Restoring a damaged or missing tooth not only helps revive your smile, it improves your oral health, too. If a tooth is loose, chipped, broken or painful, you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier a damaged tooth is treated the easier it is to restore.
Your dentist will be able to perform any necessary dental restoration work. After assessing the damaged tooth or teeth, they can recommend a treatment course to help restore your smile and allow you to comfortably chew once more.
Restorative dentistry aims to restore functionality as well as improve your oral health. Whereas cosmetic dentistry focuses on aesthetics alone, restorative dentistry can improve how your teeth function and how they look.
A restored tooth allows you to chew and bite again where once it may have been difficult or painful. A restored tooth will be made to look like the surrounding teeth, providing a natural appearance to your smile. Being confident once more in your smile can help boost overall self-confidence.
Several oral health issues can be addressed with dental restoration. These include:
- Broken or fractured tooth
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- Damage caused by tooth decay
- Missing teeth
Oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Restorative dental work can help prevent a cavity or damaged tooth from worsening to the point where it can become infected and even require extraction.
A missing tooth could also be the result of an impact injury. Whatever the reason, if you have a tooth gap, it is important to replace a missing tooth. This helps prevent a loss of jawbone, a process which can result in facial muscles starting to sag.
Benefits of Restorative Dentistry
Restorative dental work — to repair or replace damaged or missing teeth — offers the best chance for improved long-term oral health. This is the key benefit of restorative dentistry, and there are treatment options to address different issues for all ages.
As well as restoring your immediate oral health, further benefits of restorative dental work include:
Types of Restorative Procedures
Your dentist will evaluate any issues with your oral health before recommending the relevant restorative treatment. There are different options to suit the degree of damage to a tooth or row of teeth. We will begin by looking at the most common restorative option.
1. Dental Fillings
Most people have had a tooth restored at some point with a filling. Dental fillings are used to repair smaller cavities resulting from decay and the erosion of the tooth enamel.
An amalgam filling, which can be tooth-coloured, is used to fill the cavity once the decayed part of the tooth has been removed. A filling helps prevent further decay of the tooth, as well as reduce the risk of further problems arising.
2. Inlays and Onlays
A larger cavity may require an inlay or onlay to restore the tooth. They act like fillings but are custom-made before being bonded to the tooth in need of repair.
Inlays are smaller as they are made to fit within the cusp of a tooth and cover the chewing surface. The larger onlay covers at least one cusp and can extend down the side of a tooth.
Crowns are also used to repair large cavities, as well as to restore and enhance the appearance of a fractured tooth. The crown is a cap that is shaped to cover the tooth.
Some of the tooth enamel may need to be shaved off first before the crown can be placed. This is to ensure a snug fit, fully encasing the repaired tooth.
4. Dental Bridges
A dental bridge provides an artificial tooth to replace a missing tooth or a row of missing teeth. The natural tooth at each end of the gap is used as a support for the bridge.
A tooth acting as the support may need a little enamel removed to aid the fitting of a bridge. The bridge is a fixed restoration and is not removable like dentures.
5. Root Canal
Tooth decay can cause an infection in the inner pulp of a tooth. This can threaten the tooth. However, root canal treatment can save an infected tooth from extraction.
The procedure removes all infected areas from the inner pulp before filling in the tooth. A filling may be enough to seal the tooth and protect it from the risk of further infection, although a crown may also be placed for additional strength.
6. Dental Implants
A dental implant is a post usually made from titanium that is screwed into the jawbone to act as a tooth root. This helps support the surrounding bone and prevents bone loss.
Dental implants are seen as the gold standard in restorative dentistry. Once fitted they can support a crown, bridge, or dentures to replace a missing tooth.
Partial or full dentures are one of the more traditional dental restorative measures. They are removable and are fitted on the top of the gums to replace missing teeth.
Using dental implants to attach dentures rather than setting them on the gums can offer a more stable feel to the dentures.
Dental restoration work helps restore function as well as improve overall oral health. If you have a cavity or fractured or missing tooth, consult with your dentist who will recommend the most suitable dental restoration.