Dentists don’t just provide important treatments to help you maintain your dental health. We also help treat your smile. As a result, we offer both restorative and cosmetic dentistry services. If you are wondering what the difference is between restorative dentistry vs. cosmetic dentistry, here we provide an overview of the benefits and requirements for both.
What is restorative dentistry? Restorative dentistry is used to “restore” damaged teeth. Treatments include procedures such as fillings or root canals. However, it also includes treatments for other damaged oral structures such as your gums. Restorative dentistry focuses on returning proper function to your teeth, bite, and gums and is therefore, a required treatment we recommend. When it comes to treatments, if you have dental benefits most standard restorative treatments are covered to some extent. We can provide a pre-determination of the costs and let you know if our recommended treatment plan is covered.
Reasons You Might Need Restorative Dental Treatments
Restorative dental treatments are required for several reasons, including:
- You experience symptoms such as pain or bleeding gums
- You damage a tooth
- Issues are detected at your dental checkups
- Emergencies such as a hit to the mouth or face that damage your teeth
- Infections such as abscesses
- Issues with your bite, jaw, or gums
Your dentist will provide a diagnosis and recommend the appropriate restorative treatment when any of these issues occur.
Types Of Restorative Dentistry Treatments
The most common restorative dentistry treatments that might be required include:
Fillings are the most common dental treatment. They are used to repair cavities caused by tooth decay. These holes must be filled to prevent further damage. The decay is first removed, then a bonding substance is used to “fill” the hole.
When a tooth is too damaged for a simple filling, crowns are required to protect the tooth. They allow you to maintain the damaged tooth, and more importantly, the tooth root. They are a form of artificial teeth made of porcelain or other materials and are permanently affixed over your damaged tooth using strong dental cement.
Bridges are required when a damaged tooth can’t be saved, or when you lose a tooth or a string of teeth. The tooth replacement itself is a crown, which is affixed with a bridge secured to the teeth on either side of the gap. They can also be inserted using dental implants, explained in more detail below.
Dental implants are the ultimate tooth replacement, using implanted posts surgically inserted into your jawbone. Crowns or bridges are “screwed” onto the posts, providing a tooth that looks natural with posts that mimic your tooth root to prevent bone loss.
Root canals are required when you have infected tooth pulp. This is the softest, innermost part of your tooth. We remove the infected tissue and plug up the canal, then cap the tooth with a crown.
Cosmetic dentistry addresses the appearance of your teeth. It provides solutions to correct many smile woes, whether it is orthodontics to straighten teeth, whitening to reduce staining for a pearly white smile, or other treatments to help cover up imperfections. Some treatments are used for both restorative and cosmetic issues.
For example, orthodontics improves bite function, but also straightens crooked teeth. Because cosmetic dental treatments are not always functionally “necessary” you can ask your dentist to provide these services. In most cases, because cosmetic treatments are not required to help you maintain dental health, they are usually not covered by a typical insurance package. If you have dental insurance, never assume your cosmetic treatment will be fully or even partially covered. Again, we can determine what is covered, and provide payment options to help you achieve your smile goals.
There are many reasons you might consider cosmetic dentistry, including:
- Tooth discolouration
- Gaps and overlaps
- Gummy smiles
- Teeth that appear misshapen
An imperfect smile can cause self-esteem issues which can keep you from enjoying life to its fullest. With the right cosmetic treatment plan, you can enjoy a perfect smile, often for less money than you think. Just mention your smile concerns to our team, and we’ll help you achieve the perfect smile you’ve always wanted.
What Procedures Are Considered Cosmetic Dentistry?
When you are looking for cosmetic solutions for your smile, there are several treatments we can recommend, including:
Bonding can be used to resolve many imperfections, including chips, gaps, misshapen teeth and to replace dark fillings. Bonding uses putty to reshape and correct aesthetic issues. The material used is matched to your teeth colour and is adhered to your teeth for a seamless finish. It is also used to replace dark older fillings that can be noticeable when you laugh or yawn.
This is a very popular cosmetic treatment to help bring back that brilliant white smile. It is the best way to restore the white of natural teeth, but whitening isn’t suited for people with crowns, bonding, or veneers. The whitening agent doesn’t work on artificial materials. It is also not a permanent solution as the stains will return over time. We can discuss your options and come up with a whitening plan to brighten your smile.
Although we mentioned crowns as a restorative treatment, they are also known as caps. This is because they have long been the cosmetic treatment of choice for people looking for that Hollywood perfect smile. The caps cover up just about any imperfection, but they do require your natural tooth to be filed down, so this is something to consider.
Veneers are thin shells designed to fit over your teeth to hide imperfections. They can be used for gaps, permanent discolouration, and in some cases to cover up alignment issues without the need for braces. The veneer is glued to the front of your teeth, creating a uniformed, attractive smile.
We are here to resolve your dental issues whether your teeth are damaged, or you are trying to achieve that picture-perfect smile.