What is restorative dental care, and why is it important to our oral health? Today, our Lethbridge dentists define the different types of restorative dental services and how they help restore your smile.
What is restorative dental care?
Simply put, restorative dental care refers to treatments that restore the integrity, function and/or structure of a damaged tooth or teeth. This damage may be caused by decay or injury (for example: chipping or other external trauma). The goal of restorative dental treatment is to bring the tooth or teeth back to their normal function.
Timelines for restorative dental treatments can vary widely since many factors contribute to how a procedure will play out, such as the extent of tooth damage, how difficult the procedure will be, and how comfortable the patient feels during this process.
Why is restorative dental care important?
Your appearance, self-esteem and even general health (not just your oral health) can be impacted by badly decaying teeth. Repairing and/or replacing decaying teeth can help you maintain excellent oral health by preventing plaque buildup. In addition, filling open or damaged spots in areas of the mouth that are vacant is important to preventing misalignment. Plus, having missing teeth replaced can put far less pressure on remaining teeth while you eat. The more teeth there are, the easier time you'll have chewing and the less plaque buildup you'll have on your 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.