Unless you’re one of the lucky 10% of adults who’ve never had a cavity, you’re probably well-acquainted with your dentist filling one of yours. It’s seemingly a simple fix to plug the cavity with a filling, but to us, it’s so much more. At Fox Point Dental, we do everything we possibly can to restore your teeth to their natural state for as long as possible. Here we look at the differences between major restorative dental services and basic restorative dental services in Lakewood, CO, and when you might need each one.
What Is Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry refers to any treatment that helps restore a tooth to its original condition (or as close as possible to it). Most Lakewood, CO dentists offer three levels of restorative dental care, including:
- Preventative and diagnostic dental care
- Basic restorative dental care
- Major restorative dental care
The level of restorative dentistry depends on a variety of factors, but primarily on the severity of the tooth decay. For example, if you have a cavity, a basic restorative dental care repair such as a filling should help. Or, if the root of your tooth is in jeopardy, a root canal may be in order. Your Lakewood dentist will determine which treatment is best for your situation.
Preventative and Diagnostic Dental Care
Typically, dentists focus on preventative dental care first and above all else. The goal is to catch any dental issues before you need restorative dental care. That’s why dentists recommend dental check-ups every six months. At each check-up, you’ll likely receive an exam, x-rays (if needed), professional cleaning, fluoride treatment (if needed), and oral care advice. If your Lakewood dentist notices a cavity or tooth decay at your check-ups, that’s when he or she will likely recommend a type of restorative care treatment.
Basic Restorative Dental Services
Basic restorative care primarily refers to dental fillings. When we refer to a filling, we usually think of it as a way to cover your cavity. Basically, the cavity leaves behind a hole in your tooth. The filling (we prefer the term restoration) will not only just fill the hole, but restore it to its previous state. This includes the color, function, and shape of the tooth. A tooth restoration should provide a long-term, affordable solution to cavity holes. Generally, dentists can achieve this using a high-quality filling material that is biocompatible and the same color as your teeth. If you take care of cavities quickly, it prevents major tooth damage and decay.
Major Restorative Dental Services
If you don’t take care of your cavities in a timely manner, they can turn into tooth decay. Tooth decay is painful and costly, and something we all want to avoid as much as possible. Even if a tooth starts to decay, however, there are some common major restorative dental services that can treat it, including:
Dental crowns are required for severe cases of decay, following root canal treatments or for damage such as cracks. This is a preferred treatment by dentists because it protects the damaged tooth from decay while also allowing you to maintain the tooth’s root structure. There are a few materials available, with porcelain crowns offering a durable, natural look. Although gold is very strong, it is also very noticeable. Amalgam works well for back teeth as they withstand chewing, while porcelain and resin are ideal for front teeth. Your dentist will help you determine the best material for you.
Dentures (Full and Partial)
Dentures are required when the tooth can’t be saved. They are a common tooth replacement option and come in both partial and full options. They are removable, reasonably natural in appearance, and also affordable.
Bridges are another option for single tooth loss or a string of lost teeth. Dental bridges use crowns for tooth replacement, which create a “bridge” from the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth. They are very natural-looking and durable, offering a semi-permanent tooth replacement solution.
Restorative dental treatments don’t help just your teeth, but also your total oral health. If you suffer from a TMJ disorder, restorative dentistry can help realign your jaw and alleviate uncomfortable symptoms.
Teeth Grinding Resolutions
Teeth grinding can wear down your teeth and cause gum recession. It can also be a sign of sleep-disordered breathing. Depending on the reason why you’re grinding your teeth, sometimes a night guard may provide relief, or even myofunctional therapy.
Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth both in the front or back of your mouth. They are options that allow all your teeth to remain separate. A titanium or ceramic implant is placed, some time is allowed for healing, and the chewing part of the tooth is placed on top of that.
Root Canal Treatment
A root canal is required when the inner dental pulp of your tooth is infected. Your infected pulp and any decay are removed and the space is then filled. The procedure allows you to keep your tooth, and often requires a crown to protect the surviving tooth.
How Will I Know If I Need Basic Or Major Restorative Dental Services?
Whether you’re coming in for a regular checkup, getting a filling, or undergoing a bigger restorative dental service, your Lakewood dentist will assess your tooth and determine which treatment is best. As mentioned, fillings are the most basic and most common treatment. They can easily treat cavities that are not too deep. Dentists always prefer to save the tooth, looking at treatments such as root canals and crowns before resorting to tooth extraction.
Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Turner here and she’ll get to know you and evaluate your unique needs.