Restorative dentistry involves the diagnosis and management of the oral environment to rehabilitate health, function and aesthetics. Restorative dentistry encompasses all different avenues of dentistry – including general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics and oral surgery.
A candidate for restorative dentistry will visit their general dental practitioner who will formulate a treatment plan to work towards achieving the desired outcome. The health of the teeth, supporting structures and soft tissues of the mouth is fundamental to the restorative process. Conditions such as gum disease, decay and dental abscesses must first be addressed.
If your dentist diagnoses gum disease, they may recommend that you see either a dental hygienist or a periodontist, according to the severity of your condition.
Fillings may be required to rid teeth of decay or restore cracked or broken teeth. Many different types of filling materials are used – including amalgam, composite resin, ceramic (Cerec) and gold. Your dentist will discuss which material is best suited to your particular needs.
If a dental abscess is present the tooth may need root canal treatment or removal. You may be referred to an endodontist for root canal treatment or an oral surgeon for removal of the tooth.
Restoring function is the next stage of the restorative dentistry treatment plan. Any “weak” teeth may require a crown to make the tooth fit for purpose and eliminate the risk of breaking.
Any missing teeth can be replaced with a bridge, implants or a denture. Orthodontic treatment will move any misaligned teeth into a more favourable position.
Finally, restoritive dentistry addresses any aesthetic concerns. It may be as simple as whitening the teeth. This can be done either by your dentist (using Zoom, for example) or at home using a tray system (e.g. Pola White).
Your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers or crowns to achieve the look you are aspiring to.
Restorative dentistry is an interactive management of the oral environment, which will be coordinated by your dentist. Once the treatment plan is completed it is important for you to maintain your regular dental check-ups every 6 to 12 months.