Restorative dentistry improves your oral health and function by focusing on repairing or replacing teeth. Any dental process that focuses on repairing or restoring damaged oral structures is considered to be “restorative.” General dentists like Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry provide restorative dentistry services. Our experienced team of dental professionals correct problems daily using dental procedures such as crowns, bridges, implants, fillings, and dentures. In this article, we explain when you need restorative dentistry, the difference between restorative and cosmetic dentistry, different types of dental restoration, and why restorative dentistry is important.
When Do I Need Restorative Dentistry?
You need restorative dental procedures when you have a problem that is impairing the proper functionality of your mouth. Such issues as missing or damaged teeth that are affecting your ability to bite, chew, or speak correctly require restorative dentistry. If you have a tooth that has fallen out or been knocked out, a tooth that is damaged through decay or other means, or a tooth that is broken, you require a dental procedure that restores the functioning of your mouth so you can chew and speak properly again.
What is the Difference Between Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry?
The difference between restorative and cosmetic dentistry is that restorative improves the oral health and function while cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving your appearance. There are some dental procedures that provide both functional and cosmetic improvements–aesthetic restorative dentistry. An example of this type of dentistry are dental crowns that both restore chewing function while making your smile look better.
What Are Different Types of Restorative Dentistry?
Each case is different; however, there are some procedures that are among the most common restorative dental services we provide at Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry.
Dental fillings are the most common dental restorative procedures. If you have a cavity in a tooth, you will need a filling to replace the decayed portion of the tooth. During the procedure, your dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth and fills in the space with a material that halts the progression of the decay.
Fillings can be made of metals (amalgam, gold, silver), composite (a compound of ceramic and plastic), or porcelain (also called ceramic). The kind of filling material you choose, upon consultation with your dentist, depends on several factors:
- The size of the cavity
- The location of the cavity
- Your budget
- Your timeframe
- Your dietary and tooth-grinding habits
Having some familiarity of the filling process and the pros and cons of the different types of filling materials will help you to make the decision that is right for you.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that restores a tooth that is decayed, broken, weak, or work-down. Dental crowns are also used to cover teeth that have had a root canal performed. Crowns are made from a variety of materials such as metal, resin, and porcelain and typically last between five and 15 years.
Inlays and Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays are indirect fillings that repair the chewing surface of a tooth. The main difference between the two is directly relative to how much chewing surface is covered. An inlay covers the pits and crevices between a tooth’s cusps (the grinding point of a tooth’s surface). An onlay is more prominent and covers one or more cusps.
A dental bridge replaces missing teeth in order to restore chewing, enhance appearance, and improve your oral health. A bridge can restore a missing tooth or more than one. The dental bridge “bridges the gap” between your teeth caused by the missing tooth or teeth.
A dental implant is a metal, screw-like post that is inserted into the jawbone in the space where you are missing a tooth. It replaces the tooth root of a missing tooth. After the post is put in place, time is taken to allow the jawbone to grow into and unite with the surface of the dental implant. The second phase is attaching the abutment to the post upon which, in the third phase, the artificial tooth is attached.
Dentures are removable oral appliances that replace missing teeth in the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. There are full, partial, and implant-supported dentures. Dentures are made from materials like acrylic, resin, nylon, metal, and porcelain. They need to be sized correctly for the shape of your mouth in order for them to fit properly, be comfortable, and function well. Your dental professional makes sure of the fit by taking a dental impression of the structure of your gums and teeth.
Root Canal Therapy
You may have a situation where the cavity or crack goes deep enough into the tooth that it gets to the pulp where bacteria can travel. When bacteria is in the pulp of your tooth, it causes a painful infection. In these cases, root canal therapy is required. The diseased pulp is removed, including the tiny nerves and blood vessels inside your tooth. Then, your dental professional thoroughly cleans and disinfects the inside surfaces of the tooth. Afterward, he/she fills the canals with a rubbery dental material called “gutta percha.” The final step is to place a filling to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from entering. Many times, a crown is also needed for additional strength and support.
Why is Restorative Dentistry Important?
Restorative dentistry is extremely important for a variety of reasons.
- Saving and Replacing Teeth – You can preserve a damaged tooth through restorative dentistry, if the treatment is not delayed. Sometimes a tooth is not recoverable and restorative dentistry replaces gaps between the teeth in order to preserve functionality. Teeth are needed to chew and digest food as well as enabling you to speak clearly.
- Enhancing Oral Health – You need healthy teeth in order to have good oral health. Neglecting oral care leads to oral diseases such as cavities and gingivitis.
- Being Less Prone to Diseases – Poor oral health can lead to systemic health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and others. A lack of oral care promotes buildup of bacteria that can travel anywhere in your body and end up at your heart and other vital organs.
Schedule Your Appointment for Restorative Dentistry
We can repair and restore your oral health and functionality with restorative dentistry procedures. Let us help you in making important decisions affecting your ability to chew and speak as well as improve your smile! Call us to schedule a consultation to review your restoration case and develop a treatment plan that is appropriate. Call us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at 919-467-2203, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.