Tooth restoration is a dentistry term that describes restoring or replacing a missing or damaged tooth. When a restoration is done directly within the patient’s mouth, it is referred to as a Direct Restoration. A dental filling is a good example of this.
When the restored tooth or teeth are assembled outside the patient’s mouth and then placed within, the procedure is referred to as Indirect Restoration. Both types of restoration are very popular and dentists choose the method of restoration based on patient’s needs. Let’s take a look at both direct and indirect restorations and other tooth restoration options.
Direct Tooth Restoration
Direct tooth restoration can be done in a single office visit. It involves placing a filling in a decayed or worn out tooth cavity.
- Fillings: Dental fillings are used to replace missing filling or to fill in cavities within one’s teeth.The tooth restoration involves placing a filling into the tooth cavity that’s been readied by the dentist to accept the filling. Your dentist will choose the correct type of filling to be used based on the location of the filling. For example, teeth that take on the heavy pressure of chewing will get a strong cement filling, while teeth that are not subjected to heavy pressure from chewing will get glass or polymer-based filling.A dental filling is the simplest and most conservative method of tooth restoration. The following types of fillings are available:
- Silver Amalgam: Silver Amalgam is a mix of tin, zinc, copper, mercury and silver. Mercury makes up for nearly 50% of the mixture. This is a low cost solution, is durable and strong. Though not pretty, these fillings can last for 15 years or more. It’s easy to place these fillings within the tooth, without fear of blood or saliva contamination.However, the filling tends to expand and contract owing to the mercury. This can cause the tooth to crack, or cavities to develop next to the filling, causing further decay
- Composite Fillings:These are tooth-coloured and are made of a plastic or resin material which costs more than the silver amalgam. They need to be replaced every five years or so.
Customized tooth replacements such as inlays, crowns, dentures, and others form the gamut of indirect restoration. All of these must be prepared in a lab after taking the patient’s specific oral measurements
- Crowns: When you undergo a root canal treatment, your dentist will recommend capping the tooth with a dental crown. Dental crowns are recommended for cosmetic reasons as well. Crowns can be made of gold, resin, cement and other materials. They are the part that’s immediately visible when a person opens their mouth, and therefore are designed to be aesthetically pleasing. A crown might need to be placed after root canal, or over a cracked tooth, or a tooth that has suffered excessive decay and can no longer take the pressure of chewing. Patients who grind their teeth at night tend to wear out their teeth, and dental crowns are at times recommended for them as well.
- Dental Bridges: Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth that would otherwise affect the patient’s mouth adversely. If one or more teeth are missing, a gap is caused. A dental bridge uses the support of adjacent teeth to provide the grip required for a tooth implant. The dentist and the lab technologist each play a role in designing the dental bridge. Two kinds of dental bridges are available – traditional bridges and cantilever bridges. Traditional bridges contain fake teeth that are held in place by dental crowns called abutments. These are cemented into the teeth that are next to the missing tooth or teeth.
- Dental Implants: A dental implant can replace a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. If multiple teeth are missing, multiple implants are used to support a dental bridge. Implants can also be used to enhance denture retention, which lessens gum irritation in patients. Implants can be placed individually and do not need adjacent teeth to be prepared for bridgework.
- Dentures: For those who are missing all of their teeth, complete dentures are prepared. Dentures are also suited for those who’ve lost most of their teeth. Dentures solve the problem of chewing, and also give definition to the jawline, preventing sagging of the jaw, which gives the entire face a sagging appearance.
- Full Mouth Reconstruction:The terms – Full Mouth Reconstruction, Full Mouth Restorationand Full Mouth Rehabilitation are interchangeable terms. These terms describe the simultaneous restoration of the teeth in both the jaws – upper and lower. Full mouth restorations require several office visits and the treatments will be phased over a number of weeks or months.
- Inlays and Onlays: Dentists use inlays and onlays as an alternative to full coverage dental crowns. These can also be used in place of dental fillings, as a treatment for treat tooth decay.When old fillings need to be replaced or removed, a dental inlay is used. A dental inlay is similar to a filling – it fits neatly inside the top edges of the decayed tooth. A dental onlay has a more extensive application. It can be used as a cover over the top edges of a decayed tooth, after repairing the filling.
The hardest substance in the body is tooth enamel. However, bacteria can eat into tooth enamel and cause cavities, broken teeth and leave behind uneven ridges. With proper brushing and flossing and regular cleanings at the dentists, you can prevent dental problems totally. However, sometimes even with the best care, cavities and infections do occur. Missing, cracked or chipped teeth occur due to accidents or old age as well. These things affect how you see yourself, and tend to dent your confidence. Restorative dentistry can put a confident smile on your face and the joy back in your step with fillings, veneers, crowns, implants, dentures, inlays and onlays, dental bridges and so on.
Dr. Michael Chaben, DDS is the dentist at Platinum Dental Care, a state of art dental care facility available in Livonia, Michigan that offers you and your family the dental care family you deserve.