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envisage Happiness Blog: Restorative Dentistry

We can help with old dental work

We can help with old dental work

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Dr Bali Dhaliwal in Restorative Dentistry (clinic: Alton)

As a dentist in Alton, when we first meet a lot of our clients, a lot of them feel that "if it doesn't hurt then it's okay." Once we take the time to explain and demonstrate exactly what's going on in their mouths, they have found over the years that unfortunately this is not true. Discomfort from failing restorations (whether direct or indirect, both of which we have discussed), is not usual in the early stages. If the tooth underneath has had root canal treatment then discomfort may not occur at all!

So that we can safeguard the underlying tooth structure, it is important that we manage the problem early. This means that we can prevent inevitable toothache by cleaning the irreparable portion of the tooth and "restoring" it. The good thing is that by catching the problem early, we can sometimes simply repair small fillings, which is obviously far more cost-effective than waiting until pain arises or the tooth gives way at an unforeseen time. By investing in protecting what nature gave you, there is far less biological cost too.

The four main triggers for replacement:

  • Decay can develop gradually underneath a restoration in areas that are not directly visible to the dentist, so may only show on an x-ray picture. This is why our 'best practice' strategy is to take some x-ray pictures every so often (depending on other factors e.g. risk of decay and gum disease) to check these hidden areas. Yes, pain can give an idea that there is a problem, but often by this time the tooth warrants further treatment or may not be rehabilitated at all. Even if the living part of the tooth is healthy, often the decay will mean loss of a significant amount of healthy tooth substance that could have been preserved had it been detected sooner. This may then mean that an indirect restoration is needed instead or a direct restoration.
  • Leakage. The wear and tear on restorations can cause them to develop microscopic cracks. If these lead to leakage, bacteria will be able to get under the filling. If left, decay will occur, so replacing them before this occurs means more of the natural tooth is preserved.
  • Wear and tear. All of our teeth work in a fine balance. The chewing forces we put our teeth through is tremendous, and this causes restorations and teeth to wear. By rebuilding these worn areas early, neighbouring teeth are less likely to drift and move position, which means that they are not placed under more force than nature intended. This way, unforeseen breakages of other teeth (and their restorations!) are less likely, and we are able to clean around the teeth as before, which also means your risk of gum disease is reduced. This impacts not only on the mouth but also on general health. See
  • Cosmetics. Teeth and restorations change colour over time. If this affects the appearance in such a way that you are not happy with them, they can often easily be revitalised. We are lucky to have some fantastic new materials at our disposal, which can blend seamlessly with nature.

So that we minimise all of these risks, we follow a very careful and detailed technique and do not hurry, just as we would expect to receive ourselves. We are so confident that we will stick to our word that our Care Promise is to give you peace of mind by guaranteeing our restorative treatments for 1 year. If it fails, we will fix it!*

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