Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its standard function and shape. Fillings can be gold, porcelain, or composite, and are created to be extremely durable to withstand chewing and other forces.
New dental filling technology includes ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These fillings are often placed on the front teeth, where natural appearance is important, but can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location of the tooth and the severity of decay.
What’s right for me?Many factors impact the performance, durability, longevity, and expense of fillings, including:
- The material used for the filling
- The extent of the decay
- Where and how the filling is placed
- How much chewing load is placed on the tooth
- Length and number of visits needed to prepare and maintain the restored tooth
It is also important to understand the difference between direct and indirect dental fillings.
- Direct fillings are placed into a prepared cavity during a single visit. These include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. In a single appointment, a dentist will prepare the tooth, place the filling, and adjust it
- Indirect fillings tend to require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold, metal, ceramics, or composites. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared and an impression is made to be restored. Next, a temporary cover is placed over the tooth and the impression is sent to a laboratory which creates the restoration. At the following appointment, the restoration is cemented into the prepared cavity and adjusted as needed.
Before your treatment begins, Dr. Tang will discuss all of your options with you and help select the best option for your particular case.