Providing the right diagnosis for restorative dentistry

Ongoing problems with your teeth and gums can have a huge impact on your life and well being. Hospital referrals can be a slow process but thankfully the pool of specialist dentists in Bath will ensure you get the treatment you need.

Restorative Dentistry is that field of dentistry associated with restoration of the teeth.

Tooth decay

It’s common knowledge that teeth can decay without regular care. With the invasion of harmful bacteria on a daily basis, your teeth (healthy or otherwise) are in an everlasting battle.

It is well established in clinical research that, after prolonged periods of damage, once the size of a cavity or the destruction of the tooth through trauma amounts to more than half of the remaining tooth, a simple filling may not be adequate.

Tooth Tissue Loss

In some cases, the onset of tissue loss can be rapid due to accidental damage. In others, it can take years following gradual wearing (i.e. grinding teeth while sleeping). Other causes can be erosion from dietry habits with high citric acid content or acid reflux from the stomach, whether related to a hiatus hernia or an eating disorder such as bulimia can effect considerable damage to teeth.

Choice of Materials

Whether a tooth requires to be re-built for functional reasons such as eating and speaking or for cosmetic reasons involving the front teeth, a myriad of materials which include metal alloys, composite plastics and porcelains may be indicated depending upon the particular circumstances.

15~20% of patients exhibit evidence of tooth grinding and clenching which can indicate stronger materials for their wear resistance over and above any cosmetic aspirations of the patient. The metal alloys available today can be matched to the physical demands that will be present whereas the composite resins and porcelain materials lend themselves very readily toward achieving a lifelike tooth coloured outcome but often times provide poorer physical characteristics with wear and a tendency for chipping/breaking. It is common to have to discuss with the patients the various benefits and risks associated with the use of the materials to ensure that for a particular patient the correct material is selected.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Whenever a patient is concerned about the appearance of their teeth, this may become the remit of the Specialist in Restorative Dentistry. Tooth coloured restorations, porcelain veneers and crowns offer exceptional optical properties when the clinician works closely with the Dental Ceramicist. The science of colour with a colour corrected day-light environment becomes a necessity. Even the colour of the walls of a surgery will influence the shade and colour of natural teeth.

Successful Outcomes

It is essential to understand that the success of any restoration is dependant on the survival rates of the treatment over time. Clinical studies have been conducted at 5 and 10 years following treatment to ascertain how long the restorations will survive and it’s worth noting that ALL dentistry has a finite life expectancy which is frequently overlooked. Many patients are likely to experience recurring tooth decay under a filling due to the loss of control of the primary disease process. Mechanical breakdown of all dental materials is inevitable and wholly time dependant although material selection is critical to avoid early failure. Sometimes the cosmetic aspirations of patients may dictate the use of a tooth coloured restoration even though its physical characteristics are inferior to the use of a metal alloy.

As long as the patient is made aware of the expected lifespan of the choice, its subsequent failure can be predicted and accepted prior to treatment.

Finding the right Specialist

The General Dental Council assists the public in distinguishing between those General Practitioners with a ‘special interest’ from the fully accredited Specialists. Only those practitioners on the GDC Specialist Register are entitled to call themselves Specialists in Restorative Dentistry.

Comments are closed.