What's restorative dental care, and why is it important to our oral health? Here, our Nepean dentists describe the different types of restorative dental services and how they help restore your smile.
What is restorative dental care?
To explain it in simple terms, restorative dental care refers to treatments that aim to restore the function, structure, and/or integrity of a damaged tooth or teeth. This damage may result from decay due to injury (for example: chipping and other external trauma). The goal of restorative dental treatment is to return the tooth or teeth to their normal function.
The timeline for restorative dental treatment can be hard to pin down since many factors contribute to how a procedure will turn out, such as the extent of tooth damage, how difficult the procedure will be to perform, and how comfortable the patient feels throughout the process.
Why is restorative dental care important?
Badly decaying teeth can have negative effects on your self-esteem, appearance and even your general physical health (not just your oral health). Repairing or replacing decaying teeth can help you maintain good oral health by keeping plaque from building up. Further, ensuring open or damaged spots in vacant areas of the mouth are filled is essential to maintaining proper alignment between teeth. In addition, replacing missing teeth can put far less pressure on remaining teeth as you eat. The more teeth you have to chew with, the easier you'll find the action of chewing to be and the less plaque buildup accumulates on the natural teeth.
What happens during treatment?
Before treatment even begins, it's likely your dentist will diagnose your condition using a variety of means, including x-rays and a thorough examination of your mouth.
But treatment will vary among individuals. Sometimes the treatment, if there isn't too much damage and the treatment is minimally-invasive, will only require a single dental appointment. Other times, when the damage is much more extensive and thus requires a more complex procedure, treatment will likely require more visits. Again, depending on the patient, specialists, such as a prosthodontist, endodontist or maxillofacial surgeon, might need to be called in.
During the procedure, your dentist might use different types of anesthesia so that you don't feel any pain. They might also use anesthesia to calm your anxiety or fears.
Most dental restoration procedures are classified as either direct or indirect. Direct procedures usually involve repairs done inside the mouth. Indirect procedures are done outside the mouth and then attached to the tooth or the tooth structure. Your dentist will determine what procedure is best for you.
Another word for this common procedure is 'fillings.' With direct restoration, your dentist usually places a mouldable substance inside of a cleaned tooth cavity. This material will harden and restore the tooth's structure. Common materials used for fillings include silver amalgam, composite fillings, and glass ionomer fillings.
With indirect restorations, construction happens outside the mouth. There is usually much more work involved with indirect restorations, but the results are usually more stable and long-lasting. It can also restore the overall look of your teeth. Some common examples of indirect restorations include veneers, crowns & bridges, implants, and inlays & onlays.