As a Gold Coast dentist, I’ve noticed some surprising – and misleading – perceptions around dental fillings over my 25+ years of practice.
Where patients talk about fillings, I talk about restorations.
Why is that?
When I’m treating a person’s teeth, I’m hardly working on a piece of art.
Or am I?
A filling – or restoration – is part science and art
No doubt you’ve heard the expression, dentistry is a blend of science and art.
I have to say, it’s a philosophy I subscribe to. And I know my colleagues at Define Dental do too.
Dentistry will always be science-based, however, there’s also a surprising component of art involved in good dentistry too.
This is especially the case with fillings – or restorations – as I like to call them.
I know it’s important to communicate so patients understand me when I use technical terms, which is why I’m keen to explain that a restoration is a term I like to personally use for fillings.
Let’s say a patient has a broken tooth or a hole in their tooth caused by decay.
As a patient, you might understand that treatment as a filling, however what I perform is a restoration.
How should a filling or restoration be done?
In layman’s terms, I don’t just fill a tooth or hole when I perform a filling.
My goal is always to restore the tooth to its original beauty, form, function and strength as closely as possible.
Not as simple as plugging a gap, a careful dentist will do everything they can to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible, treating it like it’s precious. In doing so, they create the best platform for restoring the tooth to its ‘former glory’ – as naturally as possible.
I have performed thousands of tooth restorations over my career.
Regardless of the case complexity, I always strive to put my patients at ease. I reassure them I’ll do everything I can to replicate their original tooth.
I also consider the appearance, function and strength of the tooth in equal measure.
That way I’m giving my patient the best possible outcome, without compromising one aspect of the restoration.
Restorations are good, preventive care is better
There are many reasons I approach restorations this way.
Apart from having some perfectionist tendencies towards my work, the main reason I design restorations this way is another personal philosophy.
I truly believe our teeth were designed to last a lifetime.
As much as possible, we want to look after, and hang on to those original teeth by taking a ‘prevention is best approach’.
I recognise, keeping our original teeth isn’t always possible, but I do believe we need to give it our best shot.
If for some reason – through accident or decay – you need a restoration, it’s vital the form, function and strength of the tooth is re-created as closely as to possible to its natural state.
A restoration that is well done will replicate the original tooth’s shape, allowing you to chew with comfort and ease.
It will also allow your top and bottom jaw to come together without causing your bite to change.
Done to the very highest standard, your restoration should recreate the tooth’s original strength.
A balance needs to be reached here so there is no chance of it causing damage to the opposing natural teeth. This is particularly important if the restoration is easily visible and is the result of a broken tooth.
Created this way, your restoration will give you confidence and peace of mind.
Not all fillings are straightforward, however despite the degree of difficulty for your dentist, the ultimate outcome should always be the same: a tooth that looks, feels and functions for real.
Got questions about your filling or restoration? Submit them here and one of our dentists will respond.
Owned by Dr Les Jabbour, Define Dental is located in Benowa. As the Gold Coast’s premier dental practice that’s been providing quality dental care to local residents longer than any other, Define Dental offer a vast range of dental treatment options for everyone including, teeth whitening, dental implants, veneers and more.