Dental fillings are normally composite materials that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These materials come in a range of colors. The filling materials are used where a natural appearance is important. They are routinely used on front teeth and on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
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
- The components used in the filling material
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
Before your treatment begins, our office will determine what materials will provide the best filling for your particular case. In preparation for this discussion it may be helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings — direct and indirect.
- Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include silver amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist and assistant prepare the tooth, place the filling, and adjusts it in one appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. Crowns and veneers fabricated with ceramic material which match natural tooth color. In some instances, solid gold is used. Crowns are used when a tooth has too much damage to support a filling. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The assistant 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.