Restorative dentistry is one of the most fundamental disciplines of classic dental medicine that involves treating of the caries caused cavitations and fractured tooth parts.
Today, it has been proven that dental caries remains one of the most common and widespread contemporary diseases. We can define it as a localized pathological process of microbic origin that leads to the demineralization of the solid tooth tissues.
Bacteria that inhabit the solid spaces inside the mouth are organized in biofilm (plaque). The basic ingredient for nutrition of bacteria consists of the remnants of food in the mouth cavity in the form of sugar. When the bacteria digest, as a side effect of their sugar metabolism, acids are released which cause demineralization of the tooth surface. With the progression of the surface demineralization, cavitation («cavity»), also known as dental caries, is formed.
Dental caries can be classified according to different criteria, depending on the thickness of the infected tooth tissue. The most common is the classification of dental caries into superficial caries and deep caries. The progression of dental caries causes different symptoms and it can eventually lead to the infection of the pulp (nerve). The pulp treatment and the root canal treatment are the major concerns of endodontics.
The main aim of restorative dentistry is to diagnose dental caries, remove demineralized and bacteria infected tooth tissue inside the cavitation and to replace the missing tooth tissue with an appropriate material.
In the past, non-aesthetic materials were used to restore the tooth tissue, among which amalgam is, certainly, the most widely known. However, in recent years amalgam is hardly used anymore due to the lack of adhesiveness to tooth structure and because of its grey metallic colour. Materials used today are aesthetic, their colour and transparency faithfully imitate the natural tooth, they have excellent mechanical properties and when implemented correctly, they adhere to the tooth surface in order to form with it a unique whole.
When fillings are made they tend to imitate the tooth surface as much as possible, by shaping pits and fissures in order to facilitate the even distribution of chewing forces, and to restore its functions and aesthetics.