May 18, 2024
Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry: Treatments for Tooth Decay and Damage

Restorative dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses on restoring the structures and functions of teeth that have been damaged by decay, fracture or other causes. Advances in materials and techniques have allowed dentists to restore teeth to their natural form and function with treatments that preserve tooth structures and prevent further damage. This article will discuss some of the common restorative procedures used by dentists.


One of the most common restorative procedures is placing fillings, also known as dental restorations or tooth fillings. Fillings are used to repair teeth that have small to moderate cavities or fractures caused by decay. The dentist will first remove any decayed material from the tooth and then place a filling in the hole or cavity. Common filling materials include dental amalgam, composite resin, and glass ionomers.

Dental amalgam has been used for over 150 years and contains silver, tin, copper and mercury. It bonds well to tooth structure and is very durable. Composite resin fillings are made of acrylic resin reinforced with glass fibers, silica or quartz. They are tooth colored and match the appearance of natural teeth better than amalgam. Glass ionomers release fluoride and bond chemically to tooth structure to help prevent decay. The dentist will choose the best material based on the size and location of the cavity.

Fillings are able to strengthen teeth and restore their proper shape and function. They aim to prevent further tooth decay by sealing off any spaces where bacteria can grow. With proper dental hygiene and periodic replacement as needed, fillings can last several years before needing repair or replacement.


Crowns, or caps, are Restorative Dentistry that completely cover the entire visible portion of a tooth. Crowns are necessary when a large portion of a tooth is damaged, such as from extensive decay or fracture. They are used to rebuild teeth that cannot be adequately restored with fillings alone due to lack of tooth structure. The dentist will first prepare the damaged tooth by shaving down the sides to allow placement of the crown. An impression is taken and sent to a dental laboratory.

Within a week, the lab creates a crown that precisely matches the shape and size of the prepared tooth. Common crown materials are porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, and all-ceramic zirconia. The new crown is temporarily cemented in place. Crowns help strengthen teeth, improve their appearance and restore proper bite. They protect tooth pulp from damage caused by pressure or new decay under fillings. With advances in materials and techniques, crowns serve patients very well and generally last 10-15 years with proper care.

Root Canal Treatment

When decay or infection reaches deep into the tooth down to the dental pulp tissue inside the root canals or root structure, root canal treatment may be required to save the tooth. The goal of root canal therapy is to remove the infected or inflamed dental pulp and seal off the root canal space. The dentist will first create an opening through the chewing surface of the tooth into the pulp chamber. Using microscopic instruments, they will then carefully remove and clean out all of the infected pulp tissue from the narrow root canal spaces.

Medicaments may be placed into the canals between appointments to disinfect any remaining bacteria. Once the canals are fully cleaned and shaped, the dentist fills and seals them tightly with gutta percha points and cement to prevent reinfection. A temporary or permanent filling or crown is then placed over the tooth to fully encase and protect it. Teeth that receive root canals can function comfortably for many years after endodontic treatment.

Dental Bridges

When one or more teeth are missing, it creates spaces that can be detrimental to a person’s smile, ability to chew and the positioning of surrounding teeth. Dental bridges are custom-made prosthetics that span the gap/s left by missing teeth, restoring both function and aesthetics. They are cemented firmly in place and become part of the dental structure. Bridges can be made from a variety of strong and natural-looking materials like porcelain, metal alloys or composite resin.

To construct a bridge, the dentist first prepares the abutment teeth on either side of the gap by trimming down their chewing surfaces. Precision crowns are then placed on these abutment teeth, creating false roots or pontics that replace the missing tooth/teeth. Bridges are designed to be permanent fixtures that look and function like natural teeth. With proper care, they can last 10-15 years or longer by most estimates. Compared to removable dentures, dental bridges provide superior function, support and comfort levels for patients.

Implant Dentistry

Individual tooth replacement with dental implants is one of the most advanced and natural solutions in modern restorative dentistry. Implants are artificial root devices made from biocompatible titanium that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jawbone where teeth are missing. Once integrated, they act as a sturdy replacement for natural tooth roots, allowing placement of individual crowns or entire bridges.

Some key benefits of dental implants over other options like dentures or bridges are that they do not rely on adjacent natural teeth for support or retention. Implants also prevent bone loss caused by tooth loss since they maintain the structure and function of dental sockets. Single tooth implants look, feel and function just like original teeth. Modern implant procedures offer a very high success rate, often over 95% with the use of computer-guided placement techniques. Implants have transformed restorative dentistry by providing patients with fixed solutions that closely mimic a natural healthy smile.

Through advancements in materials science and minimally invasive techniques, modern restorative dentistry offers solutions that preserve tooth structures, restore function and provide natural aesthetic results. From preventive resin fillings to all-on-4 full mouth reconstruction, treatments empower patients to maintain their natural teeth and smile long-term. With regular professional care and hygiene habits, people have options for comprehensive solutions throughout their lifetime. With ongoing research, future advances will no doubt further improve restorative dentistry outcomes.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it