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Restorative dental procedures can save teeth and restore their natural look, shape, and feel by:
This branch of dentistry incorporates treatments from other dental fields, including endodontics, prosthodontics, and periodontics. Many people need multifaceted care, which may require treatment from more than one specialist.
There are a variety of dental restoration treatments available. Each treatment type uses common restoration materials differently.
“It’s important to discuss your specific case with your dentist to determine which one is the best for you,” says Dr. Aggarwal.
Dental fillings are most often used to fill in cavities or holes after root canal treatment. They can also be applied to restore worn teeth or fill in gaps between teeth.
Fillings can be made from amalgam (a metal alloy) or materials such as composite resin and glass ionomer. Unlike amalgam, which has a metallic color, composite resin and glass ionomer can be white or tooth-colored.
Placing fillings is less invasive, costly, or time-consuming than other restorative treatments. For these reasons, fillings are a common treatment for cavities. Over time, however, fillings risk staining or fracture.
Dr. Aggarwal notes that fillings “cannot replace large amounts of missing or decayed tooth structure.”
Crowns also serve as full-coverage “caps” that restore a tooth's normal size, shape, and function. A full crown will cover your natural tooth. To ensure a proper fit, a dental professional must carefully shape the underlying tooth.
According to Dr. Aggarwal, full crowns provide a more homogeneous appearance of the entire tooth. This makes them a highly esthetic option for front teeth.
There are several factors a dentist will consider before determining someone's candidacy for a dental crown. These factors include but are not limited to:
Veneers are layers of dental resin or ceramic placed over existing teeth. As Dr. Aggarwal explains, veneers require “minimal removal of tooth structure” while providing an improved esthetic appearance.
While the low invasiveness of veneers can be attractive, they are more prone to damage than other treatments since they are so fragile.
In addition, veneers may require multiple appointments to complete. They are also more expensive, and insurance might not cover their costs.
Dental bridges are fixed dental restorations that replace missing teeth. They attach one or more artificial teeth to existing teeth or a dental implant.
Gold, stainless steel, ceramic, and porcelain fused to metal are all materials that can be used in dental bridges.
Like veneers, bridges may require multiple appointments and are more costly than fillings or crowns. They may also require extensive tooth preparation.
A dental implant acts as a kind of prosthetic tooth root, fitting into the jawbone to provide support for a crown or bridge. The most common dental implant is a titanium screw designed to integrate with the surrounding bone.
Implants provide long-lasting and natural-looking replacements for missing teeth. They are more invasive than other restoration methods, however, because they have to be placed via surgery.
While implants are more durable, they can fail to integrate. Implants require excellent oral hygiene to prevent failure, according to Dr. Aggarwal, as implants are at risk for gum disease just as regular teeth are.
Inlays and onlays are partial tooth-colored or gold restorations that restore smaller areas of missing or damaged tooth structure.
Inlays and onlays are slightly less invasive than crowns and consist of indirect restorative materials. In other words, dental lab technicians make the restorations outside the mouth.
Bonding procedures incorporate composite resins (tooth-colored fillings made of glass and plastic). Dental bonding is typically used to:
Depending on your needs, three different dental bonding treatments are available. These include indirect dental bonding, composite veneer bonding, and composite bonding.
Dental bonding can also be useful for people with diastemas.
Dentures are removable or fixed prosthetic teeth that replace multiple missing teeth. Custom complete dentures are a standard solution when someone loses all of their teeth, usually from advanced dental decay or gum disease.
Depending on the person, there are five different types of dentures to choose from. These include:
Various restorative dental materials can be used to make fillings, crowns, implants, dentures, and other restorations.
Common materials include:
There are several reasons someone might need a dental restoration, according to Dr. Khushbu Aggarwal, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists. Some of the most common reasons include:
The most common risk is sensitivity and general discomfort after the procedure. It’s rare to get an infection or allergic reaction to the metals used.
Dental restorations have very few risks. However, there are a few instances that can cause potential problems.
Dental crowns can get loose or chipped, and fillings can crack. It’s also possible for the procedure to fail and leave gaps in the filling, which can accumulate food debris and plaque. This can lead to tooth decay.
No matter what type of dental restoration you have, good oral hygiene and a healthy diet are paramount for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Dr. Aggarwal also advises avoiding habits that can fracture new restorations, such as opening bottles with your teeth.
Different types of restorations come with their own aftercare requirements.
“For example, bridges require a special type of floss to adequately clean under the prosthetic tooth,” Dr. Aggarwal says. “ In contrast, single-unit crowns can be flossed just like a regular tooth.”
Ask your dentist for aftercare instructions that are specific to your situation.
Cosmetic and restorative dentistry use some of the same materials and procedure codes.
However, it’s considered restorative if a disease requires treatment. Even if the result improves appearance, it’s still a restorative procedure.
Additionally, cosmetic (esthetic) dental procedures can help improve a person’s smile and self-image.
Examples of esthetic treatments include veneers and teeth whitening. These treatments are considered cosmetic because they are elective and not medically necessary. Instead, they are solely used to improve appearance.
Restorative dentistry focuses on repairing damaged or missing teeth. It’s used to improve dental health and restore chewing functions.
These dental procedures aim to save teeth and restore their natural look, shape, and feel. There are different types of procedures for restorative dentistry.
Certain restoration treatments are more appropriate for some situations than others. Your dentist can help you determine the treatment that best suits your needs.
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