What is Restorative Dentistry?

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So, what does restorative dentistry involve?  Is it the same as cosmetic dentistry?

Not quite.  Cosmetic dentistry is focused on providing veneers, inlays or onlays, performing crowns or bridges, and whitening procedures.  These are the procedures that are not essential for your health and well-being, but contribute to a bright smile and better self-esteem.   Restorative dentistry, on the other hand, is dentistry focused on dealing with missing or damaged teeth.  Some of the main procedures in restorative dentistry are fillings, implants, bridges, and caps or crowns.  In addition to bringing back a bright, healthy smile, restorative dentistry is aimed at preventing future issues with oral health.

Restorative dentistry is important for a number of reasons.  First, when you are missing teeth, the remaining teeth shift and become improperly aligned.  Second, when teeth are replaced, it’s much easier to maintain god oral care.  This helps to prevent the buildup of plaque.  Since plaque buildup can lead to a host of other dental problems, replacing teeth can help to prevent further issues and keep your teeth healthier for longer.  Finally, one of our most important features is our smile.  Missing teeth are hard to miss.  In addition to the health complications, this impacts your appearance and self-esteem.

Restorative dentistry involves a number of procedures.  Here’s an overview of each:

  • Fillings

When your teeth have cavities, one of the most common ways to fix them is with a filling.  First, the decay is removed, and then the space is refilled.  There are a number of different materials used to fill cavities.  They include porcelain, gold, tooth-coloured plastic, composite resin, or silver amalgam.  Silver amalgam is a combination of mercury, copper, zinc, tin, and silver.

  • Crowns

With extreme cavities or broken teeth, a crown is the recommended procedure.  Crowns are tooth-shaped caps which are placed over the broken tooth.  Your dentists will take an impression of your existing tooth and specialists in the lab will form the crown to fit it exactly.  The crown is then cemented over the existing tooth.

  • Bridges

When one or several teeth are missing, a bridge can be formed to fill the gap.  Essentially, a bridge is an artificial tooth or some artificial teeth with a crown on each end to serve as an anchor.  This will prevent other teeth from moving out of place.  After it has been placed, the bridge can be used just like natural teeth.

  • Dental Implants

Dental implants are another option for dealing with missing teeth.  They both look and feel like natural teeth.  An implant is a false tooth, similar to a crown, bound to a metal anchor.  The metal anchor is first implanted in the jawbone.  Finally, the false tooth is put in place.

After you’ve had some restorative dental work done, it’s important to take care of it to prevent further dental issues.  Here are some tips:

  • Avoid hard or sticky foods as they can damage fillings, crowns, bridges, or implants.
  • Brush twice a day and thoroughly.
  • Plaque around teeth and restorative work can be more easily removed with an electric toothbrush.
  • Be sure to floss daily around teeth, bridges, crowns and dental implants.
  • Make sure to use antibacterial mouthwash to combat plaque bacteria around your restorative work.

Oral care and dental maintenance is important.  If you’d like to know more about restorative dentistry or if you have dental questions, feel free to contact us.