Serving Lawrence, KS,
Greater Topeka & Kansas City
Restoring Your Smile
Even the most basic dental fillings can make a big difference in how you look and feel. That is why we virtually never use mercury amalgams, typically called silver fillings. Metal amalgam fillings make smiles look dark and old.
Worse, metal in your teeth is not necessarily good for your mouth or your body. Amalgam fillings have multiple disadvantages. Dentists have learned that the metal fillings in your mouth act much like metal does outside the mouth. Exposed to heat and cold, such as hot coffee or ice cream, the metal fillings in your teeth expand and contract. As they shift, they can actually weaken the teeth they were meant to protect. Often, this expansion and contraction leads to the entire tooth cracking.
All that movement can cause a tooth to fracture or break. It also creates a space between the filling and tooth wall that allows bacteria to get in and cause further decay. Every meal you eat with an amalgam filling weakens the integrity of your tooth, making it vulnerable to fracture and bacterial invasion.
Metal fillings also contain mercury, an element known to cause environmental hazards.
For all these reasons, Dr. Otten uses tooth-colored composite fillings almost exclusively for tooth restorations. Composite resins create fillings that not only look natural but can also be stronger than materials of the past, in part because they are not reactive to temperature changes. These composite materials are also biocompatible so that they are entirely safe for use in your tooth, as well as safe for the environment if and when they need to be disposed.
Inlays are laboratory fabricated and used to restore the inside of the tooth. They are made of strong, long-lasting and natural-looking materials, such as porcelain or gold, and are often invisible in the smile. Inlays are a conservative tooth restoration, meaning that they require far less drilling and preparation of the tooth than an amalgam, a composite filling or a crown does. This allows us to save much more of the healthy tooth.
Onlays are also laboratory fabricated and used for larger restorations. They restore inside the tooth and extend over one or more sides of the tooth. They can also be used as a dental crown or cap. Because of their size, onlays are made of strong material, usually porcelain or gold. Like inlays, they are conservative tooth restorations that require far less drilling than fillings and some dental crowns. An onlay can often be used to repair only the damaged portion of the tooth, leaving much more of the original tooth structure intact.
Both inlays and onlays are much more conservative and precise than traditional fillings and dental crowns. While traditional fillings can reduce tooth strength up to 50%, inlays and onlays are made of high-strength materials, and can actually increase tooth strength by up to 75%, lasting sometimes up to 25 to 30 years.
A dental crown, also sometimes called a cap, is a perfectly fitted tooth restoration that repairs and strengthens a tooth that has fractured, has a large cavity, an old filling that has failed or has had root canal therapy. Unlike an inlay or onlay, a crown completely covers the tooth.
We use the very best laboratories and technicians to custom create and fit your porcelain crowns for strength, endurance and appearance. Crowns can also be used for cosmetic purposes, enhancing the appearance of a tooth that is discolored or misshapen. If your teeth have been badly damaged and need structural integrity and support, dental crowns can be an effective treatment option. Our metal-free, porcelain crowns are shaped and colored like a natural tooth to restore strength and eliminate discomfort. Our pure porcelain crowns can also effectively anchor a dental bridge for natural beauty and comfort. As always, all these restorations are done with the same careful planning and design to give you far superior results.