Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry

We provide the care you need and ensure your comfort in a friendly and professional manner using state-of-the-art restorative care. Our goal is to replace and preserve what remains of your tooth structure through porcelain crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges and root canal therapy.

When a tooth needs a restoration, we can often use CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing) technology. We use this technology to custom-design and fabricate tooth-colored restorations, crowns, onlays, inlays, or veneers, all in one appointment. CAD/CAM restorations are often the best choice for a healthy, beautiful, and natural looking smile.

Tooth decay, old fillings, and trauma can weaken the integrity of your teeth. To restore the appearance and function of the teeth, your Walnut Creek dentist will evaluate your needs and recommend the most appropriate restorative solution.

With the remarkable technology and top quality dental materials currently available, it is possible to repair the damage while also enhancing your smile. When the biting surface of a back tooth needs to be restored, your dentist will recommend a restoration based upon the amount of tooth structure that has been lost.

An INLAY is a restoration that fits within the biting surface of the tooth, similar to a traditional filling. Unlike a traditional filling, this restoration is milled from a single piece of high-strength porcelain, or cast from gold. Due to its uniform, homogenous structure, the inlay is more durable than a filling and can withstand much stronger biting forces.

An ONLAY will cover one or more cusps of a back tooth. Though the tooth may have significant structural damage, all surfaces of the tooth may not have been affected. By design, these are smaller, more conservative versions of dental crowns. Unlike full-coverage crowns, an onlay conserves tooth structure because there isn’t a need to remove all of the enamel from the tooth, though the missing portion can be replaced.  Onlays (also known as 3/4 crowns) are recommended when there is sufficient remaining natural tooth structure.

Both inlays and onlays are fabricated from high strength porcelain or gold and permanently cemented onto the tooth.  They may be produced in a dental laboratory, or they may be fabricated in the dental office with the use of the CEREC digital CAD/CAM system where they can be completed in one visit.

When your front or back tooth requires a full-coverage restoration, your dentist in Walnut Creek may recommend a dental crown. Here’s what you should know about these strong and versatile restorations:

What is a crown? A dental crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that is cemented over an entire tooth. It provides the coverage necessary to protect the tooth, and restore it to its natural shape and size, and strengthen the tooth to prevent it from fracturing.

What is a crown made of? Dental crowns can be made of different materials that range from gold, to porcelain fused to metal, to full ceramic.  The indications for each material can vary depending on how much tooth is remaining, if the patient clenches or grinds heavily, and if there are critical esthetic concerns.  Our Walnut Creek office uses the CEREC digital CAD/CAM system, an advanced technology which allows us to use the most durable tooth colored ceramics currently available. This equipment provides a precision fit, high strength and produces natural-looking crowns.  CEREC crowns are milled at our office, enabling us to complete your treatment in just one visit and eliminating the need for temporary crowns or 2nd appointments to cement the final crown.

When does a tooth need a crown?

  • To restore a broken/ cracked tooth, or one that is severely worn down
  • To protect a weak tooth from breaking (the crown holds the parts of the tooth together)
  • To cover a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t much tooth structure left
  • To cover a weakened tooth after a root canal treatment
  • To replace an existing crown that has decay along the margin
  • To support a dental bridge when replacing a missing tooth
  • To cover and complete a dental implant
  • When a tooth needs cosmetic enhancement

Tooth-colored filling materials, sometimes referred to as composite bonding, can be used to provide structural or cosmetic enhancements to the front teeth. Composite bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to improve a wide range of imperfections regarding your smile.

In order to accomplish this procedure, your Walnut Creek CA dentist will “bond” the tooth colored resin materials directly bonded to the tooth surface.  The exact shade of the bonding material will be selected to match the existing shade of your teeth. Specially formulated dental adhesives and an ultraviolet curing light are used to harden the filling material and secure it to the tooth. After the resin has been cured (or hardened) it can be shaped and polished to reveal a glossy natural finish.

Once in place, your bonded teeth will be stable enough to tolerate normal eating and drinking, though you’ll need to avoid potentially harmful habits such as nail-biting or chewing on hard objects.

Composite bonding is typically used for cosmetic restorations on front teeth.  Some examples include:

  • The improvement in the color or texture of the teeth
  • To fill in gaps or close spaces between the teeth
  • To create a different shape or lengthen the appearance of a tooth
  • To repair chips and cracks in front teeth

Dental bonding is an effective and desirable solution to many cosmetic dental challenges, though the procedure is not without some limitations. It is less costly than porcelain veneers and the treatment is generally conservative, requiring minimal if any tooth removal.  In fact, some composite bonding procedures can be performed without the need for anesthesia.

However, composite bonding generally needs to be replaced more frequently than the more durable porcelain restorations because it isn’t as strong as porcelain and also less resistant to stain. The characteristics and quality of dental materials continues to improve, making today’s bonding procedures far superior to similar procedures performed even 5 years ago.

According to the extent of your bone loss and your individual preferences, there are a number of different kinds of dentures:

  • Temporary/ immediate (for use immediately following tooth extraction)
  • Custom (a more precise and esthetic, final denture)
  • Partial denture (when some of the natural teeth have been preserved)
  • Implant retained denture (a permanent restoration that has been anchored with dental implants)

The custom denture technique is an efficient and effective solution for anyone who has suffered tooth loss and still appreciates the importance of a fantastic smile. It’s the solution for patients who understand the value of teeth that can chew comfortably and fit properly.