Dental and oral health is an essential part of our overall health and well-being. In recent studies, poor oral health has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Though maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment, taking preventive care such as brushing, flossing, and limiting sugar intake is the most hassle-free, cost-effective way to keep your smile looking beautiful.
Most people have heard of general dentistry as a general cleaning, cosmetic dentistry as a way to improve your smile but haven’t heard the term restorative dentistry. Most times restorative dentistry is used to maintain your teeth before cosmetic dentistry to help lay the foundation of the smile.
Thankfully, even if your teeth are damaged or decayed, you can pursue restorative dentistry to make your smile look as good as new. But don’t take it for granted, having a restorative dentistry option does not mean you completely stop taking preventive care. No artificial procedure can beat the natural teeth.
What is Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry is a type of dentistry that focuses on replacing damaged or missing teeth. This can include procedures such as fillings, bridges, and implants among many other services. It is also important to note that restorative dentistry does not include those procedures that are considered cosmetic such as veneers or whitening services.
Restorative dentistry also covers other dentistry fields including endodontics, prosthodontics, and periodontics. More specifically, these dentists primarily remove and repair cavities and provide treatment for other oral conditions. They also specialize in treating patients who need dental repairs due to trauma or injuries.
There are three goals to restorative dentistry:
- Restore the function of the teeth and mouth with dental fillings or bonding treatment.
- Restore the appearance of the teeth and mouth with direct or indirect restorations, such as implants, bridges, dentures. inlays, Onlays, crowns, or fillings.
- Prevent future oral health problems.
The field of “restorative dentistry” is not currently recognized as a dental specialty by the ADA, but general dentists can perform many of the procedures. Having said that, several restorative dental procedures can also be done by a Prosthodontist. But the practice of restorative dentistry for children requires extensive knowledge and understanding of restorative materials and techniques.
What Kinds of Problems are Treated with Dental Restorations?
Your mouth goes through a lot of wear and tear and if not cared for properly, things can start to go awry.
The most common issues that are fixed with restorative dentistry include:
- Cavities/Tooth Decay – Cavity filling is by far the most common restorative dentistry procedure. The procedure is done to fill the hole created by bacteria on the hard outer layer of the teeth. The cavity filling procedure is simple, the dentist will remove the damaged part of the tooth and fill the hole with composite material that is the same color as the tooth. These fillings keep the bacteria at bay and prevent continuing to infect the tooth.
- One or Several Missing Teeth – Restorative dentistry can also be used to create a permanent fix for missing teeth. Some of the restorative dentistry solutions include dental bridges, dentures, and dental implants.
A dental bridge is used to fill a missing tooth or teeth. Whereas dentures are another popular solution for replacing missing teeth. Partial dentures are available as removable or fixed. Full dentures are also removable and can replace all missing teeth, either on the upper or lower mandible or both.
A dental implant is another option available in restorative dentistry. They can be used to replace one, serval, or all of your missing teeth. Most people opt for a dental implant because it looks and feels just like natural teeth.
- Broken or Fractured Teeth – The goal of restorative dentistry is to improve the aesthetics of a smile and restore the function of teeth. The most common treatment available for broken and fractured teeth is a dental crown. Fillings can also be useful for treating tooth fractures or cracks. Dental veneers is also an option that can be used to cover a cracked tooth but veneers come under cosmetic dentistry.
Talking about the dental crown. It is made from a variety of restorative dentistry materials. It can be used for many purposes ranging from covering stained teeth, protecting teeth from tooth decay to restoring a broken or fractured tooth.
- Teeth Damaged Through Trauma or Injury – Some of the common reasons for traumatic dental injuries (TDI) include blows caused by objects or due to falls, sports injuries, physical leisure activities, and automobile accidents. Almost all cases involve the anterior teeth, most often the upper central incisors.
Whatever might be the reason for teeth damage, advanced Restorative Dentistry can help fix it. Technologies to dental practice, computer-aided design, and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) provide the rehabilitator with new treatment modalities, improving the design and application of restorations dentistry,
This type of restorative dentistry not only improves your self-esteem but can help improve your chewing capacity and prevent future dental problems.
Restorative Dental Procedures
There are numerous procedures that are categorized under restorative dentistry. Depending on your specific dental issues, you may need one or more restorative procedures.
- Cavity Filling – Cavity filling is an option to replace the decayed portion of the teeth that have caused cavities to form. In the cavity filling procedure, the damaged part of the teeth is removed and filled with composite materials. This filling prevents the bacteria from continuing to infect the tooth. In addition, it lasts several years and provides a natural appearance and functionality to the teeth.
- Crown – Crowns are mostly used over damaged, decayed, or cracked teeth. It’s basically a tooth cap that helps restore a tooth to its proper size, shape, aesthetic, and strength. In order for a crown to fit into the tooth, the top part of the tooth is shaved down and the crown is placed over the top.
- Implant – Minor cracks and damage can be restored with the help of a crown but when the problem is severe, the dentist opts for a more advanced restorative solution, such as a dental implant. A dental implant is a more advanced way of replacing a missing tooth. In an implant procedure, a metal screw is placed at the root and a crown is placed on top of it.
- Bridge – A bridge is needed when a person has one or more missing teeth. A dental bridge has a crown on each end as with an artificial tooth or teeth connecting the crowns and filling the space. Bridges help eliminate the gap in your smile, restores a normal bite, and helps keep your whole mouth healthy.
- Dentures – Dentures are normally an entire arch of teeth. It is used when a person has missing teeth or damaged gum tissues. As per the patient’s needs, dentures can be partial, full, or implant-supported.
- Extractions – Tooth extraction is often the last option in restorative dentistry procedures. No artificial tooth can be as strong as natural teeth, that’s the reason most dentists leave the extraction option for an absolute last resort.
Benefits of Restoring Your Dental Health
The reason people get restorative dental procedures is because of the many benefits they get when they walk out of the office.
- Restore Function – What can be better than having strong and well-functioning teeth? Restorative dentistry helps to restore the natural function of the teeth. It often acts as a placeholder, so the other teeth can grow in naturally and correctly
- Eliminate Pain – For those who have suffered from a tooth infection, you know how painful it is. The only way to eliminate teeth-related pain is to cure the diseases by either removing the infection or correcting the problem. Restorative dentistry can help you eliminate the pain that you’re going through.
- Improve Appearance – The structure of your face greatly determines the shape and size of your teeth. Restorative dentistry not only improves your teeth’ appearance but your overall facial structure and makes you smile with confidence.
- Speak Clearer – Your vocal cord is not the only thing that plays an important role in your speaking ability, your teeth also have a lot to do. Restorative dentistry can help both children and adults speak clearer with confidence.
- Prevent Further Dental Issues – “Prevention is better than cure.” Taking care of dental issues with the help of restorative dentistry is a great way to prevent any further dental problems that may arise in the future.
- Preserve Jaw Bone Density – Do you know jaw and teeth are interconnected? If you lose a tooth and leave them unattended, the jaw area where the tooth was once held will start to weaken and eventually dissolve. Once a jaw is dissolved, a bone graft procedure is required to implant a tooth. The benefit of restorative dentistry is it can preserve jaw bone density.
- Makes it Easier to Maintain Good Oral Health – With the help of restorative dentistry, your teeth can be placed in order, a gum problem can be cured, a missing or cracked tooth can be restored, and overall makes it easier to maintain good oral health. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy keeps your whole body healthy.
How Much Does Dental Restoration Cost?
The cost of restorative dental procedures is dependent on several factors:
- The severity of your issues – The more complex the damage, the costlier it will be.
- The types of restorative procedures needed – Each procedure is unique and has different treating processes, uses different tools, and costs differently.
- Your dental professional – The expertise level and the experience of the dentists also determine the cost of dental restoration.
- Availability of Insurance coverage – Dental insurance may pay for some costs associated with dental restoration, but that depends on your diagnosis, the treatment plan your dentist has developed, as well as your dental insurance coverage.
Here are some general costs of different procedures. For exact costs, you will need to have a thorough consultation with your dental professional:
- Tooth Fillings: $125 – $275 per tooth.
- Dental Bridges: $3,000 and up.
- Root Canal: $600 – $900.
- Implants: $1,000 – $2,000 for just the implant portion.
- Implants with Crown: $2,500 – $4,000.
- Dentures: $1,200 – $2,000 per plate.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Dental Restoration
After your procedure is finished and you leave the dentist’s office, the longevity of your restorations will largely depend on how well you tend to your oral health. To make sure you get your money’s worth and have your restorations for as long as possible, follow these tips:
- Brush your teeth daily twice a day, after you wake up and before going to bed.
- If you have dental implants, dental crowns, or dental bridges, make sure to floss around your teeth every day.
- Avoid hard and sticky food.
- Keep your mouth away from plaque bacteria with the help of an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Make sure to visit a dental professional every 6 months for periodic routine checkups.
If at any time you see or feel something wrong with your dental restoration, contact your dentist immediately.
Dental Restoration FAQs