When was the last time you went to the dentist? Chances are, you had an oral health issue that was either causing unbearable pain or constant discomfort or you experienced an unpleasant, severe injury to the face or mouth that only a dentist could diagnose and treat. Something happened and you finally get to the point where you’re either tired of the pain or you’re freaking out about something that doesn’t look or function normally.
When a dentist has to diagnose and treat or repair a dental injury or disease, it is called restorative dentistry. The dentist, in essence is restoring the look and proper functioning of your mouth, particularly the teeth and gums. Most adult patients go to see their dentist for this type of dentistry as opposed to preventative dentistry. This is often because of patients’ fears of going to the dentist and the potentially higher costs of dental exams, cleaning and work.
Restorative dentistry covers a wide range of dental procedures. Below are some of the more common ones:
- Root planing and scaling
- Root canals
- Tooth extraction
Sometimes dentists will blend in cosmetic dental services under the umbrella of restorative dentistry, while others have cosmetic and restorative dentistry separate. It is important to note that additional training and certification is required for dentists who perform cosmetic dental procedures. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to draw the line between restorative and cosmetic dental work as both restore one’s beautiful smile and proper teeth functionality. For instance, veneers can reshape crooked or chipped teeth, enhancing their appearance and improve the tooth’s chewing functionality.
Restorative dental procedures can be expensive, depending on what materials are needed and the extent and length of the procedures. Restorative work that involves anesthesia is typically more expensive. Most dental insurance plans cover some of the costs associated with this kind of dental work.
Besides the expenses, restoration dental work can include inconvenient, time- consuming procedures and follow-up visits that can be hard to fit into one’s busy schedule.
While restorative dentistry treats or is aimed at stopping the progress of current oral health damage, preventative dentistry seeks to stem the development of teeth and gum issues before they appear.
A visit to the dentist every six months is a preventative dental measure that protects the patient from a possibly painful dental issue that calls for expensive and time-consuming restorative dental treatment.
Preventative procedures are routine, quick, inexpensive and don’t require a follow-up appointment, saving the patient time and money. It also spares the patient from the pain and discomfort of teeth and gum problems.
As important and valuable preventative dentistry is, not all patients take advantage of it and only see it as optional. For patients, it can be easy to forgo the six month dental checkup when their teeth and gums look and feel great. Some serious oral health conditions such as oral cancer, have no noticeable symptoms until it progresses past the point of being treatable. Only the trained eye of a dentist can spot such unnoticed warning signs in a routine preventative dental exam.
Restorative dentistry encompasses a wide variety of dental procedures aimed at slowing and reversing damage of teeth, gums and soft tissue of the mouth due to injury, infection, decay or disease. While restorative dental work restores the look and functionality of a patient’s smile, preventative dentistry utilizes proactive procedures to stem the development of oral health conditions. Most patients, however, only see the dentist for restorative dental work to treat a tooth or gum issue. While restorative dentistry repairs one’s smile, it is more expensive and time-consuming than preventative dentistry.