Restorative dentistry is the study, diagnosis and integrated management of diseases of the teeth and their supporting structures and the rehabilitation of the dentition to functional and aesthetic requirements of the individual. Restorative dentistry encompasses the dental specialties of endodontic, periodontics and prosthodontics and its foundation is based upon how these interact in cases requiring multifaceted care. In addition, restorative needs not derive from only diseases of the teeth like cavities and medical conditions but also from trauma. "Traumatic injuries to anterior (front) teeth are frequently encountered in children and adults". The degree of the trauma will dictate what restorative treatment will be needed and could involve one or more of the dental specialties listed above.
In regards to dental cavities (decay, caries) "The eventual outcome of dental caries is determined by the dynamic balance between pathological factors that lead to demineralization and protective factors that lead to remineralization". It means that the disease that is decay can be reversed if caught in its early stages of formation. However, if not detected quickly enough then the decay will spread and become a cavity that will continue to spread internally and/or externally of the tooth until a restorative method of intervention takes place. The prevention of decay is always the primary goal; however, the reality is a major proportion of the population needs or already has restorations of some kind. Once placed, restorations have a "shelf life" and their lifetime will be influenced by an array of factors and vary enormously.
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