San Jose, CA
Restorative dentistry is a terminology used for procedures that repair or replace missing teeth. More specifically, these dentists specialize in treating patients who are in need of removal or repair of cavities and other oral conditions. This branch of dentistry is a culmination of several other dental fields, including periodontics, prosthodontics, and endodontics.
Root canals, composite fillings, dental bridges, and implants are all common types of restorative procedures. Restorative dentistry has two primary goals: to restore natural function and restore the appearance of the teeth. Health care providers in this field are able to provide multifaceted care that is typically needed when undergoing restorative procedures.
In contrast to cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry factors in your oral health and to some extent, your general health as well. If you are curious about restorative dentistry and how it can assist in improving your quality of life, we here at Nancy Shiba, DDS would be more than happy to help you understand the underlying reasons and benefits of it. Navigating different avenues of restorative surgeries can be a daunting task, which is why we soar to provide the best personalized care to our patients.
Restorative vs Cosmetic Dentistry
Even though cosmetic surgery and restorative surgery rely on the same equipment and materials to treat their patients, the approach is where the differences between the two come to light. In simple terms, if you are in need of treatment due to disease, it is considered restorative. On the other hand, if your end goal revolves solely around facial appearance and aesthetics, it is considered cosmetic dentistry.
Even if the end result of the treatment is improved appearance, it is still considered restorative if the main focus was around restoring damaged or missing teeth. Dental implants, dental bonding, dental crowns, inlays, onlays, and dentures, all fall into this category. Post-op care for a restorative treatment can be quite extensive and must be followed for best results.
Examples of cosmetic procedures include dental cleanings, veneers, bleaching, and Invisalign. Since they are elective and not a medical necessity, they are considered a cosmetic treatment solely used to improve facial appearance. There is little to no post-op care required for cosmetic treatments except for daily maintenance.
After a tooth extraction or loss, dental implants are commonly employed to act as anchors for the replacement tooth. A dental specialist will surgically place the implant into the patient’s jawbone which will later act as the placeholder for replacement teeth. The implants are made in such a way that they mimic the aesthetics and function of natural teeth.
Dentures are another form of restorative treatment that use prosthetic teeth to replace multiple missing teeth. In some cases, advanced dental decay can result in loss of all teeth. Depending on how comfortable the patient is with dental procedures, a dental care provider may recommend custom made dentures as a replacement.
Depending on how many teeth are being replaced, dentures can be categorized into five types: immediate dentures, implant-supported dentures, fixed partial dentures, complete dentures, and removable partial dentures.
Dental bridges are a type of restorative procedure that covers three or more teeth at a time. Although they only replace one or more teeth, they rely on anchoring support from nearby teeth, which is typically more than three. A patient can opt for dental bridges if they have endured extreme dental decay, missing teeth, or injury.
Dental bridges are a more affordable option compared to other restorative procedures like dental implants. The recovery process is much shorter and easier on the patient. They may not look as natural as dental implants, but they are well suited for patients who do not want to go through an invasive surgical procedure.
Fillings are one of the most common among all restorative procedures to treat a cavity. They can be made from one of several different materials including silver amalgam, gold, mercury mixed with silver, tin, porcelain, zinc, and even copper.
When bacterial accumulation in the enamel reaches a certain extent, it can start to endanger the soft pulp inside. In a cavity filling procedure, a dental care provider will remove the damaged part of the tooth and clean the entire area with specialized equipment before filling it with a composite material. This is done to ensure that bacterial interaction around that tooth is eliminated.
Root canals are typically required when a cavity has depreciated the health of a tooth to a large extent and has also caused significant damage to the soft pulp inside. In some cases a root canal can also be used to treat damaged or chipped teeth caused due to an injury. Typically, the reason for a root canal is that the decay has spread across the insides of the tooth and could soon endanger nearby teeth and tissue.
During a root canal procedure, an endodontist will remove any damaged part of the tooth and remove the pulp to clean out the infected area. The cavity is then filled with a composite material so that the tooth is no longer exposed to bacteria. This way a tooth can be saved even after suffering significant damage to the nerve tissue.
Tips for Taking Care of Restorative Dentistry Work
Unless specified otherwise by your dental care provider, continue to brush your teeth regularly as you would. Make sure to floss around your implants, crowns, and bridges everyday. Electronic toothbrushes are quite effective in warding off plaque and taking care of restorative work. Make sure that you are not chewing too hard or eating sticky foods that can easily damage restorative work during the healing period.
If you are interested in learning more about restorative dentistry and what lies in store for you, feel free to visit us at Nancy Shiba, DDS and our staff will be more than happy to assist you. To book an appointment over the phone, give us a call at (669) 306-7669.