Restoring your one-of-a-kind teeth.
It’s hard not to look at nature with a sense of awe. Not just because it’s beautiful, but because of how well-adapted plants and animals are to thriving in their unique environments—even environments that appear incredibly hostile. One of the simplest but often highly specialized tools that help animals survive is in our toolbox, too: teeth. Our teeth are specially adapted to help us carry out essential tasks like eating and communicating with other people through speaking and facial expressions, but they also play vital roles in our oral and overall health.
When your teeth are lost or severely damaged, however, you aren’t out of options! Restorative dentistry provides many treatment options that can revitalize your damaged or missing teeth, transforming your daily life. To help you understand what restorative dentistry is and how it could help you, we’ve provided a breakdown of what restorative dentistry is and does as well as 3 of its most common treatments.
Restorative dentistry is a specialized field of dentistry that’s designed to restore and protect the health, function, and appearance of your teeth. It includes a wide range of dental treatments, but the goal is always to give you a healthy smile that looks and feels natural—a smile you can feel confident in at every level! To accomplish this, many restorative dentistry procedures are incredibly customizable, allowing you to choose the size, shape, and shade of your restorations. This ensures that your completed smile is just as unique as you and that you’ll love the results. Since restorative dentistry makes use of many different procedures to ensure that no one’s oral health is beyond saving, it can resolve many issues with your teeth, including:
- Broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.
- Severely worn teeth.
- Tooth decay.
- Missing teeth.
- Gum recession.
- Misaligned bites.
- Crooked teeth.
If you’re curious as to how restorative dentistry can remedy these issues, you won’t be surprised when we say that each treatment plan is carefully tailored to your individual needs and goals. However, there are some procedures that regularly appear in the cosmetic dentist’s toolkit. Read on for 3 of the most common types of restorative dentistry.
1. Dental Crowns
When a tooth has suffered extensive damage from injury or decay, it’s almost always best for your long-term oral health to save it. This is where dental crowns come in! They’re often the key to restoring and protecting weakened or severely damaged teeth. In some cases, they’re the only way to save a tooth. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped restorations that fit over your natural tooth to strengthen it, allowing it to function just like it did before it was damaged while providing it with long-lasting protection against future injuries or decay.
Modern crowns are generally made from porcelain, which is a durable material that mimics the color and gloss of natural teeth. It’s highly customizable, so you’ll be able to work with Dr. Robinson or Dr. Lyerly to choose the size, shape, and shade of your new tooth. Our Anchorage family dentists offer zirconia crowns, which look even more natural than other porcelain crowns because they’re slightly translucent—just like tooth enamel. They’re also even more durable, with the potential to last decades if you care for them using a regular oral hygiene routine.
2. Dental Implants
Losing a tooth has a range of short- and long-term consequences for the health and function of your teeth and jaws, but dental implants can help prevent all of them. Dental implants consist of a titanium metal rod that’s embedded directly into your jawbone to take the place of a natural tooth root. This substitute tooth root is then capped with a dental prosthetic. Implants are often secured with a dental crown to replace a single missing tooth, but several implants can support a bridge, partial denture, or full dentures. This makes them versatile enough to replace any number of teeth, from a single tooth to all of them. Your restoration is designed to look completely natural and is made specifically for you, so you can choose the size, shape, and shade of your new teeth. Being involved in the design process ensures that you’ll love your new smile.
While their versatility and natural design set dental implants apart, it’s their unique placement in your jaw that allows them to protect your oral and overall health so well. Replacing your tooth root provides the stimulation your jaw bone needs to remain healthy, preventing the bone loss that occurs when you lose a tooth. Titanium is biocompatible, so the bone is actually encouraged to grow around it—potentially reversing smaller amounts of bone loss that may have already occurred. This also fixes the implant more securely in place, giving the implant the stability of a natural tooth and allowing you to eat all of your favorite foods even with implant-supported dentures.
Implants also carry the same benefits as other tooth replacement options, like preventing your surrounding teeth from shifting into the gap left by a missing tooth. Filling the gap protects you from a range of potential issues with your bite, and makes it just as easy to eat as it was before you lost your tooth. If they’re an option for you, dental implants’ unparalleled ability to restore the function and health of your smile as well as its appearance makes them the next best thing to getting your natural tooth back!
If you’ve lost all or most of your teeth, dentures are likely the key to restoring the function and appearance of your natural teeth. Dentures are prosthetic teeth with an acrylic base that’s made to mimic the appearance of natural gums. They’re made to replace a full upper or lower arch of teeth—or both—and are custom-made for you to ensure that they fit comfortably and naturally. This customized fit also helps to create the suction that holds the dentures in place. When they fit correctly, traditional dentures shouldn’t slip out of place or fall out of your mouth when you’re trying to eat or speak. Over time, however, bone loss in your jaw causes traditional dentures to begin fitting a little more loosely, so Dr. Robinson or Dr. Lyerly will need to check them every year to see if they need to be adjusted.
To ensure that you’ll love your new smile, you’ll also work with Dr. Robinson or Dr. Lyerly to choose the size, shape, and shade of your new teeth, designing a smile that complements your unique facial features. Implant-supported dentures are also a great option if you need dentures, carrying many of the same benefits while providing added stability and protecting against bone loss in your jaw. Whether you get traditional or implant-supported dentures, however, this treatment can completely transform your daily life by restoring the function of your teeth as well as your confidence in their ability to do their job. Plus, having a smile you truly love again can work wonders for your self-confidence!
Our teeth are so well-adapted to their job of helping us eat, speak, and communicate with each other that we often don’t give them a second thought! When your teeth are severely damaged, restorative dentistry can repair or replace them, protecting your smile in the short and long term. If you’d like to learn more about how your dentist in Wasilla, AK, can help you restore and protect your oral health, feel free to call and schedule an appointment at our Alaska dental care office at any time!