A lot of people know what the term “cosmetic dentistry” means. But they may not know what “restorative dentistry” means. What does restorative mean in dentistry?
People often confuse the terms. Cosmetic dentistry is the practice of improving or enhancing the appearance of the teeth. In restorative dentistry, dentists restore teeth and gums to their natural state of function. There are some techniques dentists use that can be both restorative and cosmetic.
Why Is Restorative Dentistry Needed?
Restorative dentistry is frequently referred to as operative dentistry. Dentists restore people’s teeth or gums so their mouths can operate or function normally. Often, a dentist uses restorative dentistry when a person damages his or her teeth or gums. The person could have damaged them in an accident or because of an injury. Or, perhaps, the person had a disease. Many restorative dental procedures happen because of tooth decay or gum disease.
Both tooth decay and gum disease can wreak havoc in a mouth over time. If you do not treat tooth decay, an infection can set in that can damage teeth. Without treatment, infected, damaged teeth will eventually fall out. A dentist can repair teeth that have cavities because of tooth decay. The dentist can also save the tooth if he or she catches the tooth decay early. If it isn’t, restorative practices can repair much of the damage.
Gum disease can also cause teeth to fall out. In gum disease, infection sets in between the teeth and gums. The infection creates pockets here and the infection can live deep within the gums. If you do not treat the gum disease, you will eventually lose teeth because of an infection.
What Is Considered Restorative Dental Work?
There are many procedures that dentists consider restorative. In general, restorative dentistry involves replacing the teeth you have lost. People who have lost a tooth or several teeth because of decay or gum disease can have their teeth replaced. Dental implants can replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire upper and lower set of teeth. There are also crowns and bridgework that can restore the look of the teeth. You can also use full or partial dentures to replace missing teeth. You can consider any dental procedure that’s trying to restore the look of your natural teeth to be restorative.
Minor Restorative Dentistry vs. Full Mouth Restoration
If you have lost one tooth, a single implant can restore the look of your mouth. A dentist will screw an implant into your jawbone. Then, he or she will put a crown over the screw. This gives you a permanent artificial tooth that functions like a natural one. Have you lost more than one tooth on one side or opposite sides of your mouth? You may want to think about bridges or implants. Bridges also work well, especially if you are missing back teeth.
What if you are missing nearly all your teeth in either your upper jaw, lower jaw, or both jaws? You will need a full-mouth restoration. Both dentures and dental implants can restore the look of your teeth, even if you have lost them. Dentures have been the standard for many years. People are now choosing dental implants for their mouths as well. Dental implants have the bonus of permanently attaching to your jawbone, so you don’t have to remove them. This may also help you keep the shape of your face over time.
If you need cosmetic or restorative dental work, contact Dr. Paul Feldman at Suburban Essex Dental. We are in West Orange, N.J., in Essex County. Dr. Paul Feldman has been voted Top Dentist in the NJ Monthly for the past 7 years.