As the name suggested reconstructive dentistry is a little more involved than providing simple fillings. This field of dentistry sometimes requires more complex treatments to solve larger problems, and may sometimes involve drawing on the expertise of other dental specialists as part of a larger team.
Reconstructive dentistry could be considered as taking a ‘whole mouth’ approach to correcting patient’s issues, rather than ‘single-tooth dentistry’, where each individual tooth is treated somewhat independent of everything else.
Patients who seek reconstructive dentistry often present to the clinic hoping to correct front teeth that look cracked, broken or worn down.
On closer examination, this excessive wear on the front teeth is often caused by back teeth that have been either removed or worn flat, causing the front teeth to be exposed to excessive bite forces. This is often made worse if a patient suffers from a clenching and grinding disorder, or a tooth-damaging medical condition such as dry mouth or gastric reflux.
Correcting this issue involves taking a ‘whole mouth’ approach. In order to create the space at the front of the mouth for teeth to be rebuilt to their normal proportions, a dentist will need to address the issues at the back of the mouth that led to the overload in the first place. This may involve replacing or rebuilding back teeth to ‘prop open’ the bite and allow space for the front teeth to be rehabilitated.
It may also be necessary to address issues such as tooth clenching and grinding, or underlying medical conditions or social behaviors that may have contributed to the problems in the first place.
In reconstructive dentistry, the general dentist is often the project manager, coordinating the efforts of a wider dental team. Reconstructive dentistry may draw on a number of disciplines, including:
Prosthodontics: Rehabilitating teeth that are heavily worn or broken down by restoring them with materials more sophisticated than simple fillings, materials such as crowns, bridges and onlays. This often includes ‘opening bites’ that have been worn flat over the years, to help provide space to rebuild teeth to their original proportions.
Implant Dentistry: restoring missing tooth roots with small titanium screws that can be used to secure new teeth and/or dentures. In reconstructive dentistry this is often used to replace missing back teeth, to improve bites and take the pressure off worn front teeth, allowing them to be rebuilt to their original proportions.
Dental Prosthetics: Restoring large areas of missing teeth with high quality removable dentures, again often with the goal of improving bites so that front teeth can be rehabilitated.
Periodontics: Ensuring the gums, ligaments and bone that support the teeth are in good condition and will support complex dental work.
Endodontics: Ensuring that the nerves and blood vessels that supply natural teeth are free of infection and disease.
Orthodontics: Ensuring teeth are aligned in such a way as to be both aesthetically pleasing and to function in such a way as to not damage the teeth themselves, the dental work attached to them or the jaw joints, soft tissues and bony structures supporting them.
Oral Surgery: Some problems require surgical assistance. Removal of problematic teeth (such as wisdom teeth) and the surgical correction of problems such as jaw asymmetries can all assist in proving a good foundation for stable dental reconstructions and long-term good dental health.
Oral Medicine: Managing the effect general health has on the mouth. This often involves managing gastric reflux (which can be very destructive to teeth), dry-mouth (caused by a number of medical conditions and the medications used to treat them), temporo-mandibular joint disorders, chronic tooth clenching and grinding and chronic dental pain caused by conditions not related to the teeth specifically (this can get pretty complicated!)
Reconstructive dentistry is one of the most satisfying services our dental clinic can provide, and can be life-changing for the patients involved.
As with all our dental services, not all reconstructive dental treatments are suitable for every patient, but our team can help to discuss with you the range of treatment options available and to help find the one best suited to your personal needs, without breaking the budget.