What does “Restorative Dentistry” mean?
You’re probably wondering, “Well, isn’t all dentistry supposed to restore your teeth anyway?” While it may sound a bit redundant at first, the word “restorative dentistry” is really referring to the overall principle of restoring the mouth to a healthy, functional, and visually appealing state of being. This includes the replacement or extensive repair of badly damaged teeth. Dr. Qureshi – like most general dentists – is fully qualified to perform many aspects of restorative dentistry. Naturally, the more complex the procedure, the more it comes down to the dentist’s familiarity and comfort with the task which determines whether he or she should perform it. Another area of dentistry, prosthodontics, is but another part of the area of restorative dentistry, and includes dentures, dental implants, and tooth fillings.
What to Expect:
Prior to the start of any treatment, Dr. Qureshi dentist may take an x-ray of the affected area, or review recent x-rays to determine the extent of the problem. Afterward, once the problem has been diagnosed, the treatment will begin with application of a tiny dab of a local anesthetic in the form of a pleasantly-flavored “jelly” across the gums and the problem area, to relieve pain. A short period of 10-15 minutes will be allowed for the numbing to take full effect and the patient to adjust to the feeling before starting the restorative dentistry treatment. In some cases, if the patient is especially sensitive, very young, overly nervous, or if a tooth extraction is necessary, the dentist may consult with you about using general anesthesia to keep the patient cool, calm, and comfortable throughout the procedure.
Pulling a tooth out of its slot in the jawbone is called an extraction. The need for an extraction can be due to many reasons. Some people have extraneous teeth which block others from coming in (crowding), or a child’s baby teeth didn’t fall out early enough to allow the permanent set to grow. Someone needing orthodontic braces may not have enough room for the teeth which are being moved and realigned, and removal of specific teeth may be necessary. A common reason for extractions is also due to the “wisdom teeth”, also called third molars, which normally emerge during the late teens or early 20s. Those which are affected with decay, or have a cyst, or other painful condition may need to be to be removed. Lastly, if the affected tooth is so badly damaged due to rampant decay or severe trauma well beyond restoration or repair, then often the only option is to have it pulled from the mouth completely.
Restoring a decaying or damaged tooth back to normal is done by way of a filling. Fillings can be made from a variety of materials, and the selection depends on many factors, such as the location of the tooth, how your body responds to the material, as well as your budget. Porcelain and resins give off a bright, natural appearance in the front teeth, but are too fragile for the heavy-duty role in crushing and grinding food that back teeth are built to do. That’s where gold and amalgam (a mixed alloy of copper, tin, silver, and mercury) work best, where appearance takes a big back seat to strength and durability. When a dentist like Dr. Qureshi applies a filling to a damaged tooth, the rotten tooth material will first be extracted and cleaned, and then the hole filled with the appropriate material. The tooth, thus closed off from harmful bacteria and acids, can be spared from additional decay.