Restorative dentistry

What is Restorative Dentistry?

Despite better oral hygiene aids and advanced preventive techniques, your teeth are still susceptible to decay, infection and breakage, and sometimes need to be restored. Restorative Dentistry is concerned with the care of patients who require restoration of the oral and dental tissues. Restorative Dentistry includes the following dental disciplines:

  • Dental Materials Science and occlusion
  • Operative Dentistry
  • Endodontics and Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics and implant dentistry

Through improved restorative techniques and advanced technology, we are now able to offer better options for restoring your tooth back to its normal appearance and function. Should you ever require restorative treatment, you can be rest assured that we will recommend the most comfortable and least invasive treatment option.

Reasons for restorative dentistry:

  • Restore damaged and decayed teeth.
  • Relieve dental pain.
  • Prevent the tooth loss.
  • Replace missing teeth.
  • Replace old, unattractive dental fillings, crowns and bridges.
  • Restore normal eating and chewing.
  • Improve or correct an improper bite.
  • Smile enhancement.
  • Fill in unattractive gaps between teeth.

The following is a list of common restorative procedures.

Air Abrasion

Air abrasion is a new micro-dentistry technique that is used to remove tooth decay and prepare teeth for fillings.  Traditionally, dentists used noisy dental drills to remove decay and prepare the teeth for fillings. But air abrasion has proven to be a noiseless, heatless and minimally invasive alternative to the conventional dental drills.  Air abrasion propels tiny particles toward small areas of decay to remove them. Once the decay is completely removed, the cavity is then filled with a restorative material like composite resin. The combination of air abrasion and composite resin fillings restores the function and strength of the teeth quickly and comfortably.

Some of the main advantages associated with air abrasion are:

  • Minimal removal of natural tooth
  • No need for drilling the teeth
  • No need for anaesthesia in most of the cases
  • Less chances of chipping and fracture of tooth
  • The procedure is quick and comfortable for the patients

Contact us to know more about Air Abrasion process and whether it will benefit you.

Inlays and Onlays

An inlay or onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of indirect composite resin, gold or tooth-coloured porcelain. A dental inlay is similar to a filling and fits inside the cusp tips (top edges) of the tooth. Onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns. Onlays are identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.

Inlays and onlays are manufactured by a professional dental laboratory and are permanently cemented into the tooth. They are usually indicated for those teeth which cannot be repaired by fillings, but have sufficient healthy tooth structure to avoid the need for crown. Onlays are ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth is removed during the preparation. There are other benefits to inlays and onlays in comparison to fillings:

  • They are durable
  • They help to strengthen teeth
  • They prolong tooth life and prevent the need for more dental treatment in the future.

What does getting an inlay or onlay involve?

Inlays and onlays are made using very similar procedures. It takes two appointments for the inlays and onlays treatment to be completed and to be finally bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. In the first appointment, any decay or damage is removed and tooth is cleaned and preprared for dental inlay or onlay. Then an impression of the tooth is made and sent to the laboratory for fabrication. A temporary filling is placed in the damaged tooth till the final restoration is ready.

In the second appointment, temporary restoration is removed, tooth is cleaned and inlay or onlay is tried in the tooth. Once the precise fit of the restoration is confirmed, it is bonded to your tooth with a strong adhesive resin. The inlay and onlay treatment is completed with a polish to ensure a smooth and aesthetically pleasing finish. The gums around the treated tooth may feel sore or sensitive, but this should subside in a couple of days. If you do feel some discomfort, you can take over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate the symptoms.

Bonding and tooth coloured fillings

Traditional silver or metallic fillings were not bonded to the tooth, they merely interlocked into the damaged portion of the tooth and provided a certain degree of protection. But with recent advances in dental adhesive technology, fillings can be bonded to tooth. Such bonded restoration techniques result in a stronger, more protected and comfortable fillings. With the advances in dental materials, we now use tooth-like materials (porcelains and composite resins) that are both predictable and safe. These composite resin and porcelain fillings not only look like your natural teeth but also respond more like natural teeth.

Composite resin restorations (tooth coloured fillings)

There are many types of filling materials available, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. However the best filling material for you can only be ascertained after detailed examination and depends on the needs of individual patients. Composite resin fillings (tooth coloured fillings) are the most widely used today because they match the colour of your tooth and, are extremely strong and durable. Reasons for composite fillings:

  • Decayed teeth
  • Worn, abraded or eroded teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Chipped teeth
  • Gaps in between teeth

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually completed in one appointment. Anaesthesia may be required to numb the tooth. While the tooth is numb, decay is removed and tooth is thoroughly cleansed and prepared for composite resin restoration. If decay is near the nerve of the tooth, medication is applied for added protection. The composite filling is then precisely placed, shaped and a special light is used to set it within the tooth. The filling is then polished to mimic the natural lustre and texture of the tooth.

It is quite normal to experience sensitivity or mild pain to hot and cold immediately after the amalgam filling is placed. However the sensitivity will subside shortly after your tooth acclimatizes to the new filling. After the filling is completed, you will be given post operative instructions regarding care of the new filling.

Porcelain fillings

Porcelain veneers, crowns, onlays, inlays and dental bridges are renowned for their strength, durability and exceptional optical properties.  Porcelain fillings are completely metal-free, and are constructed from inorganic material which is baked and cured at high temperatures. With porcelain fillings we can create natural looking restorations and restore complete functionality of the teeth. Here are some of the advantages associated with Porcelain fillings:

  • Natural looking
  • Shade matches the colour of your teeth
  • Metal free
  • Biocompatible
  • Excellent surface polish
  • Can be bonded to the tooth

Contact us to know more about tooth coloured fillings and which is the most suitable option for you.

Silver fillings / Amalgam fillings

Silver fillings (amalgam fillings) have been used over a century to repair teeth that are decayed, broken down, worn out or cracked. Although there are many filling materials available, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Amalgam fillings are strong and durable and will last many years if done properly. However, the main drawback of these fillings are they do not match the colour of your teeth and are usually recommended for the back teeth. There have been concerns regarding the toxicity of mercury in amalgam fillings. But studies have shown that newer amalgams are safe for fillings as they use minimal mercury. However, disposal of mercury waste still remains an environmental problem.

What does getting an amalgam filling involve?

Amalgam fillings are usually completed in one appointment. After the decay is removed, tooth is thoroughly cleansed and prepared for the new filling. If decay is very close to the nerve of the tooth, then special protective fillings are applied first. The amalgam fillings are then placed carefully, packed into the cavity, shaped and polished. Once completed it restores your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is quite normal to experience sensitivity or mild pain to hot and cold immediately after the amalgam filling is placed. However the sensitivity will subside shortly after your tooth acclimatizes to the new filling. After the filling is completed, you will be given post operative instructions regarding care of the new filling.

Splinting

Your teeth can become loose or mobile due to supporting bone loss as a result of periodontal disease, injury, orthodontic treatment or pressure caused by tooth misalignment. Loose teeth are uncomfortable when you try chewing hard or sticky food. As long as the tooth is mobile, there is a feeling that the tooth is pulling away from the gums. Even worse is the feeling of impending tooth loss due to mobile teeth. One of the most common procedures performed to stabilize such teeth is tooth splinting.

Splinting is a technique that attaches weak teeth together, turning them into a unit that is stable and stronger than a single tooth. Splinting in combination with deep cleaning and grafts can help stabilize such loose or mobile teeth. There are various types of splinting techniques for immobilizing teeth till their bone support has regenerated to adequate levels. Recently, with the help of adhesive restorative techniques glass fibers and polyethylene fibers have been introduced for this purpose. These fiber splints can be reinforced with composite resin to form a thin but strong splints.

Life is too short to live with loose teeth. Consult our specialists to know whether your teeth are mobile enough to require splinting.

Dental Crowns and Bridges

Crowns (caps) are used to cover damaged, cracked, chipped or badly broken down teeth. While a dental bridge is anchored to neighbouring teeth in order to replace one or more missing teeth. Crowns and bridges are usually made from high quality materials such as semi-precious or precious metals, porcelain or combination of both. To read more about crowns and bridges and how it could enhance your smile, click here.

Dentures

Dentures are commonly used to replace missing teeth for people who with no teeth. Dentures which replace all the teeth are known as Complete dentures. While removable partial dentures can also be used for patients who have lost several teeth and need a replacement.