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What is Restorative Dentistry?

Restorative dentistry includes many reliable and advanced methods to repair teeth and renew function to your bite without compromising the beauty of your smile. At Susan Thomas, DDS, we provide advanced technology for comprehensive treatments to rejuvenate your oral health completely.

If you are experiencing tooth pain or want to know more about options for replacing missing teeth, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Livonia dental office today.

Dental restorations can reestablish function and beauty to your smile and correct:

  • Damaged and decayed teeth
  • Failed restorations
  • Missing teeth
  • Misalignment

What are the Signs that I Need Restorative Dentistry?

We can detect changes in your enamel or existing restorations during your bi-yearly exam. This preventive appointment is a great way to catch problems at their earliest stage requiring less complicated treatment.

We encourage you to keep up with your six-month exams to minimize your need for additional treatment and save you time and money.

If you’re experiencing sudden tooth pain in between exams or have a dental emergency, we encourage you to call our office immediately to schedule an appointment.

Restorative services include long-lasting solutions designed to treat many oral health problems; the most common include:

  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Lost or failed restoration
  • Tooth abscess
  • Crooked teeth
  • Stained teeth

Dr. Thomas will treat your dental problem and retain as much of the healthy tooth structure as possible. Our goal is to use the least invasive procedures that encourage long-lasting results.

Can I Avoid Restorations?

If you maintain a healthy environment for your teeth and gums, you may be able to avoid restorative procedures. Most people will need at least one cavity filled in their lifetime.

7 Tips to Help You Avoid Dental Problems

  1. Use toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride at least twice a day
  2. Use dental floss at least once per day, preferably at night
  3. Use a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush
  4. Brush teeth and gums for at least two minutes each time
  5. Never skip brushing your teeth before bed
  6. Drink or rinse your mouth with water after eating
  7. Schedule dental exams twice a year

Professional cleanings and exams allow us to learn about your health and medical history. It’s important for us to know this information as some diseases and medications can impact your oral health, especially if you have diabetes or are pregnant.

We also use the exams to address any underlying issues like gum disease or TMJ disorder that may affect the health of your teeth or the longevity of existing restorations.

If you are nervous about dental treatment, we invite you to schedule a consultation to learn more about the compassionate care you’ll receive from us.

Are Restorations Affordable?

Our staff understands your need to budget for dental costs. We will help you explore your insurance benefits to find out if a portion or all of your expenses will be covered, and then file your claim on your behalf. You will receive estimates for any out-of-pocket expenses so that you can plan for your upcoming treatment.

Preventive care is the most affordable dental treatment because it includes fewer complex procedures. Simple options like sealants can protect your molars against decay. Routine exams, which are included in most dental insurance plans, are very beneficial to your health and your budget.

As a family dental practice, we accommodate our treatment plans to meet the needs and comfort levels of every age.

How is Restorative Dentistry Conservative?

When there is damage or disease to your teeth and gums, any treatment used to rejuvenate a healthy foundation is considered restorative. We use the least invasive solutions available to repair the damaged portion and save as much natural tooth as possible for promoting ideal results.

For example, if you have a cavity, we will use a composite filling to repair the structure of the tooth once we remove the decay. If the damage is more advanced, we may use an inlay or onlay to repair the tooth and maintain your natural tooth.

We will also use root canal therapy whenever possible to treat a tooth when disease and bacteria enter the pulp of the tooth. This treatment lets you keep the roots of your teeth and avoid other issues that result from extraction.

Once we have performed a thorough evaluation, we will educate you about the results and suggest practical solutions so that you can make an informed decision about your oral health.

When Do I Need A Crown?

Crowns are used to restore a tooth that has suffered from extensive decay, cracks, chips, and infection. They are also used to repair a tooth that was previously restored by a filling, inlay, or onlay.

A crown is always used to return function to a tooth treated with root canal therapy. Once the pulp and roots of the tooth are free of bacteria and infection, we ‘cap’ the tooth with a crown to return function and aesthetics.

Crowns are a proven, tried-and-true restorative method, and we provide same-day crowns with the advanced technology of CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Concerns).

What Are Same Day Crowns?

We use a CEREC milling machine to create your final crown in the office. Traditional crowns are sent to labs, and a temporary is worn in between two dental visits. To accommodate your busy schedule, you can arrange one dental appointment and leave with the final restoration as part of your smile.

A CEREC single visit crown is durable and will blend in with your natural smile, like a traditional crown, but more convenient. During your visit, your tooth will be prepared for the crown, and you can relax in our office until the milling machine has produced the final restoration. Once it is cemented to your tooth, we will make any necessary adjustments.

When is Extraction Used?

When a tooth cannot be saved, we will safely remove it. Doing so will protect neighboring teeth, gums and overall health. We only suggest extraction when:

  • Teeth have extensive damage
  • It is required for orthodontic treatment
  • Necessary to prepare for dentures or implants
  • Wisdom teeth are impacted or jeopardizing your bite

Depending on how many teeth are left after extraction, we suggest different replacement options. We educate you about traditional and implant-supported options, so you can choose the restoration that best suits your oral health and budget needs.

When are Fixed Bridges Used?

We suggest a fixed porcelain bridge to replace one to four missing or extracted teeth. It is a tried-and-true solution to restore your bite. A traditional bridge will crown two neighboring teeth to stabilize the porcelain replacements. If there are signs of gum disease, we will need to treat the area before we secure your final bridge. Doing so will promote the longevity of your bridge.

If you are looking for a more permanent option or do not have healthy teeth to support the crown, we can examine your gum tissue and bone to qualify you for an implant-supported bridge.

Are Dentures Right for Me?

Dentures are a dependable restoration option for missing teeth. If you have budget concerns about implant-supported dentures or have extensive damage from gum disease, dentures are a great option for you.

After a full examination, we will determine your need for further treatment. If you have gum disease, we will perform the treatment to remove disease and bacteria before you receive your final denture. Extraction may be required to remove unhealthy teeth or to prepare for a full denture.

What Do I Need to Know about Dentures?

Once you receive your final dentures, we will discuss with you in detail how to care for them, so that you can achieve the most benefit from your prosthetics.

Adjusting to Dentures

You will experience an adjustment period as you learn to chew, speak, and wear your dentures comfortably. Your gums will eventually adapt to wearing them throughout the day. We will schedule a follow-up visit for any fit-adjustments.

If you experience sore gums during the first month, we recommend that you rinse with warm salt water to reduce inflammation.

Practice chewing and speaking every day, your tongue will need to adjust to its new job of helping keep your denture in place, especially when eating and speaking. Remember to remove your dentures at night to give your mouth time to rest.

Cleaning Your Dentures

We recommend using a gentle cleaning solution to soak your dentures overnight. It’s also important to keep your dentures clean throughout the day. Use a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste after you eat.

Don’t ever use hot, boiling water or bleaching agents on your dentures and be careful not to drop them. Doing any of these can damage your restoration.

Maintain Routine Dental Visits

During routine visits, we inspect any remaining teeth. We will also examine the health of your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth, as well as the fit and condition of your dentures.

We encourage you to schedule an appointment if you are having trouble with your dentures in between routine visits.

Are Dental Implants Worth the Money?

Are you thinking about having implants support your tooth replacements? We will examine your mouth to see if you qualify for them and discuss what the treatment involves as well as the benefits of having implant-supported restorations.

5 Additional Benefits of Dental Implants

  1. Protects the health of neighboring teeth
  2. Stops other teeth from shifting into gaps
  3. Prevents the ‘sunken-in’ look of facial features
  4. Supports ‘natural’ chewing force to keep jaw bone healthy
  5. Returns chewing ability without diet limitations

What to Expect from Dental Implant Placement

During your initial qualifying exam, Dr. Thomas will explore your oral health and create a treatment plan that may involve other procedures to prep your mouth for your final restoration.

It is essential to have a healthy dental foundation to achieve all the benefits of implants. With a 95-98% success rate, we want your implant investment to last a lifetime.

How Long Does It Take to Get Dental Implants?

Treatment time varies depending on your oral health and how long it takes to heal. Gum disease treatment and bone graft procedures can potentially add months to your time-frame.

Once your mouth is ready for placement, we schedule your implant surgery.

The bio-compatible post is placed into the jaw bone and will eventually fuse to the bone through a process called osseointegration.

Once the area has healed (about two to four months), the post is now ready to anchor your restoration using an abutment to connect the two. Dental implants will support crowns, bridges, and full or partial dentures.

Implant-supported crown - A stand-alone artificial tooth that will blend in seamlessly with your smile.

Implant-supported bridge or partial denture - They replace a row of teeth without compromising neighboring teeth, creating a uniform bite. Two implants are used to anchor the restoration in place.

Implant-supported denture - It will replace the upper, lower, or both arches to give you a stable smile of artificial teeth. The dentures will not move or limit your diet choices. Depending on your bone quality and gum health, we can attach the denture to four-six implant posts. We encourage patients receiving lower dentures to consider implant-supported dentures as it can be more difficult to keep in place.

Restore Function and Beauty to Your Smile!

Call our Livonia location for your restorative dental appointment or to schedule an evaluation. We offer quality restorations to patients of all ages at our family dental practice. We look forward to helping you achieve great oral health once more!