Different areas of dentistry can be confusing to patients. But the modifier before “dentistry” provides all the clues you need. Cosmetic dentistry is concerned with the aesthetic, or cosmetic, appearance of your smile. By the same token, restorative dentistry aims to restore the patient’s teeth to full health.
Our experienced team at Dental Studio of Pasadena is expert in all facets of these restorations, from placing dental implants to fitting full or partial dentures, and most everything in between.
The end goal of our restorative dentistry procedures is to return your oral health to where it needs to be.
Preventative dentistry involves keeping your teeth from acquiring decay and other problems that could endanger their long-term health. Exams, cleanings, applying sealants, checking for oral cancer — that’s all preventative.
But what happens when our dentists find teeth that need restoring to full health. This becomes restorative dentistry. Restorative dentistry involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of oral diseases. It involves a plan to restore teeth to full health, whether they have decay, are chipped or cracked, discolored, or even if teeth are missing.
It’s easy to confuse restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, but the difference involves the basic health of the teeth. Restorative dentistry addresses teeth that have problems with their basic health. Cosmetic dentistry only deals with the aesthetics of the smile, and it addresses teeth that are generally healthy. There is some overlap, such as the possible use of crowns or composite fillings, but that is the difference between cosmetic and restorative dentistry.
If your teeth have basic health issues, such as decay, chips or cracks, or deep discoloration (from reactions to drugs such as tetracycline or trauma), you may be a candidate for restorative dentistry in Pasadena, CA. Also, if you are missing a tooth or teeth, restorative dentistry will replace those teeth.
When you come in for a consultation, your Dental Studio of Pasadena dentist will examine your teeth and overall bite and smile. The two of you will discuss the issues that need to be addressed. They may be simple, such as replacing a failing silver amalgam filling with composite resin; or complex, such as dental implant-supported partial dentures.
What is the value of a healthy smile? When your teeth are damaged, they are likely causing some degree of pain. Gaps between teeth probably make you avoid smiling. Decayed or damaged teeth may make you avoid certain foods, such as nuts or hot drinks, to avoid possible pain when chewing or drinking. Replacing a missing tooth helps keep your other surrounding teeth in alignment. Saving a tooth from extraction pays dividends over the long haul.
Remember, the goal of restorative dentistry practices is to bring the teeth back to full health. When you visit our practice for some restorative dentistry in Pasadena, we will assess your needs and determine which of the following techniques would be best for you.
Also known as “tooth-colored” fillings, these fillings are made from composite resin, which is a mix of plastic and glass. We no longer use silver amalgam at Dental Studio of Pasadena. We place composite fillings, which also have the benefit of being virtually invisible once in place in a tooth, to fill areas of decay removed from teeth and to replace old, worn-out silver amalgam fillings.
Porcelain crowns are used to save teeth that are in danger of needing extraction either due to heavy decay, a former filling that has broken, large cracks, or the tooth having had a root canal. Crowns can also be used to change the shape of a misshapen tooth. A crown is a prosthetic that is made at a dental lab to our specifications. The crowns we use are made from dental porcelain for strength, resistance to staining, and because of their close resemblance to the look of natural tooth enamel. A crown is made to fit over the entire tooth, right down to the gumline. This returns strength, function, and beauty to the tooth.
Full dentures replace all the teeth on either the upper or lower arch, or both. The patient may be missing all of his or her teeth, or the teeth may be badly decayed enough to require extraction. Partial dentures involve a series of teeth, but not the entire arch. If possible, we prefer to use dental implants to act as anchor points for dentures, providing the stability that eludes typical dentures. Partial dentures may be removable appliances that are connected by wires on the back of the teeth to the adjacent remaining teeth.
Porcelain fixed bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. The bridge is anchored by crowns placed on the healthy teeth on each side of the gap, called the abutment teeth. Then an artificial tooth or teeth (called pontics) are used to replace the missing teeth. These bridges are permanently fixed in place.
The preferred option to replace a missing tooth or a couple of teeth is dental implants. Dental implants consist of a titanium “implant,” which is shaped like a screw. This implant is screwed down into the socket left from the former natural tooth root. Once in place, the jawbone grows around the titanium implant, making it a part of the jaw. A post is attached to the implant and an artificial tooth is attached to the post. Dental implants look, function, and feel just like natural teeth. Plus, they are the longest lasting dental prosthetic, often lasting the remainder of the patient’s life.
Sometimes called a “partial crown,” these restorations involve a larger portion of the tooth. Inlays replace decayed tooth matter within the cusps on the top of the tooth. Onlays repair larger decayed areas, including the biting surface and one or more of the cusps. Like crowns, inlays and onlays are fabricated at a dental lab and are usually made from dental porcelain.
If a tooth has an infection/decay that has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, we will need to perform a root canal on the tooth. A root canal cleans out and disinfects the entire inner portion of the tooth, removing all of the pulp, blood vessels, and nerve tissue. The empty tooth is thoroughly disinfected and then is filled with a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha. A composite filling is used to close the access hole. In most cases, a crown is placed over the tooth to protect it and maintain its strength. A root canal saves a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. Unlike many dental practices that don’t perform their own root canals, at Dental Studio of Pasadena we handle these procedures in house, saving you the hassle of finding an oral surgeon.
“Amazing experience as far as a dentist visit can be! Everyone from the receptionist to the doctors were so kind and professional. Thank you guys for making me feel at ease and helping with payment options!” -Alma S.
Most children don’t have a need for these procedures, such as placing a dental implant. This is especially true with baby teeth. But by the age of 13, most children have all 28 of their permanent teeth. Should something happen to those, such as deep decay requiring an inlay/onlay, restorative dentistry would be necessary to save the tooth.
There aren’t any specific procedures for seniors, but there are trends for seniors to be aware of when caring for their teeth. One is that seniors become cavity-prone (and you thought you were done with that in middle school). One reason for that is dry mouth, which is a side effect of over 500 medications, including many that are widely used with seniors such as medications for high cholesterol, pain, and high blood pressure. Dry mouth makes you more prone for bacteria to create decay, as saliva is helpful for washing bacteria off our teeth.
Gum disease is more prevalent in seniors. This is more often than not just a result of lackadaisical home hygiene and missing your regular professional exams and cleanings. But gum disease causes gum recession, which also exposes the tooth roots to decay.
Most of the restorative procedures we use at Dental Studio of Pasadena require local anesthetic, but not sedation. Still, some patients prefer to have sedation prior to their procedure to relax them and take the edge off. Others need it to help with anxiety. It is available with any procedure we perform; you simply need to tell us you’d like sedation.
With most procedures, there isn’t any recovery. With dental implants, you’ll have two periods where you need to eat a soft diet to let your gums heal. Other treatments, such as a root canal, can have some soreness for a day or two, but it is easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Others such as receiving a composite filling don’t have any soreness or pain afterward.
All of these procedures have been used for decades. They are safe and effective. Possible poor health outcomes can result if you don’t address these issues. That’s when problems such as gingivitis become full-blown gum disease, leading to tooth extraction, loss of jawbone mass, and the eventual need for full dentures.
Short of trauma to a tooth, most dental problems begin with a lack of good home oral hygiene. This will need to change if you want to maintain the improvements we achieved with restorative dentistry. This isn’t difficult — brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day is all that’s necessary. You need to gently brush your gums and tongue, as well.
Also, good oral hygiene depends on early diagnosis and treatment of problems such as decay. This can only happen if you see us at Dental Studio of Pasadena twice yearly for your routine professional cleanings and exams.
To learn more about our Restorative Dentistry procedures to see if you are a candidate, contact our office today at (626) 431 2930. Our practice serves Pasadena, Glendale, and the surrounding areas in California.