Restorative Dentistry in Palo Alto

What is restorative dentistry?

The term "restorative dentistry" can be used to describe a variety of dental procedures that help patients restore their dental health and regain confidence. Restorative treatments are great for patients who have had an injury, tooth decay, or gum disease. It can be as simple as filling a cavity or as individualized as replacing a missing tooth.

restorative dentist in palo alto

Did you know…

Dental issues can worsen and become more severe and costly the longer you leave them untreated.

Ready to schedule your appointment?

Call (650) 327-3172 today!

What to expect at your initial restorative appointment in palo alto

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Comprehensive Exam

Oral exams are a crucial part of any dental appointment. A comprehensive oral exam is an examination that covers the entire mouth and includes screening for oral cancer, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and other issues that may affect your teeth, gums, or jawbone. This type of exam can also be referred to as a "full mouth" or "comprehensive" exam because it checks every area of your mouth for potential problems.

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Personal Treatment Plan

After your exam, you and Dr. Qian will work together to develop your personal treatment plan. A treatment plan is a detailed outline of the recommended procedures and services. Typically, it includes a timeline for each service and information about what you can expect to happen during your appointment.

Options and Alternatives

We understand that all smiles are unique and as such, no treatment plan is one-size-fits-all. We take the time to walk you through all your possible treatment options to choose the right course for you based on your budget, schedule, and goals. Whether it’s scheduling your next consultation or getting you in for a filling, we’ll take it one step at a time, together.

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Sedation Solutions

Our team is committed to ensuring safe and comfortable dentistry. For those who are nervous about their treatment or have difficulty sitting still due to dental anxiety, we offer a variety of sedation options. If you are interested in sedation, we will gladly discuss your options with you and determine what is best for your situation.

Appointments & Follow-Ups

If you are coming to us to treat a dental emergency in Palo Alto, you’ll need to receive treatment as soon as possible. In these cases we may be able to offer same-day care, depending on availability and the severity of your issue. Otherwise, after your cleaning and initial exam, we will simply schedule your next follow up appointment. We’ll be sure to get you in for a day and time that is convenient for you.

Restorative Treatment Options

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Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are a common dental procedure used to restore teeth that have been decayed by cavities or compromised by other damage. Dr. Qian can use different materials for the filling depending on your oral health and the location of the damage. Composite resin, gold alloys, metal amalgam, porcelain, and glass ionomer cement are all types of material traditionally used in fillings. If you have a cavity, it is important that we address it as soon as possible to prevent further damage. If left untreated, a cavity will eventually require more invasive procedures like root canal therapy or extraction to restore your oral health.

Inlays and Onlays

Dental inlays and onlays are a restorative procedure to improve the function, appearance, or both of teeth. A dental inlay is when there is an artificial tooth-shaped filling that goes over the surface of a damaged tooth. Dental onlay is when an artificial tooth-shaped filling goes over a structural defect or fracture within the natural crown of a tooth. They can be made from either porcelain or composite resin material and are usually larger than traditional fillings.

Lab-Made Crowns

Lab-made crowns are created by a dental technician at an outside lab. These dental prosthetics restore damaged teeth, covering the entire tooth down to the gum line. Dr. Qian will first trim your tooth and shape it into a strong platform for attaching your new crown before taking an impression or scan and sending it to our state-of-the-art partner lab where they will craft your custom restoration.

While your custom crown is being made in the lab, we will place a temporary crown and send you on your way. When we receive your permanent crown from the lab, we will have you come back for a quick placement appointment. We will check the fit and make sure it sits comfortably in your smile.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic that replaces one or more missing teeth. The process of installing the dental bridge will involve placing crowns on the two adjacent teeth and cementing them together to support the new tooth.

The advantages of having a dental bridge are numerous, but they include better chewing ability, improved speech, less sensitivity from exposed roots, and an overall improvement in oral health because it supports natural teeth.


There are two parts to the dental implant procedure. The first is the post of the dental implant, which is inserted into the gum and jaw bone and will act as a "root" to support the restoration.

The second part is the restoration, commonly known as a dental crown. These dental implant crowns are secured to the posts of the dental implant. The restorations are designed to look like natural teeth. Since the posts act like a tooth root, dental implants also feel more natural than other teeth replacement options.

Did you know…

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Over 3 million Americans have replaced missing teeth with dental implants.

Interested in restorative services?

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Have questions about restorative dentistry? Find answers here.

What issues can restorative dentistry solve?

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Restorative dentistry comes with many benefits such as preventing tooth decay, keeping your mouth healthy and looking good! Restorative dentistry can restore the form and function of damaged and missing teeth and prevent further damage from occurring. Also, if you’ve experienced dental trauma due to an injury or an accident, restorative dentistry can help you get your smile back!

What are the benefits of restorative dental procedures?

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Restorative dental treatments seem like a daunting process, and one that many people would rather avoid. However, thanks to modern techniques and advanced technology, restorative dentistry is more comfortable and convenient than ever! By getting restorative dental treatment when you need it, patients can avoid future complications and more costly procedures. By getting the care you need, you can save time and money in the long run and get peace of mind knowing that you are doing right by your smile. Restorative dentistry not only restores your oral health, but also gives you back your confidence and improves the overall appearance of your smile too.

What is considered a dental emergency?

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A dental emergency is any condition that requires immediate attention which you can not treat yourself. This includes persistent toothaches, oral pain or discomfort, broken or chipped teeth, missing dental work, and bleeding gums. If you’re not sure if you’re experiencing a dental emergency, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Contact our office right away to get the emergency treatment you need.

Is restorative dentistry covered by insurance?

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Some insurances cover at least a portion of the cost of necessary restorative procedures, but the extent of your coverage may vary based on your policy. For example, your dental insurance provider may cover a simple filling or root canal, but may not offer full coverage for dental implants. To better understand your coverage, we recommend getting in touch with your insurance provider to understand your financial responsibility, if any. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have and would be glad to help you maximize your insurance benefits at our Palo Alto office.

Are Restorative Dental Procedures Painful?

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You never have to worry about being in pain or discomfort during your restorative procedure at Mary Qian Dental Group. Dr. Qian will always administer local anesthesia before performing any type of invasive or minimally invasive procedure that involve tools like dental drills or needles. 

If desired, we can use a combination of anesthetic and dental sedation for ultimate relaxation and comfort. This not only prevents pain sensation, but also deeply relaxes you, melts away feelings of anxiety, and makes you feel sleepy. 

Sedation also causes little to no memory of the dental procedure which can help treat dental phobia, as it prevents memory recall of traumatizing dental situations. Remember, one of the primary purposes of restorative dental treatment is to relieve pain and discomfort, whether this is from tooth decay, infection, dental trauma, or injury. 

When tooth decay reaches the deeper layers of the tooth, where the nerves are located, this can cause severe and debilitating pain. We can relieve this pain immediately through anesthetic and root canal treatment which removes the source of infection or tooth decay. 

Can I Wait to Get My Restorative Dental Treatment?

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If you have an active oral health problem such as signs of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth infection, or a damaged tooth, you should get it treated as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher risk you are for a worsening infection that will spread to the other teeth or through your bloodstream which can be life-threatening if left untreated. 

Untreated tooth damage and decay can result in tooth loss that makes it more difficult to chew and speak and causes aesthetic issues with your smile. Most importantly, when you lose a tooth, you suffer from jawbone loss that only worsens over time and can never grow back. 

Bone resorption can cause facial sagging, changes to your bite, and collapsing facial features over time. Your teeth will shift and cause orthodontic problems if you don’t replace a missing tooth right away and then there won’t be enough space for a tooth restoration until you undergo orthodontic treatment which can be expensive. 

All of this can be avoided if you undergo restorative treatment promptly, which will save you time and money in the long run.

How Long Do Restorative Dental Treatments Last?

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This depends on the specific treatment, its location, your oral hygiene, and individual lifestyle factors. A restoration will typically last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. However, when restorations are placed in the rear teeth, they must be fabricated of stronger and more durable materials. 

This will prevent breakage and damage from the significant chewing forces that the rear molars have to withstand. It's also important that you regularly brush, floss, and attend dental cleanings to prevent recurring oral health problems. 

To extend the lifespan of your restorative dental treatment, you should practice good oral hygiene, avoid tobacco products, limit your consumption of staining foods and drinks, and wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth.

Don’t chew on anything that isn’t food such as your fingernails or use your teeth as tools. A root canal treatment, when performed successfully, can permanently restore the health of your tooth, but this depends on you properly maintaining good oral hygiene. 

Fillings can last for as little as 5 years or as long as 30 years. Implants have a lifespan of 25 years to a lifetime, crowns and bridges, inlays, and onlays can last for up to 15 years. If you're interested in restorative dentistry, contact us to schedule a consultation.

Did you know…

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About a quarter of American adults are missing all of their teeth. Restorative dentistry can help you avoid tooth loss altogether.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

Call (650) 327-3172 today!