The term “restorative dentistry” refers to the integrated management of oral health problems and restoring the mouth to a functional and esthetic state. Many of the procedures are also covered by the dental specialty of prosthodontic dentistry, including fillings, veneers, crowns, bridges, full and partial dentures and dental implants. When deciding on a strategy for restorative dentistry your dentist will explain all treatment options available to you.
Most dentists involved in restorative dentistry will try to preserve your natural teeth if possible before resorting to full or partial dentures so you won’t have to remove and clean the devices regularly. But sometimes full or partial dentures are the better option if you have many missing teeth and you’re not a good candidate for dental implants due to other health issues.
Preventive dentistry is the modern way of helping you keep a healthy mouth. It helps you to keep your teeth, and means you need to have less dental treatment. The two main causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease. The better you prevent or deal with these two problems, the more chance you will have of keeping your teeth for life.
When the dental team and patient work together, this can help to prevent the need for treatment – especially fillings and extractions. Your dental team may recommend a course of treatment to get your mouth into good condition, and then work out a ‘maintenance plan’ to help you keep it that way. This can be either done solely by a dentist or a dentist and hygienist combination.
Crowns, Bridges or Veneers:
When a tooth is badly broken or heavily filled, the dentist may need to crown or ‘cap’ it to restore its appearance and strength. The usual method for fitting a crown involves shaping the tooth under local anaesthetic and then taking an impression using a rubber-like material. The impression is then sent to the laboratory along with the details of the shade to be used, and the technician makes the crown. While your crown is being made, the prepared tooth can be protected with a temporary crown. This is easily removed just before fitting the permanent one. In most cases, the temporary crown is in place for about two weeks. Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials, such as porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold. New materials are continually being introduced. It is a good idea to talk to your dental team about which crown would be best for you.
Bridges are ideal for people who don’t like dentures and only have a few teeth missing. Bridges are usually made by putting a crown on the teeth on either side of the gap and attaching a false tooth in the middle. The bridge can’t be removed. These bridges are usually made of precious metal bonded to porcelain. Sometimes other non-precious metals are used in the base to give it extra strength.
Veneers are thin slices of porcelain. These are precisely made to fit over the visible surface of your front teeth, like a false fingernail fits over a nail. Veneers are an ideal way of treating discoloured or unsightly teeth, closing gaps between front teeth, or repairing chips and cracks.A small amount of enamel is removed from the tooth, usually the same thickness as the veneer will be. The dental team take an impression and send it to a dental technician, who makes the veneer in a laboratory. The veneer is then bonded to the tooth to form a strong and natural-looking repair.
Dentures are removable false teeth made of acrylic (plastic), nylon or metal. They fit snugly over the gums to replace missing teeth and eliminate potential problems caused by gaps.
Gaps left by missing teeth can cause problems with eating and speech, and teeth either side of the gap may grow into the space at an angle. Sometimes, all the teeth need to be removed and replaced.
You may therefore need either:
- complete dentures (a full set) – which replace all your upper or lower teeth, or
- partial dentures – which replace just one tooth or a few missing teeth
Dentures can help to prevent problems with eating and speech and, if you need complete dentures, they can also improve the appearance of your smile and give you confidence.
Root Canal Therapy:
Endodontic therapy or root canal therapy is a sequence of treatment for the infected pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection. Root canals and their associated pulp chamber are the physical hollows within a tooth that are naturally inhabited by nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities which together constitute the dental pulp.
Endodontic therapy involves the removal of these structures, the subsequent shaping, cleaning, and decontamination of the hollows with small files and irrigating solutions, and the filling of the decontaminated canals with an inert filling such as gutta-percha and typically a eugenol-based cement. Epoxy resin is employed to bind gutta-percha in some root canal procedures. After completion of Root Canal Therapy a filling or in some cases a crown will be required.
Minor Oral Surgery:
Some patients may be referred to our Minor Oral Surgery Service if they need dental care which cannot be provided by their regular dentist. If your Dentist believes this is the best option for you, they will refer you to our dentist with a special interest in Oral Surgery. Following this we will offer you an assessment appointment. The term “Minor oral surgery” refers to smaller operations and includes removing wisdom teeth, impacted teeth, and severely broken-down teeth, as well as apicectomies, biopsies and other procedures.
Oral surgery is carried out by “dentists with a special interest in oral surgery” (DwSI) who have gained the necessary skills and experience by receiving training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Departments in hospitals and are all registered as specialists with the General Dental Council.
Dentistry is no longer just a case of filling and taking out teeth. Many people turn to cosmetic dentistry, or ‘aesthetic dentistry’, as a way of improving their appearance from slight twists in their teeth to discolouration. They do this in the same way they might use cosmetic surgery or even a new hairstyle. The treatments can be used to straighten, lighten, reshape and repair teeth. Cosmetic treatments include veneers, crowns, bridges, tooth-coloured fillings, implants and tooth whitening.
Teeth can be straightened with orthodontics (braces). This is usually done during the teenage years, when the jaws are going through a period of growth. However, many adults also have treatment to straighten their crooked teeth or to improve their appearance. The treatment can take much longer in adults and is therefore more expensive. Some people have clear or plastic braces, which are hardly noticeable.
If you are considering orthodontic treatment, first see your dental team and get their advice. Your dental team can talk to you about your treatment options and if necessary refer you to an orthodontist, a dentist who specialises in straightening teeth. There are also now ‘invisible’ braces. Your dentist will make you a series of clear plastic shields (like a mouthguard) which need to be worn all day and gradually move your teeth into a new position.
Facial Aesthetics are non- surgical facial treatments to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, restore facial volume and improve overall facial skin condition giving a relaxed and rejuvenated appearance. In addition to aesthetics of the face we can also give advice on how to protect your skin from sun damage which can result in more serious skin conditions such as skin cancer.
This is an important part of your care and will establish whether you are suitable for the treatment you are enquiring about, and help us to understand your expectations and concerns. We provide a comprehensive range of facial aesthetics using the most advanced and clinically proven products.
A dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth. It is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone. Implants are a safe, well-established treatment. It’s probably true to say that implants, much like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them. How well you look after your implants – and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments – will have the biggest impact on how long they will last. If you don’t look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to what you get on neglected natural teeth.
Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth. If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.
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