“Restorative care” is the term dentists’ use when they are fixing decayed or damaged teeth. The goal of restorative care is to bring patients’ smiles back to what they used to look like before the teeth were impaired. As such, the process can include a number of different procedures, such as:
- Crowns (sometimes called “caps”)
- Dental Implants
Each of these procedures restores problematic teeth, hence the name. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the questions patients ask when they come to our Montreal dental clinic.
Why Do People Need Restorative Care?
Every situation is different. Some patients have severe decay, which has eaten away at the enamel on their teeth. In these cases, fillings or crowns can often restore the decayed teeth to their original luster. In severe cases, a dental implant might be needed if the tooth is beyond surface repair.
We also see patients who have had accidents of many kinds—from car accidents or trips down stairs to encounters with baseballs that contacted their mouths when they weren’t expecting it. When teeth come into contact with trauma, they can chip or crack. Best-case scenario, teeth in this situation will need cosmetic restorative care to patch up the cracks or chips. In some cases, the damage can expose the underlying pulp and roots, which can cause pain, sensitivity, and discomfort. In those situations, a dentist might need to perform a root canal if the pain is too intense and can’t be alleviated through other restorative means.
Restorative care aids with the following:
- Filling empty spaces so teeth stay aligned
- Keeping bad bacteria out of chips, cracks, and decayed spaces
- Preventing further decay
- Enabling good oral health habits by removing and replacing teeth that are causing plaque and tartar buildup
- Enhancing patients’ self-esteem by giving them back the smiling they’ve been missing
What Types of Restorative Care Are There?
Fillings are the most common form of restorative care and can be performed on patients of nearly any age. Fillings can be silver or made of a composite that’s off-white and looks similar to a natural tooth.
If you need a filling, your dentist will clean out the decayed part of the tooth, ensuring only the healthy enamel remains. Once the tooth is cleaned out, she’ll apply the filling material and wait for it to dry. She might use a heating light to facilitate the drying process. Once that’s finished, she’ll buffer the top to ensure your bite is correct and that the new material doesn’t rub against your other teeth in a detrimental manner.
Crowns are the next step above fillings. They’re very common and often needed if tooth decay has gotten too severe for fillings to be effective. They’re also ideal for people who have a tooth that’s been badly damaged and cannot be repaired using composite materials that would otherwise fills cracks and chips.
If you need a crown, the process is similar to that of a filling at the onset. Your dentist will clean away the decayed or damaged part of the tooth using a drill. Usually, the remaining part of the tooth looks like a small post, which is what the crown will be placed on top of when it’s ready.
The crown itself is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over the remaining post of the natural tooth. It’s made in a lab, or sometimes by way of a 3D printer, after an impression of your mouth is taken. This enables your dentist or the lab technicians to create a cap that’s perfectly suited for your unique mouth.
Crowns sometimes require multiple visits. If your crown will be made in an outside lab, your dentist will put a temporary crown on your teeth and ask you to come back in a few days to a couple of weeks.
Bridges are used when patients have multiple teeth missing. The bridge replaces the gap, putting a crown at the end of each place where there aren’t teeth. Bridges are important because, if you have several missing teeth, the remaining teeth can begin to shift their location inside your mouth. This can cause problems with eating, drinking, and speaking.
Additionally, if you have missing teeth, the gaps can actually cause your facial structure to change, as your jawbone and the surrounding tendons aren’t being supported properly.
Once they’ve been put into place, bridges function like your natural teeth.
4. Dental Implants
Dental implants are far more common than many people realize. They exist when the natural tooth is no longer able to sustain itself in the gums, whether because of injury of severe decay.
A dental implant replaces a missing tooth. Your dentist will put a metal anchor into your gums, which serves as a holding element just like your natural tooth roots do. Once the anchor is in place, a dental crown will be placed on top of it. This crown, just like the crowns that are placed on top of remnants of natural teeth, will look and feel like your own tooth.
How Do You Know if You Need Restorative Care
Only your dentist can tell you for sure. It’s important to keep up with regular dental visits and see your dentist every six months so your oral healthcare providers can remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria in a preventative approach.
However, if it’s been a long time since you’ve seen the dentist, don’t be afraid to make an appointment at our Montreal dental office. Our team is friendly and welcoming, and our hygienists and dentists are here to ensure you have optimal oral health.
If you’re experiencing pain, have endured a traumatic injury to your facial area, or if it’s simply been a while since you’ve been in a dentist’s chair, we’ll be happy to assess your situation and guide you toward a happy, healthy smile.
If you’re looking for a Lachine-area dentist who can perform restorative care procedures and give you back the smile you’ve been missing, you’ve come to the right place. Our team at Centre Dentaire is accepting new patients, and we can’t to meet you. Schedule your initial consultation with us today!
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