Maintaining good oral health isn’t just about making sure your smile looks great (although sure, that’s part of it). It’s also about preventing decay, infection and tooth loss that can take a toll on your overall health and wellness too. Restorative dentistry includes all the procedures and treatments aimed at keeping your teeth in top shape so you can avoid problems like uneven bite balance, decay, infection and even issues like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and chronic headaches.

If you have tooth damage, knowing what options you have to repair those problems — and why those repairs are so very necessary — is the first step to getting the right care.

Restorations for better oral health

Just like its name implies, restorative dentistry uses procedures and treatments to help restore your mouth to its normal and healthy state. Restorative dentistry includes options for repairing an array of problems, like:

  • Pulp damage.
  • Root damage.
  • Deep infections.
  • Broken, cracked or chipped teeth.
  • Missing teeth.

Plus, not only do restorative procedures “fix” existing damage, but they can help prevent future damage by ensuring your teeth stay strong and healthy.

The impact of a single cavity

To understand the critical importance of even minor restorations, let’s look at the potential impact an untreated cavity can have on your overall oral health. Cavities are among the most common types of oral health problems. In their early stages (before they reach the deeper pulp portion of the tooth), they usually can be “fixed” with a regular metal amalgam or (ideally) tooth-colored filling. All in all, it’s a pretty simple, straightforward remedy, yet many people postpone having cavities filled; after all, it’s “just” a cavity —  how serious can it be to put off treatment for a bit? Actually, it can be very serious. Here’s why.

When you have a cavity, a couple of things happen. First, the decay in your tooth makes it weaker than normal, which means that tooth is less able to stand the strains of biting and chewing. And that means it’s a lot more likely to crack or break. An untreated cavity almost certainly will become worse over time, involving more of your tooth material until the tooth can no longer stand the stresses of normal use. That means that instead of having a simple cavity, you’re now left with a broken tooth or even a missing tooth. If your tooth does fall out, it can wind up weakening the tooth roots of the neighboring teeth, increasing the risk they’ll eventually fall out as well.

What’s more, most cavities cause tooth pain. And if you don’t have the cavity treated, you’re probably going to chew differently, which means your other teeth can become overstressed, making them more prone to cracks, chips and other wear-related damage. Alterations in your chewing pattern can throw off your bite balance, leaving you at risk for jaw pain and TMJ. Worse, the bacteria inside that cavity can eventually make it down to the deeper parts of your tooth, infecting the pulp and the root and eventually spreading into the jaw bone.

Those are just some of the potential risks that can come from leaving a single cavity untreated. For more serious issues, like infected pulp and broken or missing teeth, the risks can be much greater.

Types of procedures

Fillings — both metal amalgam and tooth-colored composites — are just one example of restorative procedures. Other procedures include:

  • Durable porcelain crowns to repair and cover deeply-stained teeth and teeth that are cracked, broken, or badly damaged by decay or trauma.
  • Root canals to preserve infected or decayed teeth and avoid tooth loss or extraction.
  • Bridges to replace missing teeth so your appearance, bite balance and function are maintained.
  • Full and partial dentures to replace some or all of your teeth.
  • Dental implants, a very popular alternative to bridges and dentures, to replace missing teeth so appearance and function are maintained.

At Sunrise Dental, we use the most advanced materials and state-of-the-art technology to ensure every patient gets the best and most appropriate care for a lifetime of good oral health.

Keep your teeth in top shape

Going to the dentist rarely makes it to the top of anyone’s “fun things to do today” list. But having problems evaluated and treated in their earliest stages is important for preventing those problems from becoming more serious — and more difficult and costly to fix. If you have an issue you’d like to have evaluated or if it’s been awhile since your last cleaning and checkup, call today to book an appointment.