Reconstructive Dentistry is a term that encompasses a wide variety of dental procedures. In general, it is the process of restoring a clean, functional, and aesthetically appealing look to someone’s mouth who has experienced dental issues. Missing or damaged teeth, bone loss, and gum disease are the primary reasons why candidates seek restorative procedures. The benefits of reconstructive dentistry are both mental and physical, often helping a candidate’s wellness and self-esteem at the same time.
What is Reconstructive Dentistry?
Reconstructive – or Restorative – Dentistry includes the replacement of missing teeth, the repair of damaged teeth, and treatments used to address faulty bites and gum disease. It can also cover jawbone and jaw joint work, or simply replacing older dental work that is worn out. The treatment options can generally be grouped into three categories:
- Restorative: fillings, crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays, dentures, and implants
- Corrective: jaw and bite procedures, tissue grafting, tooth extractions, and disease treatment
- Cosmetic: whitening, veneers, bonding, and straightening
Patients with severe issues may need reconstructive procedures from every category, but often they only need one or two items to be addressed. If the damage is extreme, full mouth reconstruction may be necessary to rebuild all the teeth in the patient’s mouth. Many dentists will utilize a combination of cosmetic and restorative treatments, like veneers and crowns, to achieve the optimal “smile makeover” for a patient.
Is Reconstructive Dentistry right for me?
There are many reasons that Reconstructive Dentistry may be right for you.
- Do you have damaged or missing teeth?
- Do you have a crooked/impacted tooth?
- Were you in a traumatic accident that damaged your jaw and/or teeth?
- Do you grind your teeth when you are under severe stress or while you sleep?
- Do you have enamel issues or deep crevices in your teeth that make them prone to cavities?
- Do you have “wear and tear” on your teeth simply due to age?
- Do you have gum disease due to years of dental neglect?
- Have you experienced bone loss in your jaw due to disease or illness?
- Has smoking caused you gum or other dental problems?
- Are you experiencing persistent toothaches, headaches, or neck pain?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you may be a candidate for dental restoration.
What causes damage to teeth, bones, and gums?
Our smiles deteriorate for a whole host of reasons. While some are out of our control – like birth abnormalities, damage caused by traumatic events, and issues caused by tumors or other illnesses – others are entirely preventable with proper dental care. Yet, in this busy world, sometimes brushing the tongue, flossing, and using mouth wash can get lost in the shuffle. In the absence of good oral hygiene, tooth decay and gum disease serve as the major catalysts impacting tooth damage and loss.
Things to watch:
- A sugary, acidic diet will promote the growth of “bad” bacteria in your mouth.
- Fluoride helps make teeth more resistant to acids, so make sure you are getting it in your drinking water.
- Saliva is the body’s natural weapon against plaque. Medications, genetic makeup, and illnesses like Diabetes can all affect your saliva output.
- If you can thank your mother for your hair and eye color, you may also be able to thank her for being cavity-prone. Sometimes bad teeth are in your genes.
- When adult teeth are lost or extracted and not replaced, the bone will eventually begin to deteriorate. The alveolar bone – the bone that holds your teeth – needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Even dentures and bridgework may not provide enough stimulation.
- The longer plaque and tartar can sit on the teeth, the more dangerous they become. The build-up of bacteria can eventually cause gingivitis, which, if left untreated, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. The voids created by this can then become infected – called periodontitis – allowing plaque and bacteria to spread below the gum line. When the body naturally tries to fight this infection, it actually can end up destroying the bone, gums, and tissue that supports the teeth.
What are the benefits?
Reconstructive Dentistry has both physical and mental benefits.
Once a smile has been properly restored, most patients begin to focus more on their oral hygiene. They tend to cut out some of the sugary, acidic foods that were hurting their teeth, and sometimes even quit smoking. Misaligned and missing teeth can also be painful, causing toothaches or headaches. Balancing your bite will relax muscles and nerves, and eliminate pain.
Although the health benefits are important, a restored smile can do wonders for your appearance and self-esteem. When people are proud of their teeth, they tend to be more confident and socialize more with others. Your smile also impacts how others perceive you! A smile with beautiful teeth is more attractive than one with missing or damaged teeth – resulting in an advantage during job interviews and other social situations.
If you think that you might be a candidate for Reconstructive Dentistry in Arlington Va and Tysons Corner, contact us today for a consultation. We would love to make you smile; it’s good for you.