In Dental terms, restorative services refer to specialized procedures that help maintain, retain and maximize a healthy and fully functioning oral cavity. These work as preventive as well as corrective measures that help regain and cure any previous damages in the form of decays, cavities, missing, crooked, misaligned, crowded teeth, or any other accidental injuries. These procedures are also pursued if the patient is unsatisfied with the appearance of their teeth.
Restorative dental services include procedures like cavity fillings, dental implants, bridges, dentures, inlays, and onlays and crowns (caps).
Dental fillings are the most widely practiced restorative procedures. These are done to treat a cavity by removing the decayed portion and filling it. They also prevent any further damage due to the spreading of the decay. The durability of a dental filling depends on the type used:
Crowns are custom-made tooth-shaped caps placed over damaged, decayed, or cracked teeth to restore their proper size, shape, appearance, and strength. They are majorly used to protect treated teeth after root canal or other major procedures. Crowns are also made with different materials that determine their durability. Depending on the type and usage, these may last from 5-15 years.
Bridges are used to ‘bridge’ the gap between two teeth or to compensate for a missing tooth. A dental bridge is a false tooth placed inside the oral cavity where a tooth is missing. Crowns on the adjacent teeth hold this bridge together to recover the gap in between, regain normal chewing, and a smile that is not crooked. These are also made of varying materials, including gold. However, porcelain bridges are widely used because of their cost-effectiveness as well as teeth enamel-like color.
A Veneer is a thin, semi-transparent porcelain material that is placed over a tooth to enhance its appearance. This restorative procedure is pursued in instances when a tooth is broken, chipped, discolored, crooked, or misshapen. Instead of complex and expensive procedures like braces, veneers prove to be effective in enhancing smiles.
A dental implant is another alternative to a missing tooth. It is a metal screw placed into the jaw that replaces the root of an absent tooth. It is then covered with a tooth colored crown and does not require fixtures on adjacent teeth to hold it together. Implants are the preferred choice as they preserve the jaw structure by preventing misshaped facial features.
Composite bonding is a modern and useful technique to restore chipped or broken teeth to elevate tooth structure or to aesthetically enhance the look of a patient’s smile. The procedure involves a composite material that is chemically bonded to an existing tooth. In composite bonding, little to no intact teeth are removed.
Dentures are an effective way to restore a healthy smile if the patient has damaged gums, broken teeth, or speaking difficulties. It is in the form of a removable plate that holds artificial teeth to make chewing and eating more comfortable.
Root Canals are undertaken when a tooth becomes decayed to an extent that a dental filling would not suffice as a long term solution. In a root canal procedure, cleaning of the affected tooth is done to the very root to prevent further spreading of the decay and painful toothaches. A root canal is then followed by an onlay, inlay, and a dental crown, respectively.