What is restorative dentistry?
Restorative dentistry refers to any dental procedure that reinstates your teeth and mouth back to normal functionality. Many restorative procedures and treatments are done preventatively, or before major dental problems arise.
Common restorative procedures include but are not limited to; crowns, bridges and fillings. Restorative dentistry is not recognized as a dental specialty and restorative procedures are done by dentists practicing general dentistry.
Restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry – aren’t they the same?
Restorative and cosmetic dentistry are not the same – they each have a different end result. The goal of restorative dentistry to restore the functionality and integrity of a missing tooth or teeth, or a tooth that is missing certain structures, whereas, cosmetic dentistry is focused on aesthetics and making your smile more appealing to the eye.
Many patients find that before they can get desired cosmetic procedures done they must first address foundational issues that require restorative work.
Direct and indirect restorative procedures – what’s the difference?
Basically, direct restorative procedures are treatments that take one office visit to fix. Direct restorative procedures are usually fixes for more common dental issues, like a cavity that requires a filling. Getting a cavity filled is a direct restorative procedure because the procedure in its entirety is completed in a single office visit, no follow ups needed to conclude the restorative procedure.
On the contrary, indirect restorative procedures cannot be done in one dental appointment; in fact, they normally require multiple appointments to complete the required procedure. Indirect restorative procedures are required when the decay or damage to the tooth is significant. Inlays, dental crowns and onlays qualify as indirect restorations because the customization and lab fabrications that are needed to create them cannot be done in one dental visit.
Listed below you find our most common restorative procedures:
What is a filling and when is it needed?
A filling is a method used to restore a tooth back to normal functionality and shape. It is used when a tooth has decayed, causing a cavity to form. Before the filling procedure, your dentist will remove the decayed tooth material and clean the tooth. You will also receive a local anesthetic to ensure that you remain comfortable and at ease throughout the procedure.
The area will then be filled with selected filling material, as there are many options to choose from, our dentist will choose which is appropriate for you. The filling prevents further decaying of the effected tooth by ensuring that bacteria can no longer enter.
What is a crown and why do I need one?
A crown, or cap is a tooth-shaped tooth covering. It is placed over a tooth that is severely damaged or decayed. There are several reasons why you may need a crown, the most common being damage due to decay. When this is the case, a filling cannot restore the tooth back to functionality or strong enough for use.
Crowns can be used to hold together remaining functional parts of a tooth, or work as an anchor for a dental bridge. Crowns can also be used for aesthetic reasons as well; covering a discolored or misshapen tooth.
Will my crown need to be replaced?
Crowns on average last 7 to 10 years. Although, they can last much longer; upwards of 25 to 30 years with required care. Like any dental work, the longevity of the crown depends greatly on the patient.
Therefore, proper dental hygiene and routine dental exams are imperative to just how long the crown is functional and the tooth is protected.
What exactly are dentures?
Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth. They are not fixed to the mouth and can be taken out and put back in. There are two types – a full and a partial denture. The need for a full or partial denture depends on whether just some or all of your natural teeth are to be replaced.
Why dentures can be considered cosmetic:
The process of getting dentures can be considered restorative dentistry as well as cosmetic. Dentures are restorative in the sense that they are essentially helping you achieve overall dental functionality again, functionality that you didn’t have with the natural teeth that you had extracted in order to get dentures. Dentures can also be considered cosmetic as your damaged smile will recede and an aesthetically pleasing one that you’ve longed for will finally emerge.
How long do dentures last?
Dentures are the same as any other dental appliance as the lifespan greatly depends on the patient. With proper hygiene and appropriate care, your dentures will last you many years, however, overtime your body naturally changes – your denture will need to change as well. You will need to have your denture relined and remade overtime to accommodate your mouth. It is recommended that you still schedule annual dental exams to ensure that your mouth is healthy and your dentures fit you correctly.
What are the types of dentures and how are they different?
There are 3 different types of dentures available:
Conventional Full Denture
This denture is placed in your mouth only after all your teeth have been removed and your gum tissues are fully healthy. This process usually takes months. You will be without teeth while your gums and mouth are given a chance to completely heal.
A partial denture is used when only a portion of your natural teeth have been extracted and some of your natural teeth are healthy and still remain in your mouth. A partial denture is similar to a bridge – as it attaches to your natural teeth. The partial denture rests on a framework made of metal. In some cases, crowns – or caps are placed on the natural teeth to help these teeth better serve as anchors, thus providing more support.
Immediate Full Denture
This denture is immediately put into your mouth after your teeth are extracted. Measurements are taken at a prior visit to get proper sizing for your denture. A major pro of the immediate dentures is that you never have to be without teeth; however, these dentures must be relined and re-examined often throughout the healing process.
What is a bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed appliance that is put in the patient’s mouth when they are missing a tooth or teeth; thus removing the gap that one may be self-conscious about and also preventing healthy teeth surrounding from shifting causing further dental problems. Typically, a false tooth or teeth are anchored to the healthy teeth that surround it. The false teeth used in the bridge appliance are called the pontic teeth and the healthy teeth that anchor the bridge are known as the abutment teeth.
How long does a bridge last?
The lifespan of a dental bridge varies from patient to patient; as does any dental work. A bridge can last a lifetime with proper dental hygiene and routine dental exams. Dental exams are imperative as they are the best way to detect problems such as a loosening bridge appliance, catching this early will prevent the bridge from falling out or apart completely and causing further damage to the mouth.