|Restorative dentistry is an important part of maintaining your oral health. These services work to restore the function of damaged teeth by replacing or repairing the tooth structure. From fillings to crowns, restorative care can help to correct a problem with your teeth while relieving pain and preventing further damage. In the event that the health of your teeth has become compromised due to decay, infection, or injury, Dr. Rust and the Cedar Creek Dental team can offer a variety of options to help restore the beauty and health of your smile.
At Cedar Creek Dental, we offer a variety of restorative services that can help to repair your teeth and gums if a problem arises with your dental health:
- Fillings are the most common of the dental restoration techniques, and they are used to fill in a cavity. Cavities may be filled with silver amalgam, gold, or even tooth-colored glass or plastic materials in order to stop tooth decay from spreading. This service is appropriate for all patients, ranging from children to older adults.
- These tooth-shaped caps are placed over the tooth in order to restore its size, shape, appearance, and strength. They are used to cover an implant or to hold a dental bridge into place.
- In the event that a tooth is too severely damaged to be repaired, it may need to be removed. Trauma, decay, infection, and a crowded mouth may all be reasons for which a tooth might be extracted.
- Root canals are needed when decay has caused permanent tooth damage to the pulp. This procedure is completed by removing the pulp found inside of the tooth and replacing it with a filling material. This treatment option is an effective way to prevent infection.
- In some cases, wisdom teeth need to be extracted in order to prevent future dental problems. If your jaw isn't large enough to make room for these teeth, they may become impacted, and the infection that can result from this condition makes it a good idea to remove the teeth.
While proper preventative measures can help to keep your teeth healthy, problems may still occur in which you need a dentist to restore your mouth to working order. Unlike cosmetic procedures, these services are usually covered by dental insurance because they work to restore the structure and function of the teeth, and they can also help to make sure a problem doesn't worsen or progress. Crowns, fillings, and root canals are all useful restorative care measures that can relieve your pain and return your teeth to optimal health.
While your dentist may be able to notice signs of a problem with your teeth during a routine examination, you will likely be the first person to notice that you need restorative care. That is because a toothache is often a precursor to any restorative dentistry procedure. While many toothaches are harmless and go away on their own, persistent pain of the teeth is often a sign that you need to contact your dentist to investigate whether a bigger problem is at play.
What Causes a Toothache?
Toothaches can be caused by dental or non-dental conditions. While there are many possibilities when it comes to non-dental causes, the vast majority of toothaches that require restorative care are dental in origin. Tooth decay is the primary culprit when it comes to tooth pain, and this damage occurs when bacteria in the mouth create acid that eats away at the tooth. This can lead to the development of a hole, which is called a cavity. If left untreated, tooth decay can result in infection, pain, and eventual tooth loss.
What Does My Toothache Mean?
The toothache is the most common symptom that you might need restorative care for your teeth. There are various types of toothaches, and each can signify a different oral health problem:
- Chronic Toothache: If you experience a chronic toothache in one or more of your teeth, nerve damage may be the culprit. Nerve damage could result from trauma to the teeth after injury, severe tooth decay, or teeth grinding.
- Sharp tooth pain or sensitivity: If you are beginning to experience sensitivity to cold, you may be dealing with gum recession, a cavity, or enamel loss. Sensitivity to heat might signify a cavity, but it could also be the result of severe decay, a crack, or an abscess.
- Intense and throbbing pain: An intense and throbbing pain is usually the sign of an abscess or infection, and this symptom may also be accompanied by swelling in the face.
- Pain when chewing: If eating becomes painful, tooth decay or a fracture in the tooth may be the source of your discomfort.
- Pain at the back of the jaw: When pain is experienced in the back portion of the jaw, it may be due to impacted wisdom teeth. Teeth grinding can also be the culprit, as this condition can also cause pain throughout the facial bones.
Evaluation and diagnosis at Cedar Creek Dental can determine the reason for your toothache and what treatment options are available to correct it.
When Should I Call a Dentist?
Everyone deals with a toothache at some point in their life. Mild pain and discomfort that can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers may not warrant an immediate visit, but if you fit into one of several categories, you should schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible:
- You are experiencing severe pain.
- Your toothache has lasted for more than two days.
- Your toothache is accompanied by an earache, fever, or pain when you open your mouth.
Proper treatment and identification of dental infections is essential in order to prevent the spread of the infection to the bloodstream and other parts of the skull and face.
What Should I Expect at a Restorative Dentistry Exam?
When visiting Cedar Creek Dental for a dental restoration exam, Dr. Rust will conduct a physical examination and collect your medical history. We will thoroughly discuss the pain, when it started, its location, and what activities make the pain better or worse. A complete exam will be completed, and your mouth, gums, teeth, tongue, jaws, throat, neck, nose, ears, and sinuses will all be thoroughly inspected. Tests including dental X-rays may also be warranted depending on the cause of the pain. The information collected from this exam will be vital in diagnosing the source of your pain and creating an effective treatment plan.
How Will My Toothache Be Treated?
Toothache treatment methods will vary depending on the severity of your pain and the underlying cause.
- Gum Recession: In many cases, gum recession may be reversed using a gum graft procedure in which the gums are maintained and rejuvenated at their healthiest level.
- Enamel Loss: If you consume highly-acidic foods or simply brush too hard, you may experience enamel loss. When the enamel of the teeth is lost, dentin, which is the inner surface of a tooth, becomes exposed. This can cause pain and sensitivity, and desensitizing toothpaste is often recommended as a treatment option.
- Tooth Sensitivity: If you are dealing with sensitive teeth, desensitizers may be applied to relieve pain and discomfort. Professional-grade options can be applied in the dental office, while over-the-counter options are often available at home.
- Wear and Tear: Uneven teeth, cracks, and chips can cause pain or sensitivity, and this is usually a sign of tooth destruction. When the surfaces of the teeth become uneven, composite materials can be used to correct the problem. Other cases may also involve dental restoration with a veneer or crown.
- Abscess or Infection: An abscess or infection is usually the result of trauma or tooth decay. The treatment plan for either of these conditions generally begins with pain management and antibiotics, and a follow-up visit is usually involved in order to receive root canal therapy. For the final step in the restoration, a crown or veneer can be used to strengthen the weakened tooth.
- Tooth Decay: Decay is caused by poor dental hygiene and an improper diet. Depending on the extent of your tooth decay, treatment may include composite fillings, or, if nerve damage or an exposed root is involved, a root canal. In the event that multiple surfaces are affected, so that dental fillings become impractical, a dental crown may be used.
- Teeth Grinding: The grinding of the teeth can result in significant tooth damage, including uneven teeth or fractures. Your dentist may recommend the use of a mouth guard while sleeping in order to protect your teeth from injury due to grinding.
- Fractured or Cracked Teeth: Fractured or cracked teeth may occur from trauma, wear and tear, or teeth grinding. A cracked tooth is typically treated through the use of a protective covering like a veneer or dental crown.
- Impacted Wisdom Teeth: When wisdom teeth are not able to cut through the gum line, they can become impacted. This may result in the shifting and crowding of the rest of the teeth. If your dentist feels that the wisdom teeth need to be removed in order to relieve pain and to prevent more serious issues, oral surgery may be required to treat this issue.
Is Restorative Care Expensive?
Unfortunately, many people sacrifice dental care because they simply think that they cannot afford it. The result is that a "small" dental concern turns into a "big" dental problem. That is why it is so important for patients to visit with their dentist regularly and at the first sign of a problem, as this allows the issue to be corrected before it becomes more extensive and expensive.
The benefit of restorative care is that many of the services are covered by dental insurance providers. This can make the services that you need to return your teeth to optimal health extremely affordable. If you don't have dental insurance, the helpful staff at Cedar Creek Dental can discuss the financial aspects of your treatment plan.
Caring for Your Restorative Dental Work
After your restorative dental procedure, proper care and maintenance are necessary in order to ensure that your teeth remain healthy. To get the most out of your restorative care procedure, be sure that you are continuing to follow good oral hygiene practices by brushing regularly, flossing at least once a day, using fluoridated toothpaste, and visiting the dentist every six months. If you don't control the build up of plaque and food debris on and between your teeth, your gums and teeth could become infected, and this could result in the need for further treatment. If you notice any changes to your dental work, such as a sharp edge or crack in a filling, contact your dentist immediately to set up an appointment.
Avoiding Restorative Dental Treatment
In addition to proper brushing and flossing, there are several tips that you can follow to help avoid the need for restorative work. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, especially sticky foods and sugarcoated cereals. The longer that sugar makes contact with your teeth, the greater the damage will be. Also avoid snacking before bedtime, as food that is left on the teeth throughout the night will be more likely to result in cavities.
It is especially important for parents to assist their children in practicing good oral hygiene, as this can help to prevent tooth decay and future corrective treatments. Never put a baby down to sleep with a bottle of formula, milk, or juice in order to prevent decay. Never feed your child from the same utensils that you are using, as this can help to spread bacteria that can cause decay. If your municipality doesn't offer fluoridated water, ask your dentist about supplements, and keep your child away from tobacco smoke at all times. By taking a proactive approach to maintaining your child's dental health, you can minimize the chance that they will need to undergo a restorative procedure in the future.