Six steps to quality dental restoration

Thursday, December 12, 2015

6 steps to quality dental restoration

My practice is all about restorative dentistry – getting my patients’ teeth as close as possible to their natural state.

When I see patients, I advise them that it’s crucial for them to know how to assess good dental work and to not place blind faith in their dentist, even me! I like to talk them through how they’ll be able to see for themselves whether I’ve done a good job; or any other dentist for that matter.

The key to a dental restoration – which includes fillings, crowns and veneers – is for the dentist to restore the tooth as close to its natural form as possible.

This is crucial to preventing further problems as it will ensure that at home cleaning is as easy as possible. Although the cosmetics of the restoration are important, this is actually the least important aspect of having a functioning set of teeth.

There are six elements of a good dental restoration, listed here in order of importance:


The seal is similar to waterproofing. It must stop leaks and access for bacteria getting in and causing more damage to your tooth. The seal of any dental restoration is the most important factor and must never be compromised.

Emergence profile

How well you can clean around a restoration is dependent on the emergence profile creating an overall smooth surface – like good woodwork joinery that you can’t feel when you run your hand over it. Floss must not catch or shred in any way on your restored tooth.


Teeth are generally round and curved, and restorations should follow the natural shape of the tooth. Square corners break, shred floss and cause ‘overhangs’ where bacteria will hide and breed.

Contact point

Every tooth has a neighbour – two in fact. The relationship with these neighbours must be consistent with the rest of your mouth. Teeth should sit tightly up against each other, stopping food from getting jammed between them. We call this a ‘tight contact point’.

Occlusion (bite)

Your tooth also has another neighbour, like you do at home, on the other side of the road. This is the tooth on the other jaw that comes together to make the bite. Everyone feels a high bite but not if the tooth is not touching. The bite must not be too low, or the opposing tooth often over-erupts and this will result in an uneven bite in the future.


In addition to the above 5 factors, your dental restoration should look good, although shouldn’t compromise the function. A poor cosmetic appearance is the only factor that won’t affect the health and function of a dental restoration.

The X-ray below shows how a quality dental restoration should look:

Restoration graphic


Next time you visit your dentist, make sure you know what you are looking for. Make sure that your dentist pays attention to all six aspects of your treatment so you can achieve the best outcome for your long-term health.

Want to know more? Read my blog on questions to ask your dentist

Posted in: Advice

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