How Teeth Are Restored
After diagnosing the problem and devising a treatment plan, the next step to restore a tooth to health is to make you comfortable. We will give you a local anesthetic so that you do not feel any discomfort. After the decay is removed, the tooth is ready to receive either a direct restoration or an indirect restoration.
A direct restoration means that the tooth can likely be restored in one visit and that there is sufficient tooth structure for the filling to go inside of the tooth. Examples of direct restorations are amalgam, which is silver-colored; and composite, which is tooth-colored. There have been more amalgam fillings placed worldwide than any other kind of filling, but tooth-colored fillings are being placed more frequently in recent years because they match the remaining teeth and look like the natural tooth.
An indirect filling means that the restoration is made outside of your mouth, either by a lab or by a milling machine. An indirect filling also needs to be cemented into place. Examples of indirect restorations are crowns, inlays, and onlays. A crown covers the entire tooth, an inlay fits inside the tooth and can replace a wall of the tooth, and an onlay replaces at least one cusp of the tooth.
Most indirect restorations take two or more appointments to complete, with the exception of restorations that are milled by a machine in the office. Cast gold is the most durable indirect restoration material, but porcelain ceramics are gaining in popularity because of their superior esthetic qualities.
Composite fillings are also called plastic or tooth colored fillings. Getting this kind of filling depends on where the tooth is in your mouth. There is a lot of force applied to the back teeth when we bite, so size and location is important when deciding to use this type of restoration. To place this filling, we remove all decay and other filling material from your tooth. A bonding material is placed and then the composite resin is put into the prepared tooth in thin layers. Each layer gets hard with the help of a special light that we hold over the tooth to cure the material. When the last layer of the filling is hard, we shape the material so it looks and feels natural.
- Single visit
- Conservative tooth preparation
- Does not corrode
Porcelain is the most natural looking of the choices we have to restore teeth. It is used either by itself in veneers, inlays, onlays, and crowns, as well as combined with metal for crowns. Porcelain restorations require two visits or they can be milled in the office with a milling machine. After the porcelain is cemented to your tooth, it is very difficult to notice that the tooth had any treatment at all.
- Resistance to surface wear
- Long lasting
- Wears well as it holds up to chewing force