Restorative treatment is any dental care that helps to repair damaged or broken teeth to restore your smile. In this post, our Hamilton dentists explain the different types of restorative dental services and how they can benefit your oral health.
What is restorative dental care?
Put simply, restorative dental care refers to treatments that restore the structure, integrity, and/or function of a damaged tooth or teeth. This damage can range from decay to injury (chipping or breaking your tooth). The goal of restorative dental treatment is to bring the tooth or teeth back to their normal function.
Restorative dental treatment can range from a relatively simple fix, such as filling a cavity, to complex, lengthy treatment depending on the extent of damage to the tooth.
Why is restorative dental care important?
To put it simply, decayed, broken, or missing teeth can have a negative effect on both your oral and overall health as well as your self-confidence. Replacing and/or fixing decaying teeth can help maintain good oral health by preventing plaque build-up.
Furthermore, filling open or damaged spots in vacant areas of the mouth is important for keeping teeth well-aligned. And, believe it or not, replacing missing teeth can actually help preserve your jaw bone density. Over time, patients with multiple missing teeth often suffer from something called facial collapse which is a result of the jawbone weakening.
What happens during treatment?
Before treatment even begins, it's likely your dentist will diagnose your condition using a variety of dental diagnostic tools, including X-rays and a thorough examination of your mouth.
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. Depending on the patient, seeing a specialist, such as a prosthodontist, endodontist or maxillofacial surgeon, might be recommended.
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.