What Is Restorative Dentistry? Your Quick Guide to Dental Restorations

Understanding restorative dentistry

Restore your smile after damage and decay.

Teeth can become damaged for several reasons. Tooth decay may be eating away at your enamel, or your enamel could be experiencing erosion from bruxism, acid reflux, medication, or age. Sometimes something as simple as biting down on an unpopped popcorn kernel is enough to badly chip a tooth.

Thankfully, restorative dental care services can help your damaged tooth become whole again or replace the gaps from tooth loss.

Restorative dentistry is one branch of family dental care.

Family dentistry practices, like Davis Family Dental Care, focus on three areas of dental care:

  1. Preventive Care
  2. Restorative Dentistry
  3. Cosmetic Dentistry

These three categories are interconnected and dentists often combine services within each of these areas to help patients achieve optimal oral health. 

Preventive care focuses on taking a proactive approach to stop tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues from developing before they even have a chance. Seeing your dentist for checkups and cleanings, or opting in for fluoride treatments, are popular types of preventive care.

On the other end of the spectrum is cosmetic dentistry. If you’ve achieved optimal oral health but want to focus on improving the aesthetics of your smile, cosmetic dental care will help. Your dentist can give you a stunning smile makeover using veneers, dental bonding, teeth whitening, and more. 

Restorative dentistry is an important field of dental care that happens after preventive care and before cosmetic dentistry. When your tooth has experienced damage and decay, your dentist can repair the problem using fillings, dental crowns, or completely replace missing teeth with prosthetics.

Restorative dentistry aims to restore your teeth’s function and revive their natural beauty.

Davis Family Dental Care offers five different types of restorative dentistry solutions.

1. Composite Dental Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings were all the rage back in the day, but today’s modern dental fillings are made of composite resin. Composite fillings are durable and long-lasting. Best of all, they blend in with your tooth. A tooth with nicely color-matched composite filling is indistinguishable from the rest of your teeth.

The process of placing a composite dental filling is pretty straightforward. These fillings are often used to treat minor to moderate tooth decay and mend minor chips or cracks. Your tooth will be thoroughly cleaned, decay and weakened enamel removed, and the remaining space filled with the composite material.

With proper care, composite fillings last an average of 7 to 10 years (or more!) before needing to be replaced.

2. Porcelain Dental Crowns

When a tooth is too far gone for a filling, or if decay has reached the inside of a tooth, a porcelain dental crown can save it from extraction. Porcelain dental crowns are often paired with root canal therapy, but they can also be performed on teeth that have suffered from enamel erosion or structural damage.

Placing a dental crown is more involved than a simple filling. After any pre-treatment has been done (i.e., decay removal, root canal), your dentist will prepare the tooth for the crown by removing a small amount of tooth enamel. Removing this thin layer ensures that the crown will fit your tooth perfectly and leave only a normal floss-width gap between the neighboring teeth.

Most porcelain dental crowns will last 10 to 15 years, sometimes even 20! Maintaining great oral hygiene and seeing your dentist every six months will help you get the most life from your crown.

3. Porcelain Dental Bridges

Sometimes a tooth has to be removed to protect your overall oral health. Porcelain dental bridges are an affordable and effective solution for filling the gap left after one to four teeth have been extracted.

As their name suggests, dental bridges literally “bridge” the space with a prosthetic tooth replacement called a pontic. The pontic is supported by porcelain dental crowns placed on the neighboring teeth. Your pontic and the crowns will all be lab-created to ensure they seamlessly blend in with your smile.

Porcelain dental bridges have a typical lifespan of 5 to 7 years or more. It’s important to practice excellent oral hygiene habits and avoid biting down on anything too hard, very crunchy, or overly sticky.

4. Dental Implant Options

Dental implants are an incredible solution for replacing missing teeth as they mimic a natural tooth in look, feel, and function to a level that no other restoration can.

A standard dental implant comprises three pieces – the titanium implant post, an abutment atop the post, and a dental crown. Dental implants can also be used to replace multiple teeth by acting as anchors for specially designed dentures. Implant-supported dentures combine the best of dentures and implants all in one.

Dental implant surgery is invasive and requires a few months of healing for the jawbone to fuse with the implant. Therefore, it’s important to be in good general health without any immune system weaknesses before moving with dental implants.

A dental implant’s posts will last a lifetime, while the dental crown has a typical lifespan of 10 to 15 years or more. 

5. Full and Partial Dentures

If dental implants aren’t an option, traditional dentures are a useful alternative if you have a complete loss of teeth. Partial dentures can also be used as an alternative to dental bridges if you have multiple missing teeth in different areas of your mouth.

Being fitted for full or partial dentures is easy, although it can take a couple of fittings to get the most comfortable prosthetic. Modern denture design really enhances the comfort and stability of these prosthetics, and they look deceptively natural to others when speaking.

Full and partial dentures have a typical lifespan of 7 to 10 years, not including relining appointments. The average denture-wearer will need a relining every two years or so.

Revive your smile at Davis Family Dental Care.

Davis Family Dental Care is your destination for comprehensive and restorative dentistry in Bedford, TX. If you have a painful or damaged tooth that needs to be evaluated, call our office or request a visit online to schedule an appointment.