Oral problems! Who doesn’t have it these days? There are many frequently occurring problems like, decayed, broken or discolored teeth which tend to hamper our appearance and interfere with our daily activities. Restorative dentistry is the answer to all of these oral problems that you’re having.
What is Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry is not a specialized branch recognized by the American Dental Association but a set of procedures that performed by general dentists. As the name suggests, it focuses on restoring the mouth to its functional state. It primarily comprises of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the oral conditions. The procedures in restorative dentistry can range from simple to complex, and the general dentist may refer you to a specialized doctor in methods he doesn’t feel fit to perform.
Dr. Shadi Heidarian, a Palo Alto Dentist, suggests that you should expect the following on your visit to the dentist’s office:
Diagnosis: It is the first and a vital part of dentistry. It mainly involves procedures like:
- Clinic evaluation
- Palpation, percussion, and probing
- Radiographic procedures
- Electrical and Thermal tests for vitality
After the diagnostic procedures, the dentist will discuss all of the treatment possibilities with you. Some of these are:
- Dental fillings: These are mostly advised in cases of tooth decay. Before doing it, the tooth surface is prepared. It is reduced to eliminate all the decayed and unsupported enamel and then irrigated to obtain a clean working field. Many materials are used for restoration. Composite resins are compounds that are either ceramic or plastic. It is combined with glass ionomer cement.
They are mostly preferred by patients these days as they are tooth-colored and give a natural appearance. Amalgams are silver colored restorative material, that is rarely used these days. They are not tooth colored and demand a lot of tooth preparation. It comprises mercury which is hazardous to health and one of the reasons it is becoming obsolete. Other materials used by the dentists are, porcelain and gold.
- Veneers: Veneering or composite veneering is another part of restorative dentistry that is mainly done on the front upper and lower teeth. It is a treatment that is performed on broken, chipped or cracked teeth. Veneers are materials that are applied as a thin layer over the surface of the teeth.
- Crowns: Crowns are a kind of restoration that restores the entire crown of the anatomic tooth. They are made to resemble the crown of the original tooth and to restore the functions it served. They are used in cases where it is essential to replace the crown like in extensively damaged or cracked tooth and after the root canal treatment.
- Bridges: They are a form of prosthetic replacement. Bridges are constructed for one or more teeth. The main difference between a crown and a bridge is that the former is cemented over the tooth whose anatomical head it replaces whereas the latter is fastened to the teeth surrounding the missing tooth. Porcelain and ceramic bridges are preferable due to their aesthetic look.
- Inlays and Onlays: Dental inlays and on-lays are used in cases where the tooth is cracked, decayed or fractured to an extent where it cannot be restored but not enough to require a crown placement.
- Implants: Implants are fixed prosthesis made of titanium and placed as a replacement of missing tooth. They are permanent restorations and are attached to your jaw bone using a screw and the process called ‘osseointegration.’ They are a better form of treatment for missing teeth as they are not removable and hassle-free.
- Root canal treatment: They are also known as endodontic treatment, and they restore the function of the teeth with extensive decay that involves the pulp. Its procedure includes the removal of the entire pulp and filling of the root canal with suitable material and finally placing a crown over it.
Difference between Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry specializes in restoring the beauty of the smile. Cosmetic dentistry primarily focuses on the appearance rather than the technicality and science. Cosmetic dentistry like restorative dentistry is not a recognized branch of dentistry. However, to be an excellent cosmetic dentist it takes years of experience and training.
Both of these fields involve similar procedures like implants, crowns, etc. Though, the extent of the methods is the main difference here. The restorative dentists focus on just the restoration of the function of the tooth and having a healthy dentition, whereas, the cosmetic dentist goes beyond the corrective work to ensure that their work also brings a pleasing appearance along with the treatment.
So, If you want to get rid of your dental problems, the best solution is restorative dentistry, and if a beautiful smile is what you aim for, a cosmetic dentist is who you need to visit.