If you have a sweet tooth or you simply don't brush your teeth every night it might not be a big surprise for you to have a cavity. Bacteria that remains on your teeth uses sugars in the foods you eat to create acids. These acids slowly soften and dissolve your enamel. To fix those cavities we clean out the decay and fill it in with a high quality composite material. Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored fillings, consist of a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. A lot of patients prefer composite over amalgam fillings (metal fillings) for cosmetic reasons, plus it doesn't contain mercury!
Cavities are sometimes bigger than what they look like. Teeth are hollow and the inside is filled with nerves and blood vessels. When a cavity is large enough to where it spread down to the nerves or if the roots of your tooth are infected then you might need a root canal. When a root canal is done, the nerves of the tooth are removed and filled back up with a sealer. This causes the tooth to become more brittle and prone to fracturing which may result in an extraction. To prevent this from happening we highly recommend a crown to be placed to protect the tooth from further damage.
A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap -- these two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth -- and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by the natural tooth structure.