Missing or damaged teeth can definitely affect the quality of someone’s smile. This is understandably a cause for distress for many people who suffer from such a situation. While restorative dentistry is a fairly broader profession nowadays, one of its basic goals remains as fixing or replacing damaged teeth. However, apart from returning the aesthetics of their natural smiles to the patients, this type of dentistry also has significant oral health benefits.
What is Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry, as the name suggests, aims to restore dental health. It does so by repairing or replacing teeth. Normally, people who have missing, damaged, or chipped teeth opt for restorative dentistry procedures to restore the functions of their mouth and the quality of their smile.
What Does Restorative Dentistry Include?
The dentistry includes various treatments. These include:
Fillings: A dentist may recommend you to get fillings if there’s a small cavity (a hole in tooth enamel). They will remove the decayed part of the tooth and fill the void with a composite material (filling). This helps to prevent further damage.
Crowns: This treatment is suitable if the cavity cannot be treated with a filling. Also called ‘cap’, a crown covers the entire tooth. However, it requires the dentist to remove the natural enamel from the tooth to make place for it.
Inlays and Onlays: These are custom restorations that are bonded onto the teeth where a hole is created by a cavity. Dentists recommend them when both crown and filling are not suitable options.
Root Canal Therapy: Again, a cavity is a culprit here. However, dentists recommend root canal therapy if the cavity has made its way to the pulp, the deeper part of the tooth, and resulted in a painful infection. This procedure requires removing the diseased pulp, thoroughly disinfecting the inside parts, and filling the canals.
Bridges: A bridge serves the literal purpose of bridging natural teeth in case the patient has a missing tooth. It basically consists of an artificial tooth that has dental crowns on both sides.
Dental implants: It is one of the most preferred choices when a person has one or more missing teeth as implants function, look, and feel just like natural teeth. It is basically a small post that serves as a replacement for the natural tooth root. A crown is placed on it to restore the mouth functions.
Dentures: It is another tooth-replacement option. Dentures are removable appliances that are designed to cover the missing teeth. With adequate support from the jawbone underneath them, dentures are to be placed on top of the gums.
Here is how restorative dentistry is helpful in the prevention of oral health problems:
Restored Function of Teeth
We all use our teeth primarily for chewing and managing food in the mouth as we eat. However, healthier teeth also maintain a person’s ability to speak properly.
In case you have missing, damaged, or decayed teeth, these may affect your ability to chew or speak in some way. It is possible not to encounter any problems initially. However, if the damage is not countered, you will eventually suffer from a worsened problem to the point that the teeth may become unrepairable. Restorative dentistry procedures help fix the damage in time and preserve the teeth for almost a lifetime.
Cavities and decayed teeth, if left untreated, can cause severe pain. Infections can occur that make the process of fixing the problem even more complicated. Dental restoration treatments help fix painful cavities and replace decayed teeth. Although, people should visit their dentist regularly to identify such problems before these become a cause of pain. Timely restorative treatments not only preserve the health of the teeth for the long term but prevent the patient from being in discomfort as well.
Preservation of Bone Strength
At times, damage to a tooth reaches a point where no treatment can fix it. Dentists extract such teeth to protect the patients against oral discomfort and further health risks.
However, it is equally important to replace the missing tooth. The space left behind can lead to bone loss in your jaw. The absence of a tooth will cause the bone that held it to weaken and dissolve over time. Empty spaces in the mouth may also affect the alignment of the teeth and the jaw. Therefore, restorative dentistry is beneficial in preserving the bones in the jaw.
Preventing Jaw Problems
Many people suffer from misalignment resulting from improper growth of teeth or other oral problems like missing or damaged teeth. This misalignment can cause multiple jaw problems. For example, patients report pain, stiffness, self-biting of gums, clicking teeth, and even headaches.
Different dental restoration procedures can fix the alignment of teeth and eliminate discomfort in the jaw. These include teeth straightening, fillings, implants, bridges, and more.
A healthy smile results from the good shape, evenness, and natural color of the teeth. A good-looking smile is not just contagious to others but boosts personal confidence and well-being too. Dentists use a variety of restorative treatments to overcome discoloration, unevenness, and poor shape of the teeth.
When tooth restoration treatments are sought in time, these can prevent further complicating a specific oral issue. Fixing a problem before it worsens means that patients will not have to incur the cost of more intense procedures. For example, filling a cavity before it reaches the root and causes an infection means no root canal treatment, which is a comparatively long and costly process.
Some people may find restorative dentistry procedures unnecessary or merely of just cosmetic importance. It is easier to assume that a missing tooth will not cause any problems since you can still chew and eat. However, the above-mentioned benefits and the opinions of dentists around the world prove that these treatments can save your oral health against untimely deterioration.
It is highly recommended that you visit your dentist regularly to identify issues before they worsen and require more rigorous treatment options.
For an initial consultation at Sue Vetter’s dental office in Seattle, please contact us today.
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