I am currently undergoing restorative dentistry before I have braces put on the top and bottom.
I have a long road ahead which will include and upper and lower jaw surgery. I will write about it in a separate post.
What is Restorative Dentistry?
This is a specialized aspect of dentistry that is focused on helping patients achieve complete sets of fully functional teeth.
This is the goal of any restorative dental procedure. As part of the process, it diagnoses, prevents and treats oral diseases.
Endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics all come under this category.
Restorative dental procedures are recognized as a branch of dentistry as shown here, and are however not to be confused with cosmetic procedures.
They are similar but have different objectives. We will quickly look at the difference between the two.
Difference between Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry.
The main difference between this two is their objective. The objective of any restorative procedure is to achieve a fully functional set of teeth.
It is not necessarily concerned with the aesthetics of the set of teeth as long as they are complete and fully functional.
Cosmetic procedures on the other hand are focused on improving the look of the finished work. Like they love to say, the procedures aim to give you the “best smile” possible.
Looked at critically, it will appear that cosmetic procedures take the process one step further than restorative work.
To achieve the perfect cosmetic work, proper restorative work must first have been done.
This therefore suggests that cosmetic work needs a higher level of expertise.
Note however that cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized branch of the dental profession.
It is simply seen as a part of the restorative dental work.
You may find this discussion about the difference between this two interesting: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-restorative-dentistry-and-cosmetic-dentistry.
Examples of Restorative Treatments
Some examples of restorative treatments include: composite filling, gum reshaping, dentures, dental crowns and bridges.
These are tooth colored fillings that can be used to repair different problems with a tooth.
These include decay, fracture, cracks or other types of damage. To restore such a tooth, the affected portion is removed, and the space created is filled with the composite filling which will be the exact color of the teeth, ensuring a very natural look.
This type of restorative treatment is perfect for damaged front teeth as they will blend naturally with the rest of the teeth, making the restorative work practically invisible.
This treatment is more like a cosmetic procedure. It is used for treating people with excessive gum tissues. This condition makes the teeth look unhealthy and also affects the self-confidence of the patient.
The excess gum tissues are removed, and the teeth and smile become healthier looking and more pleasing to the eye.
This will of course also boost the patient’s confidence.
These are prosthetic replacements for missing teeth. It has been in use for very long, but major advances have been made over the years.
Usually, Dentures rest on the gum and some mild adhesive may be used to hold them in place. However, it is now possible to use them in conjunction with implants for a more solid support.
Dentures can be used to replace a few missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw as well as an entire set of teeth.
Dental Crown and Bridges
If a person has a missing or damaged tooth, this treatment can be used to restore the tooth.
It involves the use of prosthetics, custom-made to look like a regular tooth.
As the name implies, it is used as a cap over the tooth being treated.
It can cover a missing tooth space, or a gap between the teeth. This has both a cosmetic and functional effect.
It makes your teeth and smile look a lot better and it also helps you bite and chew in a more balanced.
Who Needs Restorative Dentistry
From everything we have looked at up till this point, we should be able to tell some classes of patients that may require restorative dental work.
For the purpose of refreshing our memories, we will list a couple of situations that may require this type of dental attention.
Persons with any of the following dental conditions may require restorative work:
• Tooth decay
• Broken or chipped tooth
• Missing tooth
• Gap in the tooth
• Excessive gum tissue
• Discolored teeth
• Severe tooth ache
The list above is by no means exhaustive. However, it is always safer to go to your dentist if you notice any problems with your teeth.
It will be up to them to make necessary recommendations. All top dentists should be able to handle many of the cases listed above or at least refer you to where you can get them done.
We described restorative dentistry as different from cosmetic dentistry. But like a retired dentist said, no patient is likely going to be thrilled with any dental work that does not consider aesthetics when there are procedures that make it possible to achieve a functional and yet cosmetically pleasing dental work.
It is almost a given that everyone expects their dental work to be visually pleasing, so every dental health professional must consider aesthetics when carrying out any restorative work.
It is unlikely that any dentist of repute will perform a restorative work that does not have cosmetic value. Take your time to find a professional who can deliver an aesthetically pleasing restorative work.