There are many reasons why people remodel their kitchens, bathrooms, or living rooms. Wear and tear, bad plumbing, mold, and mildew, leaks due to broken grout, or just being tired of living with your old kitchen counter top are a few reasons why updating our homes becomes necessary. In contrast to a kitchen, or any other part of the house that can be easily replaced and remodeled, we have only one set of teeth. Any invasive dental treatment of the mouth is irreversible in nature. Preventive and protective care, therefore, is essential to the tooth’s health and determines its longevity.
Wear, habits, acidic challenges of foods, presence of oral biofilm (bacteria, viruses, and fungus) take a hard toll on teeth and gums over time. The mouth is also built “not to complain”; we feel pain and problems only when problems are advanced. Therefore preventive maintenance is very important. Preventive maintenance does not concern only the health of the gums and cleaning of teeth but also focuses on maintaining existing dental work in good condition. Margins around dental restorations may become defective over time allowing bacteria to enter and damage remaining tooth structure. When it comes to treating teeth one rule applies: “Less is more”. When old fillings need to be replaced, depending on the extent of tooth damage, there are options to restore the tooth. Today, advancements in adhesive dentistry and bonding techniques often allow for quality repair rather than getting a crown. While sometimes necessary, the crown is a very invasive procedure requiring the tooth to be ground down to the gum line, sometimes resulting in nerve damage that necessitates a root canal. Once ground down that tooth structure is gone for good. Having a crown that goes to the gum line makes achieving healthy gums more difficult. Not every tooth needs a dental crown and root canal, but perhaps may only need repair with a composite adhesive material or an onlay restoration. The onlay restoration is a more conservative alternative to the dental crown, increasing the strength of the tooth by 75% while leaving much of the original tooth untouched and healthy gums easier to maintain. Thus the dental onlay prolongs tooth life and prevents more dental treatment in the future, protecting the tooth from cusp fractures, and further wear and tear. So when ‘remodeling’ is needed in the mouth some options are less invasive than others and should be explored in order to preserve your teeth.