Restorative Dentistry in Nashville
Patients who have damaged, decayed, or lost teeth should always seek dental restoration right away as most oral health concerns are insidious, they become more severe when left untreated. The sooner David Dickerson, DDS and his Nashville dental team begin treatment, the more likely we are to offer a conservative treatment option that allows patients to maintain their naturally healthy dental structures. Our team is passionate about offering the most comprehensive preventive dentistry to keep patients’ smiles whole and healthy, but whenever damage does occur, we encourage patients to contact us right away to schedule an appointment.
Crowns & Bridges
The most frequently used restorative treatment may be dental crowns. These restorations fit over the top of a severely decayed or damaged tooth preserving the underlying structure and protecting the damaged parts of the smile from further trauma. Dental crowns are recommended to renew damaged smiles in a number of situations including:
- Severe decay or damage too extensive to be repaired with a more conservative treatment like fillings
- Decay that has spread to surrounding teeth or gums causing additional health concerns
- As the finishing touch following root canal therapy in order to protect the treated tooth restoring the full form and function to patients’ smiles
- As part of fixed bridge tooth replacement, two dental crowns are placed over surrounding healthy teeth in order to support one or more consecutive prosthetic teeth
- As part of dental implant supported single tooth replacement
Regardless of the reason patients need a dental crown, the process is the same. Patients should plan to visit our office two times. During the initial visit, we remove a small amount of surface enamel to prepare the tooth. Then, we capture impressions of the prepared teeth that are used by a dental lab to craft a custom crown. In the meantime, we place a temporary crown to protect the prepared tooth, and once the final restoration arrives, patients return to exchange the temporary for a custom restoration.
Traditionally, silver-colored amalgam fillings were considered the standard in dental filling restorations. However, in addition to their less than perfect appearance within patients’ smiles, amalgam fillings present a number of oral health concerns. Crafted outside of the mouth and placed into the tooth with little to no bonding material, amalgam fillings may allow additional bacteria to accumulate below the filling leading to further decay. Amalgam fillings also expand and contract with changes in temperature potentially damaging healthy dental structure or breaking away from the tooth over time. The alternative treatment option, tooth-colored, composite resin fillings, offer cosmetically superior results and a stronger, longer lasting filling. The composite resin is shaded to match patients’ natural smiles, and then it is shaped directly onto the damaged tooth filling in the gaps and crevices in patients’ smiles. A curing light is used to harden the composite resin filling in place restoring damaged teeth.
Partial & Full Dentures
Patients who are missing numerous nonconsecutive teeth or a full arch of teeth may want to consider traditional partial or full dentures. Partial dentures fill the gaps in patients’ smiles like a puzzle piece. The replacement teeth are attached to a gum colored base that snaps into position anchored by remaining healthy teeth. A full denture is composed of an arch of prosthetic teeth set into a gum colored base that is held in place through natural suction or using denture adhesive. We also offer dental implant supported options for those patients interested in improved stability.
In most cases, it is our goal to preserve natural teeth, but there are some situations where extraction is the best option to maintain patients’ overall oral health. When this is the case, Dr. Dickerson is happy to remove teeth from the comfort of our state-of-the-art practice, and he and his team of years of experience performing these procedures. Some situations that may necessitate tooth extraction include:
- Preparation for orthodontic treatment when the jaw is crowded
- Preparation for a full or partial denture when teeth are not healthy enough to be maintained
- Teeth that are severely damaged or decayed and cannot be preserved with restorative treatments
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The most commonly extracted teeth by far are the third molars, often referred to as wisdom teeth. These are the last to erupt in patients’ smiles, and typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Early in the development of wisdom teeth, around age 11, our team can examine the teeth, and make recommendations concerning whether keeping these third molars will negatively impact patients’ oral health. In many cases, there is simply not enough space within the smile to accommodate this set of teeth, and at times, the teeth develop facing inward, are stuck below existing teeth, or are otherwise unable to erupt from the gum line.