Restorative dentistry encompasses the techniques and treatments that help to make a damaged tooth whole again so that it can resume its function in the smile, as well as improve the patient’s appearance. Restorative dentistry may also refer to appliances that are used to replace missing teeth, such as dental bridges. These treatments are typically necessary when a tooth has deteriorated due to decay or been compromised by an injury. The extent of the damage will determine the extent of the restoration. Some restorative dentistry treatments are more conservative and completed in a single appointment, while others may be more involved and required multiple appointments. Dr. Ku will advise you about the specifics of your treatment plan at your initial consultation.


Fillings, Inlays, and Onlays

The most conservative restorations are fillings, inlays, and onlays. Fillings are the smallest and used when the decayed tooth material can be easily removed and replaced with composite (tooth-colored) materials. Inlays are used for cavities that may be too large to correct with a standard filling but aren’t large enough to require a crown. An inlay is shaped to fit the space of the decayed tooth material that was removed and then bonded into that spot. Onlays are slightly larger than inlays and also cover a cusp of the tooth in addition to replacing decayed material.


Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that cover the entire surface of the tooth, and they are necessary when the damage caused by decay is too severe or extensive to be adequately repaired with a filling, inlay or onlay. Dental crowns are also placed on teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy in order to give them additional protection from breaking. Dental crowns are usually placed over the course of two appointments. At the first appointment, Dr. Ku will collect all of the information needed for the crown’s specifications and prepare the tooth for crown placement. When the crown is ready, the patient will return to the office to have it bonded to the teeth.


Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth, and they consist of crowns placed on the teeth adjoining the gap that support a pontic (artificial crown). Like dental crowns, dental bridges can be tailored to match a patient’s biological teeth to blend in more with the patient’s natural smile.


To learn more about our restorative dental services, call our office and speak to one of our staff members for additional information or to schedule an appointment.

Restorative Dentistry FAQ’s

What are restorative dental services?

Restorative dental services are needed when a tooth has been damaged by decay or injury. In the case of tooth decay, the decayed material must be removed and replaced with some sort of restoration. The size of the cavity will determine what restoration approach will be most effective. Restoration services may take anywhere from an hour to multiple appointments spaced a few weeks apart. Restorations are an important tool for saving your biological teeth, as this is always the optimal approach.

What is considered minor restorative dental work?

Minor restorative dental work can be completed in as little as a single appointment with minimal impact to the tooth. Fillings, inlays, and onlays are generally considered to be minor restorations because only the decayed material is removed from the tooth. More involved restorations require more extensive alterations to the tooth, as well as larger restorations. Fillings are provided in a single appointment, while inlays and onlays require two appointments. At the first session, the decayed material is removed and impressions are taken so that the inlay and onlay can be designed. The patient then returns to the office at a later date to be fitted with the inlay or onlay.

What is a restorative crown?

A restorative crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a damaged tooth to restore its size, shape, and strength. Crowns may be made of porcelain, metal or ceramics, depending on the patient’s needs and treatment goals. The tooth must be prepared and shaped prior to crown placement in order to make room for the crown, and this usually takes places at the first appointment. The specifications for the crown are then sent to the dental lab responsible for making the crown, and when the crown is ready, the patient returns to the office to have it placed.

What can I expect from the restorative dentistry treatment process?

The restorative dentistry treatment process will vary somewhat from patient to patient depending on the specific circumstances and the treatment being provided. For example, if you need a filling, it is likely that you will come to the office for a single appointment that takes about an hour or so. Crowns and dental bridges will require multiple appointments, and you may have the opportunity to wear a temporary appliance until the permanent one is ready to be fitted to your smile. Dr. Ku will give you a better idea of the expected treatment process at your initial consultation.

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