General Dentistry Options for Tooth Restoration

General Dentistry Options for Tooth Restoration from Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics in Sterling, VAIf one or more teeth are damaged or missing, a practitioner of general dentistry may be able to perform a restoration that returns them to their original function. A general dentist can perform several different types of restorations, and the appropriate treatment depends on the severity of the case.

Why might dental restorations be necessary?

Exposure to sugar and acids allows plaque and bacteria to build up on teeth, which can result in tooth decay. When the decay is caught early, treatment is easier, and a less invasive restoration is appropriate. If the decay is extensive, a more aggressive treatment option may be necessary. It is not always possible to save the teeth, and if extraction is necessary, a restoration may be required to replace them.

Sometimes the teeth can be injured due to trauma. A forceful impact to the mouth, such as may occur in a car accident or while playing sports, can cause teeth to chip or fracture.

The reasons for general dentistry restorations are not always mutually exclusive. There may be extensive decay that compromises the structural integrity of the tooth, and then an acute trauma to the mouth may cause a fracture.

What types of general dentistry restorations are available?

General dentistry restorations range from the relatively simple to the more complex.


Bonding involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin to a tooth to fill in relatively minor damage from a chip and return the tooth to its original shape. It can also be used to repair cracks in teeth and to correct discoloration. It is a minimally invasive restoration.


Fillings are used to restore teeth that have cavities. The procedure to place a filling involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth using a drill or a laser, then filling in the resulting gap with either silver amalgam or composite resin. Each dries to a hard, tooth-like consistency.

The composite resin used in fillings is the same material used in bonding. The difference is that the bonding procedure requires the removal of only trace amounts of enamel, while a filling requires the removal of the enamel affected by the cavity.


A crown is a cap that looks like a tooth and is made out of hard material. Crowns are used to restore a tooth that is so severely damaged and decayed that a filling is no longer an option. The crown fits over the damaged tooth to support and strengthen it, restoring its appearance, but some of the tooth's enamel has to be removed to make room for the crown.


If there are teeth that are missing, dentures are false teeth that can replace them. If some teeth remain in the jaw, partial dentures replace those that are missing. However, if all the teeth are missing, a full set of dentures is needed to replace them. Dentures are removable and are taken out for cleaning and while sleeping.

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Teeth may be damaged by decay or trauma. General dentistry restorations can return their function and sometimes their original appearance, though this is sometimes altered.

Request an appointment or call Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics at 703-994-4044 for an appointment in our Sterling office.

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