When a person has problems with their smile, they may be wondering about the best solution. Improving your smile through dental restoration isn’t one single process or procedure though. This leads many people to ask, what is the best form of dental restoration for you.
What Is Dental Restoration?
If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s simply a treatment performed to restore the function and integrity of missing or damaged teeth. The cause for missing or damaged teeth could be dental caries, external trauma, or other related problems. Any damage or loss of teeth can be treated with dental restoration.
Types of Restoration
Although restoration can be explained in a variety of ways, the simplest way to break down its definition is to consider direct and indirect restorations. These are separate types of restorations available today. Depending on your needs, you may have to choose between either type.
Direct Tooth Restoration
This term usually refers to a procedure that takes place in just one visit to your dentist. A direct restoration typically uses composite resin or a glass ionomer cement. Both of these materials are safe for humans and have a good appearance. They are available in tooth colour, giving them a natural appearance in the mouth. This feature sets them apart from other types of materials which may be dark or noticeable.
The disadvantage of these solutions is that they are not the longest-lasting solution. This can mean a higher cost over time as well as more work on your part. For example, both materials have structural disadvantages. GIC is not the strongest material, especially when used to fill a large cavity. Composite resin tends to shrink over time, creating stress and pulling on the tooth.
When do their benefits outweigh the disadvantages? They tend to work well for small cavities but usually won’t work well for larger holes and restorations. With larger holes, there is a greater chance of needing to have the restoration replaced over time.
Indirect Tooth Restoration
An indirect restoration is where the restoration is made outside of the mouth. This can occur in a dental lab or possibly in a dental practice which has specialized equipment. These types of restorations are typically made with ceramic or porcelain and often come with longer effectiveness.
The downside for most people is that this type of restoration is going to take a larger time commitment. It typically takes place over two visits but the advantages may outweigh the greater time commitment. Additionally, the cost for an indirect restoration is going to be higher. The higher initial cost may be mitigated though when you consider that this type of restoration has to be replaced less often than the direct restoration.
The advantage of indirect restorations is that they last longer than direct restorations. They also support the teeth more effectively and are made from non-toxic materials. They look great and won’t shrink over time. The materials used for indirect restoration can be made to the ideal shape of the tooth, giving you a better overall appearance.
When it comes to dental restorations, there are a variety of procedures that can be performed. Not all of them involve using foreign materials but these are the most common. To get a better idea of what dental restoration can mean, these are the common types:
- Teeth Whitening – This is a non-invasive procedure that simply means bleaching teeth that are stained or discoloured. It is a cosmetic procedure that won’t change the structure or function of the teeth but simply improve their overall appearance.
- Straightening Teeth – Depending on the shape of your mouth or teeth, they may need to be re-aligned. Braces or Invisalign® can be used to re-align teeth. This can be done with a variety of brace types. If preparing to have braces placed, you can consider having a discussion with your dentist about the types available and which one works best for you.
- Reshaping Teeth – You can improve your oral health with minor corrections such as crowns, bonding, and veneers. Veneers are designed to cover the front teeth to improve their appearance. Bonding is used to correct blemishes and irregularities without changing the structure. Finally crowns save and strengthen damaged teeth
- Replace Missing Teeth – Replacing teeth that have been severely damaged or missing usually involves the use of implants and dentures. Implants using artificial teeth have come a long way since their early years and offer some great alternatives to traditional dentures and bridges.