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Learn about Restorative dentistry

The term "restorative dentistry" is the integrated management of oral health problems and restoration of the mouth to a functional and esthetic state. While it is not currently recognized as a dental specialty by the American Dental Association, general dentists are able to perform many of these procedures without additional education and certification. It all depends on how difficult the procedure is and what the dental professional feels comfortable with. Many of the procedures are also covered by the dental specialty of prosthodontic dentistry, including fillings, veneers, crowns, bridges, full and partial dentures and dental implants.

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Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are extremely versatile for a number of reasons. Not only do they prevent future fracture or damage to existing teeth, but they can be combined to form larger and more complex restorations, such as bridges or dentures. If you need an aesthetic crown, we will make sure it fits over your natural tooth, ensuring long-lasting protection.

Dental Crown Materials

Crowns can be made of ceramic (porcelain-based), porcelain fused to metal, gold alloys, and base metal alloys. There are strengths and disadvantages to each type of material.

Base Metal Alloys

Base Metal Alloys are very strong and highly resistant to corrosion and wear, as well as gentle to opposing teeth. A base metal alloy crown typically requires the least amount of tooth structure to be removed.

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) crowns

PFM provides good strength and seals to the teeth, preventing leakage and decrease recurring tooth decay. A moderate amount of tooth structure must be removed, but PFM crowns offer a stronger restoration than porcelain alone and are quite durable and strong. However over time, dark grey or black lines can begin to appear at the gum line as the metal base begins to show through.

Gold Alloys

Gold Alloys adhere strongly to the tooth structure and are highly biocompatible with gum tissue. It is resistant to wear and fracture and does not wear away opposing teeth.


Ceramic is especially recommended for restoring front teeth due to its high natural appearance. Porcelain crowns can be shade-matched exactly to the shade of your other teeth, and unless damaged are highly resistant to staining. More tooth structure often must be removed for porcelain crown restorations, and because the material is not as durable as the other options it is not recommended for teeth that sustain heavy biting and chewing.

The Procedure

After it’s been confirmed that your tooth and surrounding structure are in good health, getting a dental crown typically requires two visits.

During the first visit

Dr. Jong Lee will numb the area and shape the tooth so that a crown can fit over it. He will take an impression, which will be sent to a dental lab where the crown is created to beautifully match your other teeth. He will fit you with a temporary crown to protect your tooth while the crown is being made, which generally takes about two weeks.

During the second visit

Dr. Jong Lee will thoroughly inspect the permanent crown to ensure the correct size, shape and color. He will then remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent crown into place, again checking to be sure that fit, bite and aesthetics are correct. You will be given care instructions to ensure that your crown lasts a very long time. With proper care, dental crowns can last 10-20 years or even a lifetime!

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Inlays and Onlays

Though traditional dental fillings are a great option for patients with minor tooth decay, what are the options for restoring a tooth with significant damage? Inlays and Onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are a wonderful option of restoring a tooth with significant decay; they preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure compared to a crown, and compared to a large filling they can actually strengthen the tooth!

Large fillings will actually weaken a tooth’s structure, greatly increasing the risk of the tooth breaking, cracking, and eventually requiring extensive restorative treatment such as root canal therapy. And if a good amount of healthy tooth structure is still intact, a crown would needlessly require a large amount of the tooth to be removed.

Difference between Inlays and Onlays

What is the difference between Inlays and Onlays? Simply put, inlays fit “in” the tooth while onlays fit “on” the tooth; inlays fill the space in between a tooth’s cusps (biting surfaces), while onlays, required for more extensively damaged teeth, spread over the cusps or the entire biting surface of the tooth.

The Procedure

Unlike traditional fillings which are placed in one visit, inlays and onlays typically require two visits. During the first visit, we will take an impression of the tooth, which will be sent to a dental lab to create the inlay or onlay, and a temporary filling material will be placed on the tooth. During the second visit, the temporary filling will be removed and the custom-made indirect filling will be cemented into place, resulting in a strong, stable and natural-looking restored tooth.

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Tooth Bonding

Many patients come to us seeking a small change in the appearance of their teeth, such as fixing a minor chip, close small spaces between teeth or otherwise improve the color or shape of their teeth. Cosmetic bonding is a simple and affordable treatment option for enhancing the aesthetic appearance of your smile!

What is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding involves the use of a durable tooth-colored resin, which we custom-match to the shade of your teeth or the shade desired. It is applied and shaped to the tooth, then cured with a special light which helps it bond with your tooth, making more durable. The result is a natural-looking, reformed tooth, all completed in one easy visit. The procedure generally involves no pain or anesthesia, typically does not require any removal of tooth enamel, and is a simple, low-cost alternative to other more extensive cosmetic procedures such as porcelain veneers.

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Dental Bridge

Whether you are missing one tooth or several teeth, putting off treatment to replace them can have long-term side effects on your oral and overall health. To avoid changes in your face’s appearance (not just your smile’s) as well as make chewing and speaking easier, we recommend tooth replacement at Dr. SmiLee. Dr. Jong Lee has multiple options for you to consider. To schedule your first consultation to find the best option to replace missing teeth in Waco, TX, give his dental office a call today!

What is Dental Bridges?

To replace single or multiple consecutive teeth, we can create a custom bridge that fits over existing healthy teeth in your smile. Each bridge is made from a series of crowns fused together, then fitted on top of teeth similar to a traditional dental crown. A dental bridge may be especially ideal for you if you want to replace several consecutive teeth and do so over a relatively short period of time.

The Procedure

The traditional 3-unit dental bridge consists of the replacement tooth (the pontic) held in place on either side by dental crowns (abutments), which are cemented onto the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. The procedure is similar to that of receiving a dental crown, and typically two or more visits are required.

During the first visit

During the first visit, the abutment teeth are re-shaped so that the crowns can be placed over them. An impression of the teeth is made, which is sent to a dental lab to create the bridge. Dr. Jong Lee will fit you with a temporary bridge to protect your teeth while your bridge is being crafted.

During the second visit

Our dentist will remove the temporary bridge and check and adjust the new permanent bridge as necessary. He will confirm that the permanent bridge matches the size, shape and color of your natural teeth, and also check for proper fit and bite. Multiple visits may be needed to ensure that the bridge is fitting properly before cementing it permanently into place.

As with all dental restorations, proper care of your dental bridge is extremely important to avoid difficulties with the restoration and prolong its life. Be sure to brush and floss daily in and around the bridge to keep the teeth that secure it and the surrounding area healthy!




Dentures are custom-made, removable replacements for missing teeth. If you’ve lost some or even all of your natural teeth, it is important to replace them not only to restore your smile, but also for the benefit of your health. Dentures can help you eat and speak more comfortably, and are made to closely resemble your natural smile or even improve it! There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. We also offer implant supported dentures.

Here at Dr. SmiLee, we are proud to offer affordable, natural-looking dentures. We offer traditional dentures and fixed dentures to help our patients overcome tooth loss and smile with confidence again. If you want to restore your smile, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable dental team.

Learn About Dental Dentures

1. Full Dentures

Full dentures, also known as complete dentures, are recommended for patients who are missing all of their natural teeth and do not have enough bone structure to support implants. Full dentures can be either conventional or immediate. Conventional dentures are made and placed after the remaining teeth are removed and all tissues have healed, which may take several months. Immediate dentures are made in advance and are placed immediately after teeth are removed. However because the tissue and bone shrink over time and especially while healing, immediate dentures typically require more extensive refitting and adjustments while the jaw heals, and sometimes have to be remade entirely.

2. Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are a good option for patients who have one or more remaining healthy teeth. These appliances consist of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored base, which is fastened to nearby natural teeth to keep them fixed in place. They are not permanently attached, however, and can easily be removed for cleaning and while sleeping, just like full dentures.

Adjusting To Your Dentures

Like getting braces or a new retainer, new dentures will feel like a foreign object at first. It is normal to experience some discomfort as you get used to them, but it’s helpful to keep in mind that it won’t last forever. Patience is key!

1. Eating and speaking

Eating and speaking with new dentures will take a little practice, but it will eventually become much easier. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces, and gradually incorporate harder food items. Don’t skip out on nutritious food! Singing is a great method of speech training, and singing along to your favorite tunes is an excellent and enjoyable way to adjust to speaking with your dentures fluidly.

2. Feel a bit loose ?

It is not unusual for dentures to feel a bit loose or bulky while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place, but it will feel more comfortable in time. It’s also a good idea to talk to your dentist about recommended dental creams or adhesives, and experiment with what kind works best for you!

3. Minor irritation and soreness

Patients also often experience temporarily increased saliva flow as well as minor irritation and soreness. These issues will all go away as your mouth gradually gets used to the dentures. If irritation or discomfort persists, we recommend visiting the dentist for adjustments for a more comfortable and stable fit. Do not attempt to adjust dentures yourself, as this can result in irreparable damage. And be sure to clean and care for your dentures and mouth daily!

4. Cleaning Your Dentures

Regardless of the type, all dentures must be cleaned daily and removed nightly. Rinse and brush your dentures daily to remove food, plaque and bacteria, which can cause harm to exist teeth and gums. When not in use, submerge your dentures in a lukewarm denture-soaking solution or plain water to prevent them from drying out and warping. Always remove your dentures while sleeping to avoid damaging them, and also to give your gums some time to relax!


Have Any Questions?

If you have any questions or are ready to schedule your appointment, please contact us today!