tooth decay

Sealants

A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.Reasons for sealants:

  • Children and teenagers - As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
  • Adults - Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
  • Baby teeth - Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.
What do sealants involve?Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

Amalgam Fillings

A silver amalgam filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a silver filling. There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Amalgam fillings, along with composite (tooth colored) fillings, are the most widely used today. An amalgam filling is more commonly used in the back teeth since the color is less visually appealing than a composite filling. As with most dental restorations, amalgam fillings are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting smile.

Reasons for amalgam fillings:

  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.
What does getting an amalgam filling involve? Amalgam fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleansed and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The silver filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function. It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when amalgam fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling. You will be given post-care instructions at the completion of your treatment. Proper oral hygiene, good eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling. There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or more visible areas of the mouth. As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile. Reasons for composite fillings:

  • Chipped teeth.
  • Closing space between two teeth.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as needed. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function. It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling. You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Inlay Restorations

An inlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist. Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays. As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for inlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
What does getting an inlay involve? An inlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration. While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made by a dental laboratory. At your second appointment, your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and comfortable bite. You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay.

Onlay Restorations

An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist. Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration. As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile. Reasons for onlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
What does getting an onlay involve? An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration. While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory. At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable. You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new onlay.

Empress Restorations®

Dental veneers, crowns, onlays, inlays, and bridges are important restorations which enhance the health and functionality of the natural teeth. A sparkling smile can be an enormous confidence-booster and have a dramatic effect on a person's appearance. Empress® has been dedicated to creating natural-looking restorations for almost two decades and is one of the world leaders in dental ceramics.

Empress® veneers, crowns, onlays, overlays, and dental bridges are renowned for their strength, durability, and exceptional optical properties. Empress® restorations are completely metal-free, and are constructed from inorganic material which is baked and cured at high temperatures.

Why should I choose Empress® restorations?
Empress® is continually refining and enhancing restorations to ensure that they look natural and restore complete functionality to the teeth.

Traditional ceramic restorations were known for being brittle and expensive to repair after sustaining damage. However, Empress® has developed a heat-pressed glass ceramic that is immensely strong and durable. There are several reasons for this, including the high shrinkage of leucite crystals. This shrinkage means that compressive stress is created during the vitreous stage, thus preventing breakage and cracking.

The unique veneer glaze and stain also increases strength by as much as 50%. These elements combined establish a thicker restoration that is fracture resistant. Empress® crowns have a 100% chance of surviving the first three years. This means less dental visits, less expense, and a sensational, comfortable smile.

Here are some of the advantages associated with Empress® restorations:


  • Biocompatible.
  • Do not affect other dentition.
  • Ease of application.
  • Excellent polishing properties.
  • Many levels of translucency available.
  • Metal-free.
  • Natural-looking.
  • Shades match the other teeth.

What restorations can be done using Empress® products?
Empress® has created many natural-looking restorations, including:

Empress® Veneers - These veneers are wafer-thin porcelain and ceramic covers which fit permanently over natural teeth. Empress® veneers are perfect for covering disfigured and stained teeth. They are stain and bacteria-resistant, strong, and can be manufactured to match the natural tooth shade.

Empress® Crowns - These crowns are generally placed after root canal therapy or after the removal of tooth decay. Empress® crowns are proven to last longer than many types of crowns, and again, can be matched exactly to the natural tooth shade. There is no visible, ugly metal edge, just a sensational end result.

Empress® Inlays/Onlays - Inlays and onlays are currently being used to replace the traditional amalgam fillings. Amalgam is unpleasant to view and unhealthy for the body. Empress® ceramic inlays and overlays are strong, healthy, and usually invisible to onlookers.

Empress® Bridges - As with all Empress® products, Empress® bridges are a completely natural-looking way to replace missing teeth. Metal bridges are often highly visible and make the teeth look shorter. Empress® bridges are almost impossible to spot and restore symmetry and sparkle to the smile.

If you have questions about any of the Empress® restorations, please contact our office.