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 and other external trauma, for example). The goal of restorative dental treatment is to bring the tooth or teeth back to their normal function.
The timeline for restorative dental treatment is typically difficult to predict. This is because many factors influence how a procedure will proceed, such as the extent of tooth damage, the difficulty of the procedure, and how comfortable the patient feels during the procedure.
Why is restorative dental care important?
Simply put, decaying teeth can hurt your appearance, self-esteem, and even your overall health (not just your oral health). By preventing plaque buildup, replacing and/or repairing decayed teeth can help maintain good oral health. Furthermore, filling open or damaged spots in vacant areas of the mouth is critical for maintaining tooth alignment. And, believe it or not, replacing missing teeth can relieve a lot of pressure on the remaining teeth when you eat. The more teeth there are, the easier it is to chew and the less plaque buildup 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.
However, treatment will differ depending on the individual. If there isn't too much damage and the treatment is minimally invasive, the treatment may only require a single dental appointment. When the damage is much more extensive and thus necessitates a more complex procedure, treatment may necessitate more visits. Depending on the patient, specialists such as a prosthodontist, endodontist, or maxillofacial surgeon may be required.
During the procedure, your dentist may use various types of anesthesia to keep you pain-free. Anesthesia may also be used to alleviate your anxiety or fears.
The majority of dental restoration procedures are either direct or indirect. Direct procedures typically involve repairs performed within the mouth. Indirect procedures are performed outside of the mouth and then attached to a tooth or tooth structure. Your dentist will advise you on the best procedure for you.
This common procedure is also known as 'fillings.' Direct restoration involves your dentist inserting a moldable substance into a cleaned tooth cavity. This material will harden and restore the structure of the tooth. Silver amalgam, composite fillings, and glass ionomer fillings are all common filling materials.
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, and implants.