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The case against ‘patch work’ restorative dentistry

Fixing one tooth at a time can compromise your long term results.

Consider for a moment that you find a crack in one of your bathroom tiles. You remove it and replace it with a shiny new tile. It looks pretty good but a few months later, you notice a crack in another old tile so you remove that tile and replace it. On the cycle goes until one day you look at your bathroom floor and realise it’s a mix of mismatched, unstable tiles…and the cracks keep coming.

If you’d looked at the underlying cause of the first broken tile you would have discovered that perhaps the floor of your house was uneven and not enough tile adhesive had been placed underneath. You could have levelled the floor and ensured there was enough adhesive to create a solid foundation for all the tiles. In an even more perfect world, you would have ensured the prep work was ideal from the beginning or addressed the underlying issues before the first tile broke.Now imagine those tiles are your teeth. If you keep fixing one tooth at a time you’re never going to get a cohesive long term result. You need to take a whole mouth approach and not wait until something breaks to get it fixed otherwise you could end up with more issues, more cost and a less than ideal result.

Here are just some of the problems with a tooth by tooth approach to restorative procedures.

tooth approach

You’re addressing the symptom but not the cause.

When something ‘breaks’ there are a lot of factors that contribute to the break, often over a long period of time. These factors could include poor filling design, tooth/filling overuse and dilapidation.

Every contributing factor needs to be carefully analysed and addressed as part of a holistic treatment plan if you want a cohesive long term result. Otherwise, as per the bathroom example above, you’ll get stuck in a cycle of fixing the symptom but never the underlying cause.

You could do more damage than good.

The mouth is an ecosystem in which each tooth has a role to play in maintaining your alignment, bite and chew. Locking a new ‘fix’ into a mouth full of deterioration can cause more dental problems to arise. For example, placing a single crown into an unstable bite might lead to faster wear in other parts of your mouth and contribute to degeneration in your jaw joints.

If you want a successful resolution to a dental problem, you have to consider the impact a single restoration will have on your mouth as a whole. A more holistic treatment plan may prevent a big ticket problem emerging down the track.

An inconsistent result despite the investment.

When you get into the cycle of fixing one tooth or problem at a time, you can end up with a mouth full of restorations that are different ages and materials. More importantly, these restorations may have been forced to fit your existing bite rather than designed holistically to create your ideal bite.

By working with a restorative dentist on a whole mouth approach, you can achieve a healthier, consistent and long-lasting result that is easier and more cost effective to maintain.

Restorative dentistry

When you’re investing in restorative dentistry, you want to know that your treatment plan will address the underlying causes of your dental problems while creating a consistent, enduring and aesthetically pleasing result.

By taking a comprehensive approach, we can ensure that you won’t get caught in a break-fix-break cycle where the end result never quite meets your expectations. We can also ensure that any issues are identified and addressed long before a problem occurs.

If you’re ready to invest in a healthy, long term solution to your restorative dental care, please book a consultation. You can also read some of my client case studies on my website to find out how I’ve improved my clients’ quality of life.