What is restorative dentistry?
Restorative dentistry, in a nutshell, is about restoring teeth, which have been damaged to their former glory, involving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of oral diseases. Restorative dentistry uses sophisticated technology and techniques to restore the health and appearance of your smile. This type of intervention may be needed due to problems such as external injuries or traumas, natural defects, excessive wear or issues caused by lack of oral hygiene.
Restorations are designed to look and feel natural and function like your own teeth, due to technological advancements in this field. Restorative techniques aim to restore a tooth’s structural integrity while improving the function and aesthetics of your mouth.
Types of restorative dental treatments
Restorative procedures commonly include the following treatments.
Dental crown are specially fitted caps used to fully cover teeth which are damaged, cracked, chipped or otherwise beyond repair. They provide protection and support to the damaged tooth, thus increasing its longevity Crowns also work to improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment. They can be matched to the colour of your existing teeth so that they are not noticeable. Your dentist may suggest a crown to:
- Restore a broken or fractured tooth
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Replace a large filling
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a tooth following root canal treatment
- Hide a misshapen or discoloured tooth
- Attach a bridge
Before a crown can be fitted to your tooth, the tooth must be reduced in size so that the crown will fit snugly. Your dentist will then take an impression of the tooth or teeth, which will be sent to a dental lab so that an exact crown can be created, and then colour-matched to your teeth (if porcelain is being used). This crown is then cemented over your tooth.
Crowns are a strong and durable solution and can often last a lifetime. However, a crown can sometimes become loose or fall out. The most important steps you can take to ensure your crown’s longevity are brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Make sure you visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning. Chewing hard objects or foods should also be avoided.
Dental bridges can be used to span the gaps left by missing teeth, and are custom-made to fill the empty space. Remaining teeth surrounding the gap are used as anchors for the bridge. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can also be matched to the colour of your existing teeth so that your dental bridge fits well with the rest of your smile.
Dental bridges are highly durable and can often last a lifetime. However, a bridge can lose its support and become loose or fall out if the teeth holding it in place become damaged or decayed. To ensure your bridge’s longevity, good oral hygiene is a must. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily will help, as will seeing your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning. Chewing hard objects or foods should also be avoided.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth, which is used to replace a missing one. It consists of a post made of titanium, which is surgically inserted into the gum at the site of the missing tooth, and an artificial tooth, which is attached to the post. Dental implants are extremely durable and long-lasting and are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. Although more expensive they have the highest success rate of any dental treatment.
The process undertaken for dental implants will depend on the type of implant and the number of replacement teeth that you require.
If the damaged tooth is still in your mouth, it will first need to be removed by tooth extraction surgery; alternatively, if the tooth has already been removed, the gum is prepared to allow the bone to be drilled so that the post can be inserted. The implant post is placed in your jawbone and covered for between three to nine months while the bones fuse to the implant. Once this has successfully occurred, a second operation to uncover the top of the implant may be necessary; and then your dentist will construct your crown or bridge and attach it to the post.
Full or partial dentures are fully removable replacements for missing teeth. Made from acrylic resin, with porcelain or metal for structural support, dentures have a very natural appearance and are quite comfortable to wear once your mouth adapts to the change. They are custom made by a dentist or dental prosthetist to precisely fit your mouth, allowing you to eat, speak and smile with confidence.
A partial denture replaces one lost tooth or a group of teeth on the upper or lower jaw. Full dentures completely replace either the upper or lower teeth, or both.
Once it has been established that you need dentures, your dentist will explain the steps to you so you know what to expect. You may need to have some teeth removed to allow for the dentures to fit. A mould of your mouth will be taken so that fully-fitted dentures can be produced for you, and then your dentures are fitted by your dentist and you will be given instructions on how to care for them.
Having dentures fitted properly may take four or five appointments with your dentist over a period of three to six weeks, although this does vary from person to person.
CEREC restorative procedures combine 3D imaging, CAD/CAM technology and a computer-aided milling process to decrease the waiting time for restorations to be created at a dental lab. These procedures – including inlays, onlays, veneers and crowns – can now be performed in a single appointment right at your dentist’s practice, as your dentist can take a digital impression of your tooth and create the restoration on the spot. They then only need to be fitted and your procedure can be done quickly and with no fuss.
Common misconceptions about restorative dental procedures
Dental implants are painful
Contrary to popular belief, dental implants are typically not painful and the process is often simple and a lot less complicated than patients think. You may have some initial bruising and swelling after the anaesthetic, but this will not last long.
Dental implants are too expensive
While the expense of implants often puts many people off the idea of considering them, when you consider the fact that implants can last forever, they are actually quite a cost- effective solution to severe dental problems which will continue to plague patients over a long time if left untreated.
Dentures are uncomfortable
Dentures may certainly have caused discomfort in the past, but with the advancements in modern dental technology, modern dentures are far superior in terms of comfort and fit, and most people adapt to them relatively quickly.
People will notice that I have false teeth
Actually, they probably won’t notice anything at all. Restorations are designed to both look and feel very natural and can be custom-made to blend in with the colour and shape of your existing teeth so that no-one will suspect a thing. Don’t let the fear of what people will think stop you from improving your oral health – unless you tell them, it will be your secret.
Food and drinks can stain dental crowns
Many people believe that crowns will become stained and discoloured over time, the way your teeth do. However, because they are made of stronger materials such as porcelain, which has an impervious glaze, they cannot become stained like teeth can and will maintain their appearance.
I will need to have invasive surgery
The process of getting dental implants is a very small surgery that can be successfully undertaken with the use of anaesthetics or sedation, and does not involve a long and painful recovery process.
The difference between restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry
Although cosmetic and restorative dentistry procedures often overlap each other, their purpose and focus is different. Restorative dentistry fixes structural problems of your teeth such as badly damaged, decayed or missing teeth, using devices such as crowns, bridges on-lays, inlays and dental implants to restore the proper function of your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry, on the other hand, is concerned with enhancing your smile and the general appearance of your teeth. Both however, work to boost your overall confidence and appearance; and Lentini Dental can provide you with a great outcome whatever your reason for seeking treatment.
Why choose Lentini Dental?
Total Care Plan
Advanced Restorative Services are not something that every cosmetic dentist offers. By providing advanced restorative services all from one place, Lentini Dental provides an attractive alternative.
For more complex dental cases requiring reconstruction or rehabilitation of a broken-down dentition, Lentini Dental can plan and complete these cases to individual requirements and budgets. We can minimise the need to visit multiple practices by having the facilities all at one address. CEREC Cad Cam technology enables us to perform ceramic restoration services in single appointments, minimising the number of visits.
Advanced restorative cases may require a combination of implants, crowns and bridgework. These treatment combinations are typically used in cases with multiple broken down or very heavily filled teeth. The alignment of the bite may be uneven and not aesthetic. We have the ability to diagnose, plan and treat these complex cases.
For advanced restorative services, Lentini Dental is an experienced treatment centre.
CEREC (Cad Cam) Dentistry
In 2003, Dr Lentini commenced using CEREC (Cad Cam) dentistry for all ceramic restoration services, including fillings, inlays, on-lays and crowns. CEREC Restoration services are a digital way of creating restorations more precisely instead of the traditional method in which these would normally be hand-made by a laboratory technician after taking rubber moulds. Ceramic restoration services provide Lentini Dental patients with high quality aesthetic tooth-coloured inlays, crowns and veneers in a single appointment. Because ceramic is such a strong, resilient material, it is a preferred choice for cosmetic restorations among dentists.
Advanced Dental Implant Surgery
Having completed additional training in Lisbon, Portugal, Dr Lentini’s Dental Implant Centre uses Nobel Biocare implants and is featured as a recognised practitioner.
Dr Lentini’s Dental Implant Centre is also certified by the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry and has broad experience in treating complex cases with bone grafting and implants. Finally, all stages of dental implant surgery, from the placement of the titanium dental implants to the insertion of the implant-supported replacement tooth or teeth, are performed by Dr Michael Lentini.
Results will vary. All invasive procedures carry risks. You should seek a second opinion prior to treatment.
Restorative Dentistry Case Study
Nothing beats seeing before and after photos of patients who’ve received restorative dentistry treatments to help you decide if this is something that can work for you – you can view our gallery of happy customers here.