Tooth Enamel Repair

Tooth enamel protects the softer, more sensitive dentin inside your teeth. But when it’s damaged, you become more susceptible to tooth decay and other problems.


Acid in foods and liquids and bacteria eat away at the hard substance, which eventually degrades and exposes dentin. Some simple changes can prevent enamel erosion.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth colored fillings are used to repair minor cavities, cracks and chips. They closely resemble the natural tooth color so they blend in. This is especially beneficial for patients who have visible tooth decay on front teeth or other highly visible areas. These fillings are crafted from composite resins and porcelain. Newer kinds of dental materials are constantly being developed to provide a more attractive restoration that mimics the look of natural tooth enamel.

Teeth enamel is a hard but flexible substance that protects the interior of the tooth from bacteria and other harmful substances. However, erosion of the tooth enamel can occur due to poor oral hygiene habits that allow harmful bacteria to enter the mouth, excessive consumption of sugary or acidic foods and beverages, and even bruxism (teeth grinding).

To treat a cavity with a tooth-colored filling, the dentist first must remove any deteriorated tooth enamel, clean and dry the area, and then place the composite resin in layers on the affected area. Each layer of the filling is cured under a special light to ensure that the material adheres and hardens properly. Composite resin also has the advantage of not containing any mercury like silver amalgam fillings, which are being phased out due to health concerns. An alternative to composite fillings is laboratory-fabricated inlays or onlays made from ceramics or porcelain. These alternatives tend to last longer than composite resin, but they can chip off of the tooth if they are not handled correctly and may require more than one office visit to complete.

Dental Bonding

With dental bonding, the dentist will start by choosing a composite resin shade that matches the color of your natural tooth. The dentist will then prepare the tooth by roughening its surface and applying a conditioning liquid to help the material stick. After that, the dentist will apply the bonding material to your tooth and mold it into shape. The resulting teeth will be smooth, attractive and stain-free. Bonding usually takes less than an hour per tooth to perform and is a cost-effective and convenient restorative option.

However, the material used in bonding isn’t as strong as enamel and may not resist long-term stains as well. This is why it’s best for cosmetic changes and to repair shallow cavities. The dentist can also use it to repair minor chips and gaps.

Dental bonding is a safe and simple procedure that usually doesn’t require anesthesia unless it’s being used for filling or if the dentist needs to change the tooth’s shape dramatically. You can extend the lifespan of bonded teeth by following good oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day and flossing once daily. You should also avoid biting your fingernails and chewing on pens or ice, as these can chip the bonding material. Also, be sure to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.

Dental Veneers

Many people are self-conscious about their smile, often because of damaged or crooked teeth. This can affect their confidence and self-esteem. Dental veneers can be a great solution for these problems. They work by covering the teeth with a wafer-thin layer of porcelain or similar composite resin that looks natural. These veneers also help strengthen the existing tooth.

Your dentist will take X-rays of your mouth and make impressions so that they can create custom veneers for you. They will look at your teeth from every angle and study how you talk to ensure that your new veneers look good and fit properly.

You may be given temporary dental veneers for a few weeks while they wait for the permanent ones to come in from the lab. This allows you to test them out and decide if they are right for you. You may also have a chance to make any changes you want to the final veneers before they are cemented on in your third appointment.

On your next visit, your dentist will put the permanent veneer on a tooth to check its color and fit. Then the tooth will be etched to roughen it for bonding. A special cement is then applied to the veneer and a blue light is used to bind it to your tooth. Once the cement hardens, your dentist will remove any excess and evaluate the results.

Dental Crowns

The enamel surface of a tooth is tough, but it can wear down over time due to acidic foods and other factors beyond the patient’s control. When tooth enamel weakens, bacteria can easily damage the inner layers of the tooth, causing discomfort and even requiring a root canal procedure. To protect a damaged tooth, dentists can use dental crowns. These tooth-shaped “caps” cover the damaged tooth, restoring strength and improving its appearance.

Tooth crowns can be made of all metal, gold or other precious metal alloys, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramics like zirconia and feldspathic porcelain. Those made of porcelain have the most natural-looking finish, but they tend to break more easily than ceramics. A composite resin can sometimes be used to repair a chip in a porcelain crown while it is still in the mouth, but severe chipping may require the replacement of the entire crown.

A tooth can also be restored with a dental bridge, which involves trimming the healthy teeth on either side of the damaged tooth and placing a false tooth in between. Dental bridges are durable, natural-looking, and long-lasting, but they do require the trimming of healthy teeth. Dental crowns are generally more comfortable than dental bridges and are better suited to repairing damaged, decayed, or broken teeth. They can also help correct the bite of a patient who grinds or clenches their teeth.