Once your adult teeth come in around the ages of 6 or 7 years old, they’ll be with you for the rest of your life – barring some sort of damage or other issues of course. If unfortunate circumstances have led to your teeth becoming damaged, you’ll likely need a dentist to help repair them for you. Even though it can be a trying time (physically, mentally, and financially), your dentist will have a toolbox of procedures at the ready to get your oral health back on track.
Many patients think of dental veneers when it comes to repairing damaged teeth, likely because they are a very common procedure and also due to the amount of media exposure veneers get through celebrities and social media influencers. That said, dental veneers are an amazing way to repair or even enhance a patient’s smile, but they are certainly not the only treatment option.
We won’t spend a lot more time going over the benefits of veneers so we can look at the many other treatment options that can repair your damaged smile instead. Let’s look at the alternatives your dentist might choose to get your smile back into shape.
This treatment option is great for lightly damaged teeth, which generally means a chipped or broken tooth. Usually applied to a single affected tooth, bonding involves applying a dental-specific composite resin to the damaged area and shaping it once it has hardened. Bonding can also be used to reattach a broken-off piece of tooth and will strengthen the tooth as well as make it look good as new. It’s also typically a one appointment procedure and the easiest way to repair minor tooth damage. Better yet, it’s a very cost-friendly treatment.
If bonding won’t do the job because a tooth is too damaged, then a crown may be a good option. Often used to repair more extensive tooth damage, a crown or “cap” is used to cover up a single tooth or multiples and allow the patient to regain the look and function of their teeth.
Crowns are designed to fit over the existing tooth perfectly and can be shaped to match the remaining teeth in a patient’s mouth. Likewise, a crown can be coloured to match the surrounding teeth for a seamless look.
Dental crowns are very durable and will allow a patient to eat and chew normally but it is still recommended to be careful when eating hard or sticky foods and avoid clenching or grinding by wearing a mouthguard to sleep at night.
Dentures are made to completely replace missing teeth. There are a few options available depending on what the patient requires, like a single tooth denture, partial dentures (for multiple adjacent teeth) or full dentures that can replace an entire row of teeth. Dentures are removable and aren’t anchored to the jawbone like dental implants are.
The biggest advantage of removable dentures is that they are very affordable. Especially considering how expensive dental implants can be, many patients need a cheaper option that allows them to regain the use of their mouth and the look of their smile. Another benefit is that dentures can be obtained much quicker than dental implants and as such are often used as a temporary solution while the implant process is worked through.
Dental implants are the ultimate in damaged tooth replacement by providing flawless looks and total functionality (just like real teeth). Implants are designed to be embedded into a patient’s jawbone and topped with a dental crown that looks and works just like a natural tooth. Implants cannot be removed, are super durable and are much more comfortable in the patient’s mouth when compared to dentures. No sliding or uncomfortable dentures, no worries about cavities or accidentally damaging them – implants look and act just like real teeth and will last a lifetime with proper care. A single tooth or a whole row of teeth can be replaced, shaped, and coloured to match a patient’s smile.
Implants are very expensive, and the procedure is quite involved. Patients will need to undergo multiple appointments to install the implant post (followed by healing time), and then have the tooth crown installed. If a patient can afford dental implants, then it is the recommended option for severely damaged teeth.
If you’ve sustained damage to a tooth or teeth in your mouth, it’s recommended to get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible and get your treatment started. Dental issues like tooth damage won’t fix themselves and the problem usually just gets worse. Professional care is needed and luckily there are many options available to get your mouth back to its best.