What is restorative dental care?
Simply put, restorative dental care involves treatments that restore integrity, function and/or structure of a damaged tooth or teeth. This damage may range from injury (for example: chipping and other external trauma) to decay. With restorative dental treatment, we can bring the tooth or teeth back to their normal function.
It's typically hard to estimate a timeline for restorative dental treatment because many factors factor into how a procedure will play out, including the extent of tooth damage, how difficult the procedure will be, and how comfortable the patient feels during the process.
Why is restorative dental care important?
Your appearance, self-esteem and even your overall health (not limited to your oral health) can be impacted by badly decaying teeth. Replacing and/or repairing tooth decay can prevent plaque buildup and help maintain good oral health. In addition, filling damaged or open spots in vacant areas of your mouth is essential to keeping teeth well-aligned. Believe it or not, replacing missing teeth can ease pressure on remaining teeth while you eat. The more teeth there are, the easier time you'll have chewing and the less plaque will build up 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 crowns & bridges, and inlays & onlays.