Turning back the clock on your oral health.

Have you ever wished that you could turn back the clock? Most of us probably have at least once in our lives—to be kind when someone needed it, make a different choice in a crucial moment, even simply to throw out that questionable takeout in the fridge instead of eating it (we’ve all been there!). While we can’t turn back the clock, dentists have the next best thing when it comes to your oral health: restorative dentistry.

Restorative dentistry is a dental specialty that’s designed to restore the health, function, and appearance of your teeth even when they’ve suffered severe damage. The range of treatments available through restorative dentistry can revitalize your teeth after they’ve suffered severe decay; gum disease; wear and tear; or injury, such as broken, cracked, chipped, and even missing teeth. No matter what oral health issues you’re facing, restorative dentistry can give you healthy, functional, and beautiful teeth again. Here are a few ways the most common restorative dentistry treatments can improve your smile.

Dental Crowns

When your tooth has suffered severe damage, a dental crown might be the key to restoring its appearance and strength while protecting its future health. In some cases, they can even actively save your tooth! Dental crowns are tooth-shaped pieces of porcelain that fit over your natural tooth, completely covering the portion of your tooth that’s above the gum line. This is what allows dental crowns to restore and protect your tooth so fully, acting as a shield that helps protect you against future injury or decay. They’re often used to restore and protect teeth that have suffered severe decay or injury, but they can also be placed over weak or severely crooked teeth.

The strong, durable porcelain that crowns are made from is stain-resistant and stands up to the same wear and tear as your natural teeth. It restores the strength of your tooth so well that you can treat your crown just like a natural tooth! Crowns don’t just feel natural—they look natural, too! Porcelain matches the gloss of natural teeth and each crown is custom-made, so you will get to choose the size, shape, and shade of your crown to ensure that it fits perfectly into your smile.

Inlays and Onlays

In the long run, it’s always best for your oral health to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible. Inlays and onlays allow you to do just that! They’re the ideal solution when your tooth has suffered an injury or decay that’s too severe to be treated with a traditional dental filling but not severe enough to warrant a dental crown. Inlays and onlays are generally made of porcelain like dental crowns are, but they only cover a portion of your tooth. Inlays treat damage on the chewing surface of your tooth, the area between the raised edges of its cusps, while onlays treat more extensive damage. They cover the same area as inlays but also extend onto one or more of the tooth’s cusps.

Both restorations seal the damaged part of your tooth off from decay, protect it from injury, and give it the strength to continue functioning normally. Just like dental crowns, inlays and onlays are made specifically for you using a mold of your teeth and are tinted to match the shade and gloss of your natural teeth. This ensures that they fit perfectly into your bite and blend seamlessly with your tooth, allowing it to look and feel just as natural as ever!  

Dental Bridges

Losing a tooth can feel final, but it’s not! In fact, there are several ways you can restore the health, function, and appearance of your missing tooth. Dental bridges are one of these tooth replacement options. They’re made of porcelain and consist of one or two pontics, or prosthetic teeth, that are attached to a dental crown on either end. The crowns are each secured over a tooth on either side of the gap in your smile, allowing the pontic to fill the gap and giving it the stability it needs to function like a natural tooth. This stability works with the durability and strength of porcelain, so you don’t have to worry about what you can or can’t eat with a bridge—you can continue eating all of your favorite foods! Like other restorations, your bridge will be made specifically for you so that it feels natural and blends perfectly into your smile.

A bridge’s ability to restore the function of your missing tooth and give you newfound confidence in the appearance of your smile is amazing, but it also helps protect your future oral health. When it fills the gap in your smile, your bridge prevents your natural teeth from shifting into that space. This might sound minor, but ensuring that the way your bite fits together doesn’t change protects you from potential issues with your TMJ. It also protects your smile’s appearance and keeps you from developing a bite that produces uneven wear on your teeth. Since teeth are harder to clean properly when they shift apart, your bridge also ensures your oral hygiene routine is as easy as ever, helping you protect your healthy teeth from cavities and gum disease.

Dental Implants

If you’re looking for a unique, long-lasting tooth replacement option that gives you the next best thing to getting your natural tooth back, dental implants are the best option for you. Dental implants protect your oral health in ways that other treatments can’t because they’re the only tooth-replacement option that also restores the function of your missing tooth’s root. They do this using a titanium metal rod that’s embedded directly into your jaw to mimic a tooth root, which is then capped with a tooth restoration like a dental crown, bridge, or dentures. Your tooth roots provide stimulation to your jaw bone that keeps it healthy, so losing a tooth takes away that stimulation and causes your body to begin reabsorbing the bone.

By replacing the root of your missing tooth instead of just its chewing surface, implants provide the stimulation your jaw needs to keep the bone healthy. Since titanium is biocompatible and actively encourages the bone to grow around it, dental implants can even reverse minor bone loss in your jaw. This bone growth also secures the implants more securely in place, giving them unparalleled stability. Dental implants also offer the same benefits as bridges, restoring the function of your missing tooth while preventing your teeth from shifting into the gap it left. As a result, dental implants are the next best thing to getting your natural tooth back—not just in their appearance, but in the way they function and feel as well.

Turn back the clock with Metro East Dental Care. 

Restorative dentistry gives you the peace of mind that comes not just from regaining your confidence in the function of your teeth and the beauty of your smile, but from reclaiming your oral health and knowing that it’s protected in the long term. It may not be turning the clock back on your oral health, but it’s the next best thing—and it sets you up for future success! If you’re interested in learning more about how restorative dentistry could help you, feel free to call our Granite City, IL, office at any time to schedule a consultation with Dr. May.