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.
Restorative dental treatment timelines are notoriously difficult to predict. This is because a variety of factors influence the outcome of a procedure, including the extent of tooth damage, the difficulty of the procedure, and the patient's comfort during the procedure.
Why is restorative dental care important?
Simply put, severely decayed teeth can have a negative impact on your appearance, self-esteem, and even your overall health (not just your oral health). By preventing plaque build-up, replacing and/or repairing decayed teeth can help maintain good oral health. Furthermore, keeping teeth aligned requires filling open or damaged spots in vacant areas of the mouth. And, believe it or not, replacing missing teeth can reduce the amount of pressure placed on the remaining teeth while eating. The more teeth you have, the easier it will be to chew, and the less plaque will accumulate 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.
However, each person's treatment will differ. If there isn't too much damage and the treatment is minimally invasive, the treatment may only require one dental appointment. When the damage is more extensive and a more complex procedure is required, treatment will likely require more visits. Specialists such as a prosthodontist, endodontist, or maxillofacial surgeon may be required, depending on the patient.
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.
Fillings is another term for this common procedure. A mouldable substance is usually placed inside a cleaned tooth cavity with direct restoration. This substance 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.