Restorative Dental Care
Life has a way of throwing you the odd curveball at times. One of the worst kind of curveballs are those that affect your health,especially your oral health. Suffering oral health-related issues can greatly affect your quality of life by damaging teeth, leading to subsequent tooth loss. Restorative dental care is an ideal treatment option for reinstating your mouth’s functionality and natural aesthetics.
What is Restorative Dentistry?
Dental restoration refers to the repair and replacement of damaged or missing teeth. Your teeth are susceptible to lots of external threats including decay, fractures, or degeneration of prior tooth replacements. When those threats become manifest, you’ll need specialist care to help get your teeth back in prime shape. Restorative dental treatments help alleviate these dental issues.
Depending on the nature of your issue, several treatment alternatives are applicable. Whether you’re dealing with a chipped tooth or missing teeth altogether, there are appropriate therapies tailored to suit your needs. Here’s a list of restoration options available.
• Composite & Amalgam Fillings
If you’re suffering from cavities then one appropriate form of treatment is getting a filling. When getting a filling, the decayed portion of your tooth is removed and filled using a material. Fillings may also be used to repair broken, cracked, or worn-down teeth. This material may either be a composite filling or an amalgam filling.
Amalgam fillings consist of a variety of metals, including zinc, silver, copper, and mercury. These types of fillings offer longer-lasting results and are a more affordable option. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are made from a mix of ceramic and acrylic materials and offer a seamless blend with your tooth’s natural enamel. Composite fillings offer a more aesthetic look.
Benefits of Fillings
Composite fillings blend well with the surrounding tooth structure for a natural appearance.
Amalgam fillings are less susceptible to decay and are more durable.
Alternatives to Fillings
For damaged teeth, you may opt for inlays or outlays. Inlays and outlays treat slight tooth decay while maintaining the tooth’s aesthetics.
• Porcelain Crowns
Crowns are generally “caps” that are placed over the tooth to restore size, shape, and strength. Porcelain crowns are a great option for tooth restoration, particularly because of their translucent appearance that resembles natural teeth. A pure porcelain crown is the only type of crown that offers that “see-through” look.
When placing or fitting a porcelain crown, your tooth will first be cleaned in preparation for the treatment. Next comes reshaping to achieve a tapered look so that the crown can fit snugly on the tooth. Dental putty is used to get an impression of the tooth and the mold is sent to the lab for fabrication. After two to three weeks, the fitting is done using dental cement.
Benefits of Porcelain Crowns
They are amazingly durable and can last for up to 15 years.
They help to protect a damaged tooth from further decay or deterioration.
Other Options to Porcelain Crowns
A suitable alternative would be to get a large enough filling to seal the cavity or crack. A large filling might suffice to salvage a damaged tooth from extraction.
• Porcelain Inlays and Onlays
Porcelain inlays and onlays are also termed as indirect fillings or partial crowns and are perfect for treating mild tooth decay or damage while maintaining the tooth’s aesthetics. Porcelain inlays are fitted into the cavity while onlays replace a cusp or bump of the tooth.
After a consultation, the decision to place an inlay or onlay is made depending on the nature of the issue. During the procedure, the decayed part of the tooth is removed and the inlay or onlay is applied and cemented in place. The porcelain inlay or onlay should fit comfortably and give a natural look.
Benefits of Porcelain Inlays and Onlays
Porcelain inlays and onlays are capable of strengthening the tooth by up to 75 percent.
They can last for anywhere between 20 and 30 years.
Restore worn out amalgam fillings.
Porcelain inlays and onlays are resistant to staining and maintain a bright smile for longer.
Substitutes to Inlays and Onlays
A regular filling would be a suitable alternative to inlays and onlays. If you have smaller cavities, then a filling could do. You may also opt to get a full crown that encircles the tooth and encase the visible portion of the tooth.
• Cosmetic Bonding
Cosmetic bonding involves applying a composite resin material that resembles the color of teeth to repair chipped, decayed, discolored, or fractured teeth. This procedure may also be used to close the gap between teeth, make the teeth appear longer, or change the color or shape of the teeth. This procedure is termed as bonding because it uses materials that bond to the teeth.
The procedure is fairly straightforward and begins with selecting a composite resin color that matches your teeth. The surface of your tooth is then etched to help the bonding material adhere. The resin is applied, molded, and smoothed to achieve a proper shape and is hardened using UV light. Trimming and shaping follow then finally the teeth are polished to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth.
Benefits of Cosmetic Bonding
Suitable for solving a wide variety of dental issues such as chipped teeth, crooked teeth, cavities, discoloration, or spaces in between teeth.
Are There Other Options?
The main alternative to cosmetic bonding involves getting veneers. Veneers consist of a thin layer of porcelain and fit over the entire tooth surface. They are strong as natural enamel and create a beautiful, natural look. Veneers however change the shape of the tooth permanently and are considered as a form of non-removable treatment.
• Dentures & Partials
Dentures offer a replacement for missing teeth and may be taken out of the mouth and placed back at any convenient time. When it comes to dentures, there are two types namely full/complete dentures and partial/immediate dentures. Complete dentures are made for the patient’s mouth cavity once the teeth are extracted and are held in place by suction. Immediate dentures are placed in the patient’s mouth immediately following tooth extraction and serve as a bandage to control bleeding and protect the gum tissue.
The process of getting complete dentures begins with making a cast of the upper and lower gums to get a perfect base for fabrication. Next, the length of the teeth is determined based on the patient’s mouth. A loose tray with the final plastic teeth is fit into the mouth to determine if any adjustments are required. The new set of dentures is then ready for use.
Benefits of Dentures
Dentures restore aesthetics while also allowing the patient to resume normal chewing.
They help eliminate social awkwardness caused by missing teeth.
Dentures protect against extensive wear and tear.
Dentures are removable for cleaning purposes.
Alternative Options Worth Considering
When looking for alternatives, dental implants, and dental bridges are available. Dental implants may be used as a permanent solution for missing teeth since they are inserted directly into the jaw. Dental bridges come in three variants and may be used to replace one or more missing teeth.
• Dental Implants
Dental implants consist of metal frames that are surgically placed in the jawbone followed by mounting a tooth replacement. The implant is fused to the jawbone and provides firm support for the artificial tooth. To receive implants, the patient requires healthy gums and a strong enough jawbone to hold the implant in place.
Before the procedure, the damaged tooth is first removed. If the jawbone isn’t strong enough to support the implant, a bone graft may be carried out to rebuild the jawbone. During the surgery, an incision is made on the gum to expose the bone and a hole is drilled into the bone where the implant metal will be placed. The jawbone is then given time to heal and fuse with the surface of the implant.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer improved speech and improved appearance while delivering comfort.
They make eating a lot easier and improve your appearance.
What are the Alternatives?
Fixed bridges are a possible alternative since they use special bonding material to place a “bridge” in between the tooth spaces.
Root Canal Therapy
This treatment option is needed when the tooth root becomes infected or inflamed. It’s a fairly straightforward procedure that aims to save the tooth while also relieving pain. Before the procedure, local anesthesia is administered.
After anesthetizing the affected area, a drill is used to make a hole in the tooth and the diseased pulp of the tooth is carefully removed. The cavity that’s left behind is then cleaned, disinfected, and shaped. A filling is then used to fill the gap using adhesive cement. A crown may then be placed to offer protection against cracking.
Benefits of a Root Canal
A root canal is a great way to salvage the tooth while eliminating the pain.
It prevents the jawbone from further disintegration.
It might prevent the spread of infection to neighboring teeth.
If you want to forgo a root canal, your next best bet is an extraction. Once the tooth has been extracted then it can be replaced with an implant, a bridge, or removable dentures. These options could help prevent tooth shifting while also restoring chewing.
• Laser Treatments
This form of treatment involves the use of an instrument that generates light energy in a focused beam. The laser light then hits the tooth and reshapes it. It’s an ideal procedure for treating tooth decay, hypersensitivity, or gingivitis. It’s also an ideal procedure for tooth whitening. Laser treatments are a comfortable and effective treatment option for addressing issues involving hard tissue (that is, teeth) or soft tissue (relating to gums).
During the procedure, a dental laser is used to reach and remove swollen gum tissue from the region around the root of the tooth. Once the tissue is removed and the root is fully exposed, scaling then follows to eliminate plaque or calculus build up in the gum or root.
Benefits of Laser Treatment
- It lowers amounts of pain.
- There’s less bleeding involved.
- Laser sterility means you have a lower chance of infection.
- Laser treatment offers a quicker healing time.
- Anesthesia may not be required.
Alternative Options to Laser Treatment
If laser treatment doesn’t appeal to you, then you could consider scaling and root planing. This is a non-surgical option that removes dental plaque then smooths over the surface of the roots. Scaling and root planing are a viable option for treating gum disease and addressing the issue of receding gums.
If you’re suffering from excessive tooth decay, a tooth infection, or crowding in your mouth then extraction is a suitable choice. Additionally, if you’re getting braces then it might be necessary to extract one or more teeth to provide the necessary room for other teeth to shift into place.
It’s a routinely quick procedure that involves local, general, or intravenous anesthesia. An instrument called an elevator is then used to loosen the tooth and forceps then extract it. For a surgical extraction, both local and intravenous anesthesia is used to numb the affected area. Extraction will eliminate a decayed tooth but in order to regain functionality, the procedure should be supplemented with a tooth implant.
Benefits of Extraction
- Extraction eliminates overlapping that may make teeth hard to clean.
- It protects the surrounding teeth from infection.
- It eliminates discomfort even if other procedures have proven unsuccessful.
Alternatives to Tooth Extraction
The main alternative to spare your teeth would be to get a root canal. A root canal eliminates the diseased nerves and pulp, cleans the inside of the hole and seals it to maintain tooth functionality.
Restorative dental care is a practice that serves both the body and the mind by alleviating physical pain for a more productive life. By restoring your teeth, restorative dental care reinstates your quality of life so you can live each day to its maximum potential. Consult with your dentist or oral surgeon to see which treatment option is an ideal fit for you.