Complete Guide to Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry

1. What is restorative dentistry?

It is the branch of dentistry that deals with restoring damaged or decayed teeth. It includes procedures such as fillings, crowns, bridges, and implants. Restorative dentistry not only restores the function and aesthetics of your teeth but also helps prevent further damage.It aims to give you strong and healthy teeth that look beautiful.

2. When to consider a dental restoration?

Dental restoration may be required to restore the health and function of damaged, weakened or missing teeth. Here are some common reasons a general dental professional may recommend a dental restoration treatment.

  • Damaged tooth structure

A tooth structure may be damaged if it becomes loose due to being cracked or worn down. A dental restoration works to cover the weakened or damaged areas of the tooth to improve its structure. Dental treatments like crowns, onlays, and inlays are common restoration techniques recommended by dentists to repair a damaged tooth.

  • Tooth decay

A primary form of dental restoration is a dental filling, which helps treat issues of enamel erosion. Tooth decay occurs when the hard outer layer of your tooth (enamel) is worn away by acidic substances, leaving the softer inner layer of your tooth (dentin) exposed, thus leading to cavity. A cavity can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss if left untreated for long. A dental filling made of gold, silver amalgam, or composite resin can easily treat cavities and minor damages. However, in case of severely decayed teeth or larger cavities, treatments like crowns are more suitable.

  • Stains & chips

Dental restoration aims to restore your oral health, but some treatments in restorative dentistry also offer cosmetic benefits. For example, dental veneers that are thin layers of tooth-coloured material are bonded over the teeth surface to treat minor chips or cracks and enhance the appearance of your smile.

  • Missing teeth

Teeth replacement is also a form of dental restoration. Patients with one or more missing teeth can resort to dental implants, one of the most popular dental restoration treatments.

3. What are advanced restorative dentistry procedures?

The various types of restorative dentistry treatments include:

Dental implants

A dental implant is a metal post that is surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as a replacement for a missing tooth. A small titanium screw is placed into the implant, fusing with the bone over time. This provides a strong and stable foundation for an artificial tooth (crown). Dental implants are a permanent treatment for fixing your missing teeth issue. They have the highest success rate of any dental treatment, which is why they are one of the most expensive dental restoration treatments. Dental implants are many preferred because they are highly durable and indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

Pros:

  • Dental implants resemble your natural teeth.
  • They are designed to last a lifetime with proper care.
  • Dental implants preserve facial structure and avoid bone loss in the jaw.
  • In addition, they can support dentures and bridges, making them more stable and comfortable.

Cons:

  • Dental implants require surgery, which carries infection, pain, and bleeding risks.
  • They are an expensive restorative dentistry treatment compared to other tooth replacement options.
  • Recovery from dental implant surgery can take longer (more than several weeks).

Dental crowns

Dental crowns can be used to restore the function and appearance of your teeth. Crowns are made from porcelain or ceramic and are designed to cover the entire surface of your tooth. This makes them ideal for protecting damaged or decayed teeth and improving your smile’s overall appearance. Crowns can also support dental bridges, which can replace one or more missing teeth.

Pros:

  • Dental crowns can improve the appearance of misshapen, discoloured, or otherwise damaged teeth.
  • They protect weak or damaged teeth from further damage by encasing them in strong material.
  • Dental crowns can last for many years with proper care. In some cases, they may even last a lifetime.

Cons:

  • Dental crowns can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
  • They also require multiple visits to the dentist and can take several weeks to complete.
  • There is also a small risk of the crown becoming loose or falling out over time. If this happens, you will need to have it replaced.

Dental bridges

A dental bridge is a false tooth, called a pontic, fused between two crowns to fill in the gap created by a missing tooth. The two crowns holding it in place are attached to existing teeth or implants. This pontic can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and is anchored onto abutment teeth or implants. A bridge is ideal for replacing one or more missing teeth and is supported by natural teeth or implants. Bridges are highly durable and will last many years. However, they may eventually need to be replaced due to wear and tear.

Pros:

  • They can restore your smile and help you chew and speak more effectively.
  • They can distribute your bite’s force evenly, helping protect your remaining natural teeth from excessive wear.
  • They can prevent your remaining teeth from shifting out of position.

Cons:

  • They require the healthy adjacent teeth to be filed down to support the bridge. This can weaken these teeth and make them more susceptible to decay or injury.
  • They are not as strong or durable as dental implants and may need to be replaced sooner.
  • They can be more difficult to clean than your natural teeth, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment saves a tooth damaged by decay, infection, or injury. The procedure aims to clean out the damaged or infected tissue inside the tooth, known as the pulp, and seal the tooth so it can function normally.

Pros:

  • Root canal treatment can help to preserve your natural tooth.
  • Root canal treatment can help to prevent further damage to your tooth.
  • Root canal treatment can help to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with a damaged or infected tooth.

Cons:

  • Root canal treatment is a lengthy and complex procedure.
  • Root canal treatment can be expensive.
  • Root canal treatment may not be successful in all cases.

Dentures

Dentures are artificial teeth that are used to replace missing teeth. They are usually made from acrylic resin with porcelain or metal for structural support. Dentures can be partial or full. Partial dentures can replace a few missing teeth, while full dentures replace an entire set of teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Dentures are custom-made to fit every individual’s mouth. They are typically secured in place by suction or dental adhesive.

Pros:

  • They are less expensive than other teeth replacement options.
  • They are easy to take care of.
  • They help improve your smile.

Cons:

  • Dentures may be uncomfortable for some people.
  • They may slip.
  • They may make chewing certain foods difficult.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a dental procedure that involves attaching materials to the teeth to improve their performance and appearance. Bonding can be used to repair cracks, chips, and gaps in the teeth and to change their shape, colour, and size. The material used in dental bonding is a plastic resin matched to the natural tooth’s colour. Bonding is usually not as strong as other types of dental work, such as veneers or crowns, but it is much less expensive.

Pros:

  • Bonding can improve the appearance of your teeth and give you a more youthful smile.
  • The procedure is usually quick and can be done in one office visit.
  • Bonding does not require anaesthesia in most cases.
  • It is usually more affordable than other cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as veneers or crowns.

Cons:

  • Bonding may not be as strong as other cosmetic dentistry procedures and may not last as long.
  • The procedure is not reversible.
  • Bonding may require more frequent touch-ups than other procedures.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are effective at restoring the function and appearance of the teeth. Inlays can be used to fill in small cavities or cracks, while onlays can be used to cover larger areas of damage. Both inlays and onlays are made of durable materials that can withstand the forces of biting and chewing. In addition, both inlays and onlays can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth.

Pros of inlays:

  • Inlays are less invasive than onlays because they don’t require as much tooth removal.
  • Inlays can be used to repair minor to moderate cavities.

Cons of inlays

  • Inlays only restore the inside of the tooth, so they may not be suitable for large cavities.
  • Inlays can be more expensive than direct fillings.

Pros of onlays

  • Onlays are stronger than inlays because they cover more of the tooth.
  • Onlays can be used to repair large cavities.

Cons of onlays

  • Onlays are more invasive than inlays because they require more tooth removal.
  • Onlays can be more expensive than direct fillings.

4. What Makes Advanced Restorative Dentistry Different from Cosmetic Dentistry?

Advanced restorative dentistry is concerned with restoring teeth that have been damaged or lost due to decay, injury, or disease. It involves treatments like dental implants, bridges, and crowns. Cosmetic dental care is focused on enhancing the appearance of the teeth and smile. It includes procedures such as teeth whitening, bonding, and porcelain veneers.

There is some overlap between the two fields, but advanced restorative dentistry tends to focus more on function, while cosmetic dental care is more concerned with aesthetics. Both disciplines require a high level of skill and training.

5. Benefits of Restorative Dentistry

Restorative treatment offers multiple benefits, including:

  • Improved oral health: Restorative procedures can improve your oral health by restoring damaged or decayed teeth. If infected teeth are left untreated for long, they can spread the infection to your gums, nerves, and jaws. Remember, most gum diseases begin from plaque and bacteria build-up from teeth enamel. You can repair your decayed teeth with restorative dentistry procedures and prevent further damage to your mouth.
  • Improved appearance: Restorative procedures to your front teeth can improve your smile. By choosing the right size, colour, and shape of teeth, restorative treatment can work wonders for your front teeth. Even a slight change in the appearance of your teeth can make them look better, giving you a beautiful smile to flaunt with confidence.
  • Improved function: Restorative procedures can also improve the function of your teeth by restoring damaged or missing teeth. The functionality of teeth comprises of two components – eating and speaking. The fewer dental issues in your mouth, the better you can chew and digest food. Moreover, discomfort while speaking is eliminated with no missing or cracked teeth.
  • Improved protection: Treating a chipped, decayed, or missing tooth can offer protection from further damage, pain, or the need for more tedious treatments. For example, a missing tooth can cause the neighbouring teeth to shift, thus leading to alignment issues that may demand treatments like getting braces.
  • Better structure: Treating minor or significant teeth ailments with restorative dentistry helps retain or restore your teeth’ structure. This ensures your bite becomes optimal, with minimum wear and tear from underbite and overbite. In addition, an optimal bite promises a good alignment that causes no discomfort or pain to your jawbone.

6. Side Effects of Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dental procedures can improve the function and appearance of your teeth, but they can also cause side effects. Though the chances of side effects are rare, it is essential to know about them:

  • Tooth sensitivity: Restorative dental procedures can cause temporary tooth sensitivity. This is usually due to the removal of tooth structure or the placement of dental materials on your teeth. The sensitivity may resolve within some days or weeks.
  • Gum tenderness: Restorative dental procedures can also cause temporary gum tenderness. This is usually due to the placement of dental materials on your gums or the removal of tooth structure. The tenderness should resolve within a few days to weeks.
  • Temporary displacement of teeth: Some restorative dental procedures (such as the placement of dental implants) can cause your teeth to shift slightly. This is usually temporary and will resolve once your teeth have healed.

7. Risks Associated with Restorative Dentistry

While most procedures are safe and effective, there are a small number of risks and complications that can occur.

Allergic reactions: Some patients may be allergic to the materials used in dental restoration, such as the metals in dental amalgams or tooth-coloured composite resins. Allergic reactions can cause itching, swelling, and rashes.

Nerve damage: In rare cases, restorative dentistry procedures can damage the nerves that provide feeling to the teeth, lips, and gums. This can lead to numbness, tingling, or pain in the affected areas.

Infection: There is a small risk of infection after any dental procedure. Symptoms of an infection include excessive pain, swelling, redness, and drainage from the affected area.

Bleeding: Some procedures, such as tooth extractions, can cause bleeding. Bleeding can be stopped with pressure within a few hours.

Swelling: Swelling is a common risk associated with dental procedures, especially with treatments that involve touching the gums. It is usually worst the day after the procedure and should resolve within a few days.

Pain: Some discomfort is normal after most dental procedures. Over-the-counter pain medications can usually control this discomfort.

Bruising: Bruising is another common side effect of dental procedures involving gums, such as tooth extractions. Bruising usually resolves within a few days.

8. How Much Does Restorative Dentistry Cost?

The cost of restorative dentistry depends on the procedures your teeth require. If the issue is minor and can be fixed with a single treatment, the price will be less than an issue requiring multiple treatments.

Most restorative procedures are covered by dental insurance. However, any procedure your insurance company sees as cosmetic treatment will not be covered. In most cases, the cost of basic restorative dentistry procedures is relatively inexpensive.

9. What Restorative Treatments Are Covered by Insurance?

Most restorative treatments are covered by private health insurance. Therefore, it is essential to know the difference between general and major dental services to understand the inclusions based on your level of insurance coverage.

General fillings fall under the general dental category, included in most levels of health coverage. However, yearly caps and waiting periods will apply for treatments under the general dental category.

Major dental services include treatments like crowns, bridges, and veneers. Though these treatments are covered by some insurance (not entry-level), yearly caps and waiting periods also apply to them.

10. Can Any Dentist Perform a Wide Range of Dental Restorations?

Most dental professionals can carry out all of the dental restoration treatments. However, some treatments involve the creation of pieces that can’t be done on-site. For example, dental crowns and veneers are fixed by dental professionals but prepared in a dental laboratory. In these instances, your dentist will complete the required treatment, like filing the tooth, taking measurements for crowns and veneers, and sending these measurements to the lab. But the creation of these pieces will happen in the lab by the experts.

Some dental professionals do prepare restorative materials on site, but these are the ones that are made out of ceramic or porcelain and not metal alloys.

11. Conclusion

Dental restoration treatments include small fillings to replacement of missing teeth with dental implants. It is essential to understand which tooth requires what type of restoration to maintain its functionality vital. If you want to know which restorative treatment is the best for you, Macquarie Dental can guide you with providing suitable solutions.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What can I do about my missing teeth?

Several dental restorative treatments can help missing teeth. Dental implants, for example, are an excellent option for people who have lost one or more teeth. Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone and then topped with a porcelain crown, which looks and feels like a natural tooth.

Another option is dentures. Dentures are removable false teeth that fit snugly over the gums. They can be made from plastic, metal, or a combination of both. The difference between dental implants and dentures is that implants are a permanent solution, while dentures are removable.

Your dentist will determine your best option based on your unique needs and situation. They will also provide you with more information on the different types of dental restorative treatments available. Then, depending on your chosen treatment, the results can be natural-looking and feeling, giving you back a confident smile you deserve.

How will the dentist treat my cavities?

The best way to avoid cavities is by practising good oral hygiene and visiting the dental specialist regularly. This includes brushing your teeth two times a day, flossing once, and using mouthwash. Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary snacks and drinks is also essential. If you have a cavity, your dentist will likely recommend dental restorative treatments such as fillings, crowns, or root canals.

Simple fillings are the most common type of dental restoration. The dental specialist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then fill the area with a filling material such as

amalgam (a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper) or composite resin (a plastic material that can be colour matched to your teeth).

More severe cavities may require a crown or a root canal. A crown is a dental restoration that covers the entire tooth. It is usually made of porcelain or ceramic and is used to restore a tooth that is too damaged to be repaired with a filling. A root canal treatment can save a tooth that has become infected or damaged.

The procedure involves extracting the damaged tissue from the inside of the tooth and then filling and sealing the tooth.

Can a restorative dentist repair a broken tooth?

Yes, teeth whitening is safe for your teeth when done as directed by your dental professional or according to the instructions on the over-the-counter product you are using. You may experience temporary tooth sensitivity after whitening, but this should go away within a few days. Tooth sensitivity usually occurs because the whitening gel penetrates the tooth’s enamel, which can cause the nerves inside the tooth to become more active.

However, please see your dental professional if you experience prolonged tooth sensitivity or other side effects. In rare cases, teeth whitening leads to long-term damage to teeth, fillings, or bonding. If you have concerns about the safety of teeth whitening, please discuss them with your dentist. They will be able to help you determine if teeth whitening is right for you and help ensure that you are using a safe and effective product.

Am I a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry?

Yes, a restorative dental professional can repair a broken tooth. Depending on the level of damage, the dental professional may use one or more of the following techniques:

  • Dental bonding involves using a tooth-coloured resin to fill in cracks and gaps.
  • Dental crowns: Also known as caps, crowns cover and protect a damaged tooth. They can be made from several materials, including porcelain, ceramic, and metal.
  • Dental implants a surgical procedure in which an artificial tooth root is placed in the jawbone to support a replacement tooth.
  • Dentures are removable appliances that can replace one or more missing teeth. They are typically made from materials like acrylic and nylon. If your teeth are too damaged to be repaired, your dental specialist may suggest extraction and use dentures.

If you have a broken tooth, you must see a dental specialist as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the damage, the tooth may need to be extracted.

Can a chipped tooth be fixed with restorative dentistry?

If you have a chipped tooth, restorative dentistry can help to fix it. Many different types of restorative dental procedures can be used to repair a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the damage. For example, if you have chipped a small part of your tooth, your dental specialist may be able to fill the area with a tooth-coloured composite material.

However, if the damage is more significant, your dental professional may recommend a dental crown or veneer to restore your tooth. In some cases, dental implants may be necessary to provide support for a dental crown. Talk to your dental specialist about the best treatment option if you have a chipped tooth.

Your dentist will discuss your treatment options with you and help you choose the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

Should I have my tooth extracted instead of trying to save it?

It depends on your tooth’s condition and the damage. If your tooth is severely decayed, it is likely best to extract it. However, if the decay is more limited and can be treated with a filling or other restorative dentistry procedure, then it may be worth trying to save the tooth.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what is best for your overall oral health. If unsure, you can consult a dentist to get their professional opinion. Remember to seek treatment from a dentist as soon as possible if you notice any signs of tooth decay so that the damage can be limited, and the tooth may still be saved.

If you wait too long, the tooth may become too damaged to be saved and need to be extracted.

What if I have several chipped, broken, or decayed teeth?

Various restorative dentistry treatments can be used to fix several chipped, broken, or decayed teeth in your mouth. Depending on the extent of the damage, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Fillings: Fillings repair minor cracks and cavities in teeth.
  • Crowns: Crowns are used to cover and protect damaged teeth. They are typically made from porcelain or ceramic.
  • Bridges: Bridges are used to replace missing teeth. They are usually made from porcelain or ceramic.

If you have significant damage to your teeth, you may need to undergo more extensive treatment, such as dental implants. Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically inserted into the jawbone to provide support for artificial teeth.

If you are considering restorative dentistry, you must consult a qualified dental care specialist to discuss your treatment options. Your dentist can assess the damage to your teeth and recommend the best course of treatment.

 

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