How Tooth Restoration Can Improve Your Smile

Tooth restoration is one of the most affordable treatments to improve a smile and hide minor flaws and imperfections. When a tooth is restored properly, it will look natural and function optimally.

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Before choosing a restoration, consider how long you want the results to last and how invasive you are comfortable with the process. This will help you decide between direct and indirect restorations.

Aesthetics

As well as restoring teeth for their function, dentists also restore them to improve their aesthetics. This is especially important in the front teeth, where appearance plays a significant role in smile aesthetics. The size, shape and color of the anterior upper teeth are particularly scrutinized. In this respect, composite restorations can correct many aesthetic anterior problems including dental caries, tooth fracture, enamel defects, and diastemas.

Direct composite restorations (commonly known as white fillings) are a simple way to restore the front of a damaged tooth with minimal tooth preparation. The tooth-coloured resin is bonded to the existing tooth and sculpted to match its aesthetics. Composites can also be used to repair the incisal edges of teeth and close small gaps between teeth.

There are stronger materials available for repairing heavily damaged teeth than simple fillings, but these need to be made in the laboratory. These are called inlays and onlays and can be made from gold or the aesthetic material, porcelain.

Patients often have difficulty deciding what they want in terms of tooth shade, shape and length until they see their own face with the restored teeth and try out their new smile. Trial smiles using mock-ups such as those fabricated with the Uveneer template system can make this process easier for both dentist and patient.

Function

A tooth restoration does more than just fill a cavity hole; it recreates as much of the original tooth as possible. This includes the shape, function and color of a tooth.

This allows for healthy chewing and a pleasant cosmetic appearance. It also helps prevent future damage and decay. If a tooth is not restored, it can cause other dental issues in the future, such as infection or jawbone loss.

Tooth restorations come in a variety of forms and materials. The type used depends on the extent of the damage and unique circumstances of each patient. Dental fillings are the most common dental restoration. Depending on the size of the cavity, your dentist may use tooth-colored composite resin or silver amalgam.

Amalgam is a direct restorative material with some advantages over alternative bonded restorative materials. Amalgam restorations are more technique-forgiving and can be placed in a single appointment. They are also radiopaque, making them easy to see on X-rays.

Other forms of restorations include inlays and onlays, which are laboratory-manufactured dental appliances that can repair a larger area of damaged teeth than a simple filling. Inlays and onlays can be made from gold, porcelain, or natural-colored plastics and are bonded to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. They may be used to restore teeth that are too damaged for a simple filling, as an alternative to a root canal treatment, or as a cap on a dental implant.

Longevity

Dental restorations are used to repair damaged teeth and restore their function, integrity and morphology. They are generally of two types – direct and indirect. Direct restorations include composite resin fillings and amalgam fillings which are placed directly in the tooth. Indirect restorations include composite onlays and crowns and cast gold fillings. These are generally considered to be more durable than direct restorations. However, longevity is a controversial issue and there are considerable differences in results across studies.

The aim of the present study was to review the literature on the longevity of routine restorations in the permanent posterior teeth. A specific focus was placed on the longevity of simple Class I and II amalgam, composite resin, glass ionomer and cast gold restorations in non-pregnancy related teeth. Comprehensive searching of electronic databases and hand-searching ‘grey’ literature identified 124 research reports. Eight of these were deemed relevant and of adequate quality and were analysed descriptively.

The high degree of variability in reported survival times impeded the ability to determine an overall mean period of time that a majority of restorations would last. However, it was possible to identify some effect modifiers such as restoration type, patient factors and practice environment. It was also possible to assess reasons for the placement and replacement of restorations. This information is useful for those responsible for the provision of dental care in the community.

Prevention

Tooth decay is a serious problem that can lead to pain, tooth loss and worse illnesses. But it doesn’t have to happen if you take a proactive approach. Tooth restoration can give you a permanent solution to cavities that will protect your tooth and allow it to function normally again.

Tooth restoration procedures include fillings, inlays, onlays, veneers and crowns. Each of these restores a different portion of your tooth in different ways, but they all have the same goal: to preserve as much natural tooth structure and dental function as possible.

Direct restorations are made of composite resins that can be completed in a single office visit. We use this type of restoration for small, confined areas of damage. Larger or more extensive cavities may require indirect restorations, which are made in a laboratory and placed at a subsequent appointment.

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth twice a day, particularly after meals and before going to bed. We also recommend rinsing daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental cleaners such as the Reach Stim-U-Dent or Sulcabrush. Also, avoid eating or drinking anything sugary, and limit your snacking between meals.