategic placement of the dental implant posts can support any number of teeth, from a single tooth to an entire arch.
Who’s a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Most people who’ve lost teeth can have them replaced with dental implants. The most important factor is jaw bone density.
An implant needs a sufficient level of jaw strength to provide support, or else it will fail. Since the jaw bone deteriorates after tooth loss, receiving an implant soon after tooth loss can produce better results. If the jaw bone is too thin, it may be necessary to build it back up through a bone graft.
Gum disease can also cause problems with the placement of implants and healing after the procedure. If your gums are unhealthy, the dentist may recommend treating the gums before pursuing implant placement.
Taking Care of Your Dental Implant Restoration
Once your custom restoration has been set in place, you can take care of it much the same way you would care for your natural teeth.
Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratching the prosthetic. Use a special floss designed for implants, and be sure to clean carefully around the gums to reduce the risk of gum disease. Rinse with mouthwash daily to eliminate oral bacteria.
Traditional Bridges vs. Implant-Supported Bridges: What’s the Difference?
If you’re considering a bridge to replace a group of teeth, you may be unsure what kind of bridge is the right one for you. The answer largely depends on your situation, especially your oral health and jaw strength.
Traditional bridges use crowns placed over neighboring teeth to hold the prosthetic teeth in place. Implant-supported bridges, on the other hand, are anchored in place by implants in the jaw.
This option provides greater permanence and stability while also preserving your natural teeth. However, implants require substantial jaw bone density to stay in place. If your jaw bone strength is insufficient for an implant, a traditional bridge may be the better option for you.
5 Important Tips for Denture Wearers
Life with dentures can sometimes be tricky, especially while you’re still getting used to them. As you adjust to life with dentures, keep these five important tips in mind.
- Dentures must be cleaned regularly. Simply rinsing or brushing won’t be enough to keep dentures clean. Brush your dentures twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and use lukewarm water to avoid warping them. Never use soap to clean your dentures!
- Speak more, not less. It can take time for some denture wearers to adjust to speaking with dentures. You may feel awkward when speaking at first, but the more you do it, the sooner you’ll learn to overcome any difficulties.
- Your gums need rest from dentures. Wearing dentures for hours on end puts pressure on the gums. Taking your dentures out to soak at night allows your gums to rest, and reduces your chances of soreness and gum infections. Remember to brush your gums when you remove your dentures for cleaning.
- Drink plenty of water. Dry mouth can cause several problems for denture wearers. Ensure you keep your mouth comfortable by drinking water regularly.
- Be careful with hot foods. Your dentures insulate your soft tissues and can make it difficult to gauge how hot something is, leading to unfortunate burns. Be careful to use other methods to test the temperature before swallowing hot foods.
Your Smile is Our Passion
At the dental office of Dr. Steven E. Lewis, we love serving our patients and helping them feel safe, comfortable, and healthy. From our experienced dental treatment to our friendly and relaxing environment, you can count on us to put your needs first.
Contact our office today to make an appointment and get the quality dental care you deserve. We look forward to helping you smile!
CALL US: 559-781-0223 REQUEST APPOINTMENT