Traditional dental restorations, or fillings, include porcelain, amalgam/silver and composite. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, often in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, were originally used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, but are now used on back teeth as well because of the high level of strength, good wearability, and excellent aesthetics.
What's right for me?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations, including:
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that the tooth will have to bear
- How deeply into the tooth the decay or existing filling extends
Before your treatment begins, your doctor will discuss with you all of your options and potential outcomes of having fillings placed in your tooth to remove decay. At our office, the method we use is Direct Fillings.
- Direct Fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist anesthetizes you, then prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it in one appointment.
The other type of filling is called an Indirect Filling. Due to the higher cost to the patient, and minimal gain in quality of the final restoration, Drs. Resop and Dr. Schrubbe very rarely use this type of filling.
- Indirect fillings 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 dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory, which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.