You have heard of getting your regular dental checkups every six months. Sometimes your dentist may recommend that you come in more frequently for additional work. The additional visits are often part of restorative dentistry.
Restorative dentistry is a group of procedures that dentists often use to restore your oral health to its peak condition. The procedures can be aimed at correcting chipped or cracked teeth, decay, discolor, or missing teeth. Typically, if your teeth were damaged by trauma or a developmental issue, they can be qualified for restorative dentistry.
In order to qualify for restorative care, your dentist will conduct an initial assessment. This will help you both understand the extent of the damage and the level of care that you will require. This visit will usually utilize a visual inspection, imaging like X-rays, and some mechanical evaluation to see how sound your teeth are.
Upon the completion of the assessment, your dentist can help to recommend a care plan specially tailored for you. If the damage is minor, your dentist may be able to complete the entire plan in that first visit, but typical plans take at least a few visits to finish.
The range of your needs can also vary widely. Some restorative dentistry will only require your dentist and their local office, while other procedures could include maxillofacial surgeons, endodontists or prosthodontists. The level of anesthesia required can also greatly vary.
Depending on your needs, your dentist can suggest a variety of procedures. One of the most common restorative dentistry practices is fillings.
Fillings – Dental fillings help to remove the bacteria that has created a small hole through the enamel of your tooth. Your dentist will remove the damaged portions of the tooth and ensure that the bacteria has been removed before “filling” the hole to seal out any other possible damage.
Veneers – Veneers are thin porcelain sheets that are glued over the front of the teeth. Veneers are useful to hide cracked, chipped, or uneven teeth.
Crowns and Bridges – Crowns fully encase the tooth to seal out any bacteria or food particles from getting into the tooth. Crowns are often used after a root canal has been completed and can help keep the tooth in place without exposing it to more damage. Bridges are designed to prosthetically replace a missing tooth. The prosthetic tooth is attached to crowns that sit on either side of the missing tooth to give the appearance and function of the now missing tooth.
Implants – Implants are prosthetic devices that are also designed to replace a missing tooth. One of the largest benefits of an implant is that it is attached to the bone where the missing tooth once was. This helps to maintain the bone in the jaw and also gives the implant a more natural function and feel.
Inlay – An inlay is a restoration that can be attached to three sides of the tooth. Inlays can look like your natural teeth, or if placed on the back teeth can also be made of gold.
Onlays – Onlays are similar to inlays, except that they cover the chewing surface of the molars and can be subjected to more stress than an inlay.
Restorative dentistry is a wide branch of dentistry that can help to restore your teeth and smile to what it was before you experienced trauma or another type of developmental issue. If you think that any type of restorative dentistry could be an option for you, please contact our offices today to schedule your initial appointment and evaluation.