How dental restorations are created
When your teeth are in tip-top shape, you feel confident to face the world with a smile!
Dentistry is continuously evolving to find new, more effective ways to repair people’s damaged teeth.
There are three ways of doing dental restoration; direct restoration, indirect restoration and dental bonding. One happens inside the mouth, while the other is done independently and then fitted into the mouth after.
Direct restoration, such as composite or amalgam fillings is usually done when small or medium-sized repairs are needed. Verywell Health reports that amalgam, consisting of 50% mercury and 50% silver, tin, zinc and copper, is still being used as it’s strong, durable, easy to install and a cheaper option.
To this end, the USA Food and Drug Administration recommends that amalgam not be used on high-risk patients. High-risk patients include pregnant women or those planning to fall pregnant; moms who are still breastfeeding, children under six years of age and people who are allergic to mercury or who have kidney problems or pre-existing neurological diseases. Composite resins are recommended, but it is ill-advised to remove existing amalgam fillings as this will increase the risk of exposure to the metal.
The popular but more expensive composites are made of resin and match the colour of the tooth. The composite surface is polished to a natural shine once the procedure is complete.
The downside of amalgam fillings is that with age, they expand and crack the teeth. It requires repairing the cracks and replacing the filling. Composite fillings, on the other hand, shrink with age. These and pull away from the tooth, leading to leakage and decay.
Fillings have a lifespan of about 12 years for amalgam and almost eight years for composites. The fillings are affected by changes to the tooth such as additional cavities forming on the same tooth or one nearby, thus shortening its lifespan.
Dental bonding that uses a putty bonding agent to repair cracks, reshape teeth or reduce gaps between teeth is another direct restoration procedure. The bonding agent is manipulated to make a perfect replica of the tooth shape and colour tint. A curing lamp is then used to dry the composition in the mouth.
People usually choose the costly indirect restoration procedures that take the form of veneers, crowns and partial coverage crowns, bridges, implants, inlays or onlays when their teeth are missing or very severely damaged.
Indirect restoration is aesthetically pleasing and lasts longer. It is a permanent or semi-permanent dental fixture that requires several visits to the dentist for dental impression, tooth preparation, fabrication and insertion of temporary fixtures.
Veneers are thin shells of porcelain, created to mimic your teeth to cover damaged, stained or skew teeth. Dental crowns or caps are usually made of metal such as gold or titanium or metal-ceramic composite. Dental cement is used to bond the crown onto the tooth’s prepared surface, covering it completely. Bridges are false porcelain or metal teeth that cover gaps and are fixed to abutments – nearby natural teeth.
Porcelain, gold or resin composite inlays are similar to fillings but are created from a dental impression rather than malleable materials. The inlay is a replica of the natural tooth, and it is cemented into place, It is more durable and less prone to shrinkage than direct restoration composite fillings.
Onlays are used to replace parts of a tooth that have broken off. It is different from a crown, which covers the whole tooth. Onlays are usually done in place of restoration of a decayed or fractured tooth.
There are many options to consider when getting dental restoration. In recent years, dental implants – anchors made of titanium or titanium alloy – are sunk into the bone as support for indirect dental restorations such as crowns, bridges or dental prostheses, replacing missing teeth.
Does medical insurance cover specialists?
Not all dental insurance providers cover specialist work. Often, individual specialist consultations are covered, and others not. It depends on the insurance provider and the terms of your insurance contract.
Like health insurance, dental insurance covers the cost of certain procedures, check-ups and emergencies, either in their entirety or to an agreed-upon percentage, depending on the type of plan you choose. In turn, the insured pays a monthly premium. Dental insurance policies help many people to effectively budget for the cost of major dental procedures.
As for Affinity Dental, there are three tiers of dental insurance available at different price points. Each of these options covers certain specialist work to various degrees.
Adults and children need to visit the dentist at least twice a year, and these dental maintenance appointments can start to add up. Dental insurance will cover you for any additional treatments such as crowns, root canals or fillings, whether they are done at the dentist, or a specialist practice.
Usually, a dentist will refer you to a specialist, if needed.
If you need to find an Affinity Dental approved dentist in your area, click here.