At McDonald Family Dentistry, we do our best to help people avoid dental problems before they begin. However, we understand that for some of our patients, the damage has already been done, and we are here to help.
If you have one or more broken, decayed, infected or otherwise problematic teeth, you probably feel discouraged. Maybe it is hard to smile confidently, chew comfortably or enunciate clearly. You might experience terrible toothaches or sensitivity to heat and cold due to untreated dental problems.
Under the care of Dr. Chris McDonald, you can eat, speak and smile again without pain or embarrassment. With restorative dentistry, damaged, decayed or missing teeth will no longer interfere with your health, appearance and confidence.
What Are the Benefits of Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry is a group of treatments and services that rehabilitate damaged or decayed teeth, returning them to normal form and function. The process of replacing missing teeth is also considered a restorative dentistry treatment.
Restorative dentistry procedures improve more than your appearance. With a full set of healthy teeth, you can bite and chew foods properly, getting the nutrients you need.
Restorative dentistry is also helpful in the pursuit of oral health, as strong, fully intact teeth are easier to brush and floss.
Repairing a single damaged or decayed tooth has positive benefits for all of the teeth in your mouth. It helps to protect the integrity and strength of the surrounding teeth and prevents tooth movement or displacement. A full set of healthy teeth also supports a proper bite and avoids putting uneven pressure on your jaw joint.
Restorative Dentistry Treatment Options
Crowns are tooth-shaped restorations that cover teeth affected by damage or decay and protect them from further damage. To place a crown, Dr. McDonald removes the damaged or decayed tooth structure and covers the remaining tooth with the dental crown. Crowns are made from several different materials, with tooth-colored crowns offering the most natural look.
Crowns have other purposes. For instance, they are commonly used to reinforce teeth after root canal therapy and to cover dental implant posts. Crowns also anchor another type of dental restoration: bridges.
Fillings repair teeth with cavities (i.e., tiny pits or holes caused by decay). After the decayed tooth structure is removed, the filling is placed in the leftover space. Dr. McDonald uses tooth-colored fillings whenever appropriate; these fillings mimic the appearance of natural tooth structure for a flawless result.
Dental bridges are used to replace teeth that have fallen out or been extracted. The restorations literally bridge the gap between the remaining two teeth. A traditional bridge is comprised of an artificial tooth held in place with two crowns; the crowns cover the teeth on either side of the gap and the artificial tooth fits into the empty space.
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. An implant has three parts: an artificial tooth (usually a crown), a titanium post or screw and a connector piece called an abutment. The post or screw is surgically anchored in the jawbone to bond with the natural bone. This creates a strong foundation to support the artificial tooth.
Implants can also support other restorations like bridges and partial or complete dentures.
Once placed, implants are considered permanent. The act of chewing on the implant post helps to keep the jawbone strong and intact.
Frequently Asked Questions About Restorative Dentistry
What is the difference between cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is performed to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile. Restorative dentistry is performed to improve the form and function of damaged, decayed or missing teeth. Cosmetic dentistry is usually something you want, whereas restorative dentistry is something you need.
Does it hurt to get a crown or bridge?
Dr. McDonald takes precautionary measures to prevent you from feeling any pain during treatment. The affected area of your mouth will be completely numbed so you don’t feel anything as he works on your teeth.
Why do I need to fix a tooth that has cracked?
Teeth can crack due to a traumatic injury, biting down on a hard item like an ice cube or excessive wear and tear. Cracks must be repaired before they get too deep and affect the tissue inside the tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels, or before they split the tooth into pieces. Cracks are usually repaired with the placement of a dental crown.
What is the better tooth replacement: a bridge or dental implant?
Each option has advantages and drawbacks. Bridges are usually quicker and easier to place, but they do not last as long as dental implants. And while bridges are more cost-effective, they do not offer the same type of support as dental implants do, because they are not anchored in the jawbone.
After evaluating you and learning more about your specific needs and goals, Dr. McDonald can help you find the most suitable tooth replacement for your circumstances.
Why should I save a damaged or decayed tooth? Why can’t I just have it pulled?
It is always best to retain natural teeth whenever possible. If Dr. McDonald can repair or rehabilitate a weak or compromised tooth, he will usually recommend doing that instead of pulling the tooth. However, there are times when extracting a tooth is the most appropriate option. In that case, Dr. McDonald can recommend replacement options.
Why do I need to replace a missing tooth?
Missing teeth are not just an eyesore. They can also lead to problems affecting your oral health:
- The adjacent teeth may drift or tilt toward the gap left by the missing tooth
- They can cause problems with your bite or put uneven pressure on your jawbone.
- The jawbone underneath the missing tooth can start to deteriorate
- The adjacent teeth and gums may be difficult to keep clean
Are restorative dentistry treatments covered by insurance?
Many restorations like fillings and crowns are covered under most dental insurance plans. However, you should explore the specifics of your plan to verify what is and is not covered.
Contact McDonald Family Dentistry
For more information about restorative dentistry, Dr. McDonald invites you to schedule a consultation at our practice. Call or email us today to request an appointment.