How Visiting the Dentist Can Improve Your Oral Health & the Quality of Your Life
For some people, visiting the dentist can be a scary and anxiety-ridden experience, but it’s the only way to ensure that your teeth and mouth stay healthy and attractive. In addition to basic cleanings and preventive care, there are two common types of dentistry.
Reconstructive dentistry is the science of physically rebuilding a person’s mouth as a whole (teeth, gums, and jaws) in larger procedures, or one of these separately for less severe issues. Typically, oral reconstruction is performed on patients that have a hereditary issue, or patients who have been in an accident and are missing teeth or need their jaws fixed. The purpose of reconstructive dentistry is to correct structural issues that affect the health of the mouth or cause other problems, such as speech impediments or difficulty chewing.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry deals with surface issues, such as misaligned or discolored teeth. Teeth whitening through bleaching or laser procedures are one of the most common forms of cosmetic dentistry performed in the United States. Other problems that can be corrected with this type of dentistry include excessive gum appearing over the teeth, gaps between teeth, and dental bonding to cover chips or cracks in teeth.
In many cases, insurance will not cover cosmetic dentistry procedures, because they typically do not affect a person’s health or lifestyle the way reconstructive dentistry does.
Reconstructive dentistry is all about healing and rehabilitating genuine medical problems beyond the recommended bi-annual dental check-ups. Routine cleanings and general check-ups ensure that all parts of the mouth are functioning properly, but don’t address medical issues or injuries resulting from accidents.
When looking for a dentist, it’s important to find one that not only offers general dental procedures, but also has experience with reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry.
Types of Reconstructive Dentistry Procedures
There are many different procedures that fall into the reconstructive or restorative category:
- Dental implants: A permanent solution for missing teeth, a dental implant is an artificial tooth that is surgically implanted into the jawbone using a small metal post. This provides the most natural-looking, durable, and comfortable result.
- Orthodontics: This specialty includes the application and maintenance of braces, retainers, and other straightening devices, including clear Invisalign trays.
- Veneers: Often used to correct staining, gaps, chips, or other imperfections, dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that are bonded to the surface of the tooth to create a smooth, uniform appearance. Veneers are typically made from porcelain or a resin composite.
- Crowns: A dental crown is used to strengthen a weak tooth, or to enhance the appearance of a stained, cracked, or chipped tooth. The crown is placed over or around a tooth or implant.
- Full Mouth Reconstruction: Also known as a “smile makeover” or “full-mouth restoration,” this procedure involves the rejuvenation of the entire mouth. The goal is to enhance not only the appearance of the mouth, but also the bite function and overall oral health.
If you are suffering from bite problems, mouth pain, or jaw stiffness—or if you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile—a reconstructive dental procedure could provide the remedy.
Written by Dr. Stephanie Mashni. Dr. Mashni loves a great book along with raising her two children.