Restorative Dentistry In Napa CA: What Is Restorative Dental Care?

February 22, 2024

In a perfect world, all we would have to do is brush and floss twice daily to keep our teeth and gums healthy. We wouldn’t ever have to worry about needing dental work because we wouldn’t ever have any dental or oral health issues like cavities or gum disease.

However, we do not live in a perfect world. Tooth decay and gum disease happen, as do accidents that lead to the loss of permanent teeth. Luckily, we have the practice of restorative dentistry to bring teeth back to their optimal condition.

What Exactly Is Restorative Dentistry?

Restorative dentistry refers to any dental procedure that replaces or repairs teeth to restore their overall appearance and function.

The goal of restorative dental procedures is to restore your teeth to their natural shape, function, and appearance by:

  • Repairing damage caused by inadequate dental fillings
  • Repairing damage caused by poorly applied bonding treatment
  • Restoring missing parts of a tooth’s structure via direct or indirect restorations - i.e., inlays, onlays, fillings, or crowns
  • Replacing teeth that are missing via artificial restorations - i.e. implants, bridges, or dentures
Who Is Restorative Dentistry For?

Restorative dentistry is for anyone who:

  • Is experiencing cavities or tooth decay
  • Has damaged or broken teeth
  • Is missing teeth

The reasons can range from a simple lack of proper oral care to underlying diseases. Depending on the extent and the reason for the damage, your dentist or oral specialist will recommend a specific restorative solution to suit your needs.

How Does Restorative Dentistry Differ From Cosmetic Dentistry?

Restorative and cosmetic dentistry are often seen as interchangeable as they follow many of the same materials and procedures. However, they each have a very specific purpose that differentiates them:

  • Restorative dental procedures are required due to disease, decay, or accidents and are, therefore, medically necessary
  • Cosmetic dental procedures are elective, as they aim to improve the appearance of a person’s smile or self-confidence

A good example of cosmetic dentistry is professional teeth whitening or veneers. These treatments are considered cosmetic as they’re not medically necessary. There are some instances in which veneers can be medically necessary; however, they’re typically used to improve one’s appearance, and therefore, they fall into the elective category and aren't always covered by dental insurances.

What Are the Various Types of Restorative Dentistry?

The most common types of restorative dental procedures include:

  • Crowns
  • Fillings
  • Bridges
  • Dentures
  • Inlays and onlays
  • Implants
  • Bonding
Let’s Take A Closer Look At Restorative Procedures

1. Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that either come as metal or tooth-colored. They’re designed to replace substantial missing tooth structures that are caused by dental decay, fractures, or root canals.

To determine whether a dental crown is the right restorative procedure for you, your dentist will take into consideration the following:

  • The regular function of the specific tooth or teeth
  • The location of the tooth
  • Positioning of gum tissue
  • The color of the surrounding teeth
  • Your overall dental health and general health

2. Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are most commonly used on teeth with minor to moderate cavities or root canals. When you have a cavity, your dentist will drill to remove the affected part of the tooth and fill the holes with a filling made of one of the following materials:

  • Porcelain
  • Tooth-color plastic and glass materials
  • Gold
  • Silver amalgam

Fillings can also be used to repair cracked, worn, or broken teeth, depending on the extent of the damage. It should also be noted that since fillings are used to treat cavities and some trauma-related dental conditions, the procedure may be partially or fully covered by your dental insurance.

3. Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are considered “full coverage restorations” as they typically cover three or more teeth. However, while they cover a certain quantity of teeth, they only replace one or two teeth as the real teeth are used to “bridge the gap” on either side of the missing tooth or teeth.

Dental bridges are mostly used for:

  • Teeth that have been extracted
  • Congenitally missing teeth

While dental bridges are more affordable compared to implants — and with a much quicker recovery time — they don’t have as natural of a look to them. They’re also more prone to damage compared to implants.

4. Dentures

Dentures are prosthetic teeth designed to replace multiple missing teeth. They can be either removable or fixed, and they’re always customized to fit each individual’s mouth.

There are five different types of dentures for different situations:

  • Complete dentures
  • Fixed partial dentures
  • Removable partial dentures
  • Immediate dentures
  • Implant-retained dentures

Dentures are the standard solution for people who have lost all of their teeth — usually from gum disease or advanced dental decay.

5. Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are partial tooth restorations that either come in gold or tooth-colored. Onlays cover the cusp of the tooth, while inlays fill the areas between the cups.

They’re designed to restore the smaller areas of missing or damaged tooth structure, and they’re less invasive compared to full dental crowns.

6. Dental Implants

Dental implants refer to the artificial tooth root that’s surgically implanted into the jaw bone. They are commonly used to replace adult permanent teeth, usually after an extraction or tooth loss caused by decay or gum disease.

Essentially, dental implants mimic the shape of a screw, which is what allows them to be integrated with the natural bone. From there, the replacement tooth is attached and will function like a natural tooth.

7. Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a procedure that utilizes composite resins. Dental bonding is typically used for the following:

  • To fill cavities
  • Repair cracked and chipped teeth
  • To cover discolored teeth that cannot be fixed by whitening applications
  • To fill small, unwanted gaps between teeth

There are different dental bonding treatments available based on the various dental needs, including:

  • Indirect dental bonding
  • Composite veneer bonding
  • Composite bonding
Restorative Dentistry in Napa CA

Cosmetic Dentistry of Napa offers a full suite of dental restoration services. Visit our site to learn more about the dental restoration services we offer, or book your next appointment today by calling 707-257-7771 or by conveniently filling out our online contact form.

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