Restorative dentistry involves any procedure that repairs or replaces missing tooth structure. This is usually done to restore function of the teeth, to modify the appearance of the teeth, or sometimes both. These procedures include cavity fillings, cosmetic bonding, veneers, and crowns.
It is important to treat cavities while they are still small in order to maintain the integrity of the remaining tooth structure. If left untreated, it will continue to get bigger over time, could lead to pain, and affect one’s ability to eat and speak comfortably. When cavities are small, the decay is removed, and the tooth is filled with a tooth-colored filling (resin or glass ionomer) or a silver alloy filling (amalgam). The type of filling material chosen is determined by many factors: the location within the mouth, esthetics, patient habits, amount of decay present in the mouth, and personal preferences. When cavities are large and start causing pain, then typically a root canal treatment or an extraction is done. A root canal treatment involves removing the decay and the pulp which contains the nerves and blood supply to the tooth. Saving the tooth is our top priority, however, sometimes extractions have to be performed.
When there is a space in between two teeth, the shape of a tooth needs to be changed either for function and or esthetics, then cosmetic bonding, veneers, and crowns can be done. Cosmetic bonding involves adding tooth-colored filling material to typically both of the teeth on either side of the gap. This effectively closes the gap. Veneers cover the lip-side of the teeth to change the shape and color of a tooth. Crowns cover the whole entirety of a tooth to change the shape, color, and restore function to a tooth.
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