Poor dental health can greatly impact an individual’s daily life, making chewing and even talking difficult and leading to self-consciousness. Restorative dentistry seeks to improve the function and appearance of damaged teeth as well as to replace missing teeth. There are many different dental treatments which may be classified as restorative. Most common among these are crowns, bridges, implants, and dentures.
Crowns are one of the most basic restorative dentistry treatments. A crown is basically a casing constructed from a natural-looking material like porcelain or ceramic which is secured around a tooth that has been damaged or weakened by an endodontic procedure like a root canal. Crowns are created by making a mold of the damaged tooth. This mold is then used to create a cap which is cemented over the tooth, thus restoring its appearance and structural integrity. In some cases, parts of the damaged tooth must be removed prior to crown application.
Teeth that are missing or severely damaged leave little or no base to which a crown can be bonded. In this case, a restorative dentistry treatment known as a bridge may be used. A bridge is a structure which bonds a false tooth to the natural teeth, thus “bridging” an existing gap in the teeth. Usually a bridge consists of a false tooth joined on each side by a crown which serves to hold the false tooth in place. When the bridge is fitted into the mouth, these crowns are cemented over the teeth adjacent to the gap.
Implants are another restorative dentistry option which can be used to rebuild or restore the teeth. An implant is a screw, usually made from titanium, which is inserted into the jawbone to create an artificial root. Crowns, bridges, and false teeth can then be anchored to this root. While an implant may be a more aggressive treatment than a simple crown or bridge, it provides strong dental structure and can lessen the patient’s susceptibility to gum disease.
Patients with many missing or damaged teeth may benefit from dentures, a non-surgical restorative dentistry treatment. Dentures consist of an arch of artificial teeth set into a gum-colored resin plate which has been sculpted to fit comfortably into the patient’s mouth. These removable plates may replace the top teeth, the bottom teeth, or both. Dentures can greatly improve the wearer’s self-confidence by restoring his ability to chew solid foods and speak clearly.