Are you wondering, “what is restorative dentistry?” In the simplest of terms, it is any dental treatment that repairs or replaces a tooth. Fillings, root canals, and even dental implants are examples of restorative procedures. Restorative dentistry may aim to restore either the function or appearance of a tooth. Sometimes, it is both.
Restorative Dentistry Procedures
There are many different dental procedures that fall under this category. Here is a list:
Fillings are the most basic and commonly performed dental procedure in restorative dentistry. When the enamel on your teeth is damaged, it can create a hole in your tooth. These holes are known as cavities and they need to be treated so we can protect the pulp of your tooth from getting infected. During this procedure the uses a drill to remove the damaged part of the tooth. Then, he fills the hole, usually with a composite material that matches the color of your tooth. This “restores” the tooth back to a fully functional condition – free from decay. It also restores the appearance of your tooth.
When a cavity penetrates deep enough into the tooth to expose the soft pulp inside, it is time for a root canal. When the pulp gets infected, a root canal is the only way to save the tooth. In some cases, an injury such as a chip or crack in a tooth will require a root canal to fix it. The pulp needs to be cleaned out completely. Once the tooth is completely free from bacteria and infection, the inside of the tooth is sealed off. It is then filled in a similar way to a filling, usually with composite. Root Canals are most often accompanied by a crown.
A dental crown is a fantastic way to protect a tooth that has endured severe damage. They are often used in the case of fixing teeth that have been cracked or severely chipped. Also in the case of root canals or to act as the tooth for a dental implant. When a crown is placed on top of an existing tooth, the tooth is shaved down so that it can accept a crown on top. The crown is usually made of composite material, but not always. Once in place, the crown functions just like your natural tooth would.
If you are missing a tooth or have a need to have a tooth extracted, a dental implant is a great option. A titanium screw is placed into the place of your missing tooth. In a few weeks or months, the screw will have fused with your jawbone. The implant now serves as the root of your artificial tooth. Once in place, a dental crown is placed on top giving you full function once again. Most people will never know you had lost a tooth. Dental implants can also be used to replace multiple teeth, or even an entire arch for implant supported bridges and dentures.
A dental bridge is a prosthetic tooth that is connected to two crowns. The bridge is secured by crowns that are placed over the existing teeth on either side of the bridge, or dental implants. The bridge is located between the gums and the teeth, but it lacks a root.
One solution for people who you don’t have enough healthy teeth in their mouth to function effectively is dentures. Dentures are made up of the entire arch of teeth in most instances. They can be placed directly on the gums using suction or adhesives. Sometimes dentures can also be attached to dental implants which act as anchor points. They are often referred to as “implant supported dentures”. This provides stability to the teeth. It also gives the patient more confidence because they can speak, eat, and smile without problems often associated with more traditional dentures.
What are the benefits?
Now that you know the answer to “what is restorative dentistry”, let’s talk about some of the benefits. There are many as I will demonstrate:
- They restore function. Restorative dental care procedures give you the function you are probably used to with your teeth. Speaking and eating are not disrupted after restorative procedures are completed.
- It relieves pain. Cavities, cracks, chips, infections in your teeth are often painful. Restorative dentistry usually eliminates the pain you might be experiencing.
- They usually improve your appearance. Missing, cracked, or damaged teeth can be embarrassing. Restorative dentistry procedures boost your confidence.
- It also helps to stop any known infections from spreading or infecting you elsewhere. Untreated fillings would eventually require a root canal. Along those same lines, untreated root canals would eventually require an extraction.
- Restorative dentistry can help to preserve your bone density. Keeping teeth, or replacing missing ones with dental implants will help you to maintain bone density. If you are missing a tooth or teeth for too long, your jaw will atrophy.
Most people are going to require some restorative dental care in their life. While it is best to avoid that as much as possible through preventive dental care, sometimes it simply cannot be avoided. It is best to prevent the need for any procedures, but if they are needed, getting them treated quickly is important. That way you can save on the added hassle, pain, and cost associated with dental procedures.