Tooth restorations are the various ways your dentist can replace missing teeth or repair missing parts of the tooth structure. Tooth structure can be missing due to decay, deterioration of a previously placed restoration, or fracture of a tooth. Examples of restorations include the following:
- Fillings are the most common type of dental restoration. Teeth can be filled with gold, silver amalgam, or tooth-colored plastic materials called composite resin fillings.
- Crowns are a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, appearance, to hold a bridge in place or cover a dental implant.
- Bridges are false teeth that are designed to "bridge" the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Bridges can be anchored on either side by crowns and cemented permanently into place.
- Implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants are actually a small post made of metal that are placed into the bone socket where teeth are missing. The implant is covered with a replacement tooth called a crown.
- Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. They are made of acrylic resin sometimes combined with metal attachments. Complete dentures replace all the teeth; partial dentures are considered when some natural teeth remain and are retained by metal clasps attached to the natural teeth.