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 treating gum disease 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 dental treatments 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 dentist’s 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 dental implants among many other services.
It is also important to note that it does not include those procedures that are considered cosmetic such as veneers or whitening services.
A restorative practice 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 in restorative dental treatment:
- Restore the function of the teeth and mouth with dental fillings or bonding treatments.
- Restore the appearance of the teeth and mouth with direct or indirect restorations, such as dental implants, bridges, dentures, implant-supported 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 children’s procedures require 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:
Cavity filling is by far the most common tooth restorative procedure. The procedure is done to fill the hole created by bacteria on the hard outer layer of the tooth.
The cavity filling procedure is simple, the dentist will remove the damaged part of the tooth and fill the hole with composite bonding material that is the same color as the tooth. These fillings keep the bacteria at bay and prevent continuing to infect the tooth structure.
One or Several Missing Teeth
Restorative dentistry can also be used to create a permanent fix for missing teeth. Some of the solutions include dental bridges, dentures, and dental implants.
A dental bridge is used to fill a missing single missing tooth or multiple teeth. 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 procedures. 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 are also an option that can be used to cover a cracked natural tooth, but veneers come under cosmetic treatment.
Dental crowns are made from a variety of restorative materials. They 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 services can help fix it.
With today’s advanced technology, computer-aided design, and manufacturing, most clinic offers advanced treatment modalities supported with improved design and application.
This type of restorative procedure 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.
1. Cavity Fillings
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 tooth is removed and filled with composite material.
This filling prevents the bacteria from continuing to infect the natural tooth. In addition, it lasts several years and provides a natural appearance and functionality to the teeth.
Crowns are mostly used over damaged, decayed, or cracked teeth. It’s basically a tooth-shaped cap that helps restore a tooth structure 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 (a tooth-shaped cap) is placed over the top.
3. Dental Implants
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 missing teeth. In an implant procedure, a metal screw is placed at the root and a crown is placed on top of it.
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, restore a normal bite, and help keep your whole mouth healthy.
5. Partial or Complete Dentures
Dentures are normally an entire arch of teeth. These are 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.
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 dental procedures can help 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 tooth-related pain is to cure the diseases by either removing the infection or correcting the problem. Restorative dental services 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 procedures not only improve your teeth’ appearance but your overall facial structure and make 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 treatment 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 treatments is a great way to prevent any further dental problems that may arise in the future.
- Preserve Jawbone Density – Did you know the 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 treatment is it can preserve jawbone 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 cracked or missing 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 a different treatment process, uses different tools, and costs different amounts.
- 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 plans 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:
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 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.
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