Even with good oral hygiene, teeth can become damaged, or even fall out. Whether the damage or tooth loss occurred because of tooth decay, grinding, gum disease, or dental trauma, restorative dentistry can help correct the issue.
Restorative dentistry aims at strengthening and repairing natural teeth that have been damaged, and replacing missing teeth, to restore oral health and prevent further damage.
Restoring Weakened or Damaged Teeth
If you have cracked, chipped, or decayed teeth, your dentist may recommend one or more options to treat them.
Fillings are the most common form of restorative dentistry. A filling is used to fill in cavities from tooth decay. After your dentist has cleaned out the decay, a filling will help prevent further infection and add support to the tooth structure.
White fillings are made of a composite resin material, for fillings that are nearly invisible. The resin material is painted or moulded into the holes left by cavities.
Filling material may also be used to correct minor chips. The resin is layered to fill in around it.
If a tooth is heavily decayed, cracked, or otherwise damaged, a dental crown is used to support it. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that sit on top of teeth to protect them. A very thin layer of tooth enamel is removed from the natural tooth so that the dental crown can fit. A mould of the tooth is then taken, so that a custom crown can be made. Many dentists are able to do same-day crowns.
Crowns are also used on otherwise healthy teeth to add strength if those teeth are needed to support a bridge.
While gold may be chosen for crowns on back molars which are not visible; porcelain or porcelain fused to metal, composite resin, zirconium, or other tooth-coloured materials are often chosen for front teeth.
Although considered a cosmetic procedure, having veneers placed can strengthen weakened and damaged teeth. Veneers are thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of teeth, to cover discolourations, chips, crookedness, malformed shapes, and other imperfections. They are useful because they can cover several concerns in one procedure, and are more aesthetic than crowns. These can be made of porcelain, ceramic, zirconium, or other tooth-coloured dental materials.
Dental bonding is a similar procedure, where a resin material is applied to the tooth directly to achieve the effect of veneers or to treat chips or decay.
Replacing Missing Teeth
For those who have lost one or more of their natural teeth, there are several excellent options to replace missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth is important for oral health, as tooth loss is associated with shifting teeth (where remaining teeth shift towards the gap), loss of bone mass, loss of more teeth, and other oral health issues.
Dentures are a good option for patients who are unable to undergo a more invasive teeth replacement option like dental implants. Artificial teeth are custom made in a set for your mouth, and are commonly made from porcelain or acrylic resin.
Partial dentures replace one or more missing teeth, where there are still some natural teeth remaining. Full dentures are used where the entire upper or lower jaw has no teeth, so all your teeth are being replaced. Dental implants can be used to support full or partial dentures.
Denture cleaners are needed to care for them, as well as adhesive for a better fit.
A bridge is an excellent dental restoration to replace multiple missing teeth. Unlike dentures, which can be removed, bridges are permanently affixed. This makes them more secure and less likely to slip when eating or speaking. Like dentures, they can be attached to a natural tooth, strengthened with a crown, which the bridge or denture attaches to, or to a dental implant. These are also often made from porcelain or resin.
With a bridge, you can care for your artificial teeth the same way you care for your natural ones, by brushing them regularly, and you don’t need to take them out at night.
A dental spacer is rarely used, except in some cases where a child has a gap and there will be a length of time before the permanent tooth comes in. The spacer is a little metal frame that simply holds the gap open, so other teeth do not shift inwards and the tooth can erupt naturally.
A dental implant is the option that most closely mimics a natural tooth. A metal post is implanted into your jaw bone, to replace the tooth root, and a false tooth is attached to the post using an abutment. No special care is needed once the surgical site from the dental implant surgery has healed. Because the post mimics a tooth root, dental implants will also stimulate bone regeneration, so you don’t experience bone loss.
Do You Need a Restorative Dentistry Treatment?
If you have a damaged or missing tooth, or several missing teeth, restorative dentistry can help. Everyone’s mouth and circumstances are different, so a treatment that is right for one person may not be right for another. Your dentist will consult with you about whether you are a good candidate for a procedure, and make recommendations for you personally.
At Hamilton Mountain Dental, we will consult with you to address your concerns and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Don’t delay treatment – this can allow your condition to deteriorate.