It’s widely known in the dental field that teeth do not heal themselves the same way that our body heals injuries. In fact, damaged teeth cannot heal themselves at all—they need to be treated in order to maintain their function, look and feel. That’s where restorative dentistry comes in, to do the work that your body can’t do on its own. Restorative dental solutions range depending on what type of damage the tooth has sustained. Restorative dental treatments are necessary in order to save your teeth, and they are usually considered as the first line of treatment unless the tooth is too far gone to be saved.
Restorative Dentistry Basics
Generally speaking, restorative dental care is self-explanatory— it is meant to restore the teeth back to their former glory (or at least get them as close to their undamaged, original state as possible) and prevent further issues. Some of the following treatments are done to help save your tooth (or teeth):
A dental filling is done when a cavity (area of painful decay in the tooth) is found. The filling is usually done quickly in just one appointment. Fillings help to prevent further pain and decay in the tooth and restore the tooth’s function.
A cemented material that is adhered to the chewing surface of the tooth. Usually only placed on molars, pre-molars and sometimes anterior teeth, an inlay can be made of porcelain, gold and/ or ceramic. An inlay is similar to a filling, except it has to be fabricated in a dental lab, instead of done in one quick appointment (unless your dentist has an in-house lab), and it is usually only done when a filling won’t be sufficient for the size of the cavity.
Similar to an inlay, an onlay covers the entire chewing surface of a tooth, so it is much larger. An onlay also must be made in a dental lab and is usually made of either ceramic, porcelain and/or gold.
Also known as a “cap,” a crown fits over the natural tooth to restore the look, feel and function of a tooth. Crowns are used when teeth either have extensive cracks, chips, a newly placed implant, severe decay and/or the tooth’s root is infected. Left untreated, a tooth that is damaged to that extent will only get worse, more painful and eventually may crumble or fall out.
A permanent tooth prosthesis that is affixed in the mouth via adherence to adjacent natural teeth to allow for chewing, speaking, and to restore the natural appeal of the smile. A bridge may be chosen when one or multiple teeth are lost.
Dental bonding is often used to reshape, fill, lengthen and/or change a discolored area on the tooth. Bonding is typically quick and painless and may be chosen for minor cosmetic defects such as a chipped tooth.
7. Dental Implants
Dental Implants are chosen when a tooth is beyond repair and needs to be extracted. Implants are probably the most natural feeling, long lasting and economical in the long run. This is partly due to the material used (usually titanium) to make the implant, and the fact that it is secured into the jawbone. The placement within the jawbone keeps the bone from wasting away and mimics the feeling of a real tooth being situated exactly where the extracted tooth root used to be.
Restorative dentistry offers a chance for dentists to save teeth that are still viable and replace the teeth that are not in order to restore the look, function and feel of a “real” tooth. However, it is important to note that not all patients are candidates for certain restorative dental options. Advanced DDS is a state-of-the-art dental office in Garden City, NY where our team of doctors and in-house dental lab technicians exhibit excellence for our patients’ benefit. Schedule a dental consultation at 516-825-1100.