Dental restorations, or fillings, are used to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
There are 2 main types of dental restorations: direct and indirect. Direct restorations are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include dental amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers and some resin composite fillings. The tooth is prepared and the restoration is placed and adjusted in one appointment.
Indirect restorations generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics or composites. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared, an impression of the area to be restored is made, and the impression is sent to a dental laboratory, which fabricates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the restoration is cemented in place and adjusted as needed.
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and cost of dental restorations. These factors include: the patient's oral and general health; the components used in the filling material; where and how the filling is placed; the chewing load that the tooth will have to bear; and the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth. Please feel free to ask us about the pros and cons of the various dental materials available and why we make certain recommendations over others.Composite Fillings
At our office, composite resin is most often our restorative material of choice. These mercury free composite fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth-colored filling. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture along with optimal esthetics for our patients. Further, composites are "bonded" or adhesively held in a cavity, which allows us to make a more conservative repair to the tooth by removing less tooth structure.