If your dentist has suggested getting CEREC® dental crowns, you probably have a tooth that needs repair or protection. Crowns are the go-to option for patients who have cracked, broken or fractured teeth. They are also used for teeth that cannot be repaired with dental fillings or that have recently undergone a root canal. Before…
What Are Dental Fillings?
When you have cavities, your dentist will recommend dental fillings. Fillings are used to restore the function of teeth that have been damaged by decay. Dentists will remove the decayed portion of the tooth, along with some of the tooth’s structure. Then the filling is placed. Learn more about dental fillings, so you will be ready for your next dental appointment.
An overview of dental fillings
Many people do not realize there are different types of fillings available. People can get direct and indirect fillings at the dentist. Patients can also choose from different filling materials. Go over the various options available before making a selection.
Direct vs. indirect fillings
Dentists can place direct or indirect fillings on teeth. Direct fillings are used for small to medium-sized cavities. Dentists remove the decay and place the filling in the same visit. Many people call this process “chairside fillings” since it only takes a single visit.
Indirect fillings are used for large cavities. The decay eats away at the healthy tooth structure, so the tooth cannot support a direct filling. Dentists prepare the tooth during the first visit and take an impression. The impression is sent to a dental lab and a technician fabricates the indirect restoration. Then the dentist places it on the tooth. These restorations are called inlays and onlays.
Dentists place dental inlays and onlays inside of the tooth to replace the portion removed due to decay. Inlays only repair the inside of the tooth. On the other hand, onlays also extend to cover at least one cusp. Both inlays and onlays are bonded in place. This process strengthens the tooth and restores its function.
Dentists have lots of materials at their disposal for fillings. Dentists choose from gold, silver amalgam and composite resin for direct fillings. Gold is the most durable. It lasts for up to 20 years, but many people do not like it because of its cost and look. The gold stands out when people talk and smile, and that makes some patients uncomfortable.
Silver fillings are also very durable. These fillings last for up to 15 years, but they are not aesthetically pleasing. The fillings are noticeable, so many people choose composite resin. The tooth-colored material blends in with natural teeth. Composite resin fillings last up to 10 years.
Porcelain is used for indirect fillings. Porcelain also matches the natural teeth, so the restoration blends in. Porcelain is also stain-resistant and highly durable. Indirect fillings typically last for up to 15 years. In some cases, the restorations can last even longer.
Get help with dental fillings
You have lots of options for dental fillings. You can choose between direct and indirect fillings and also select a filling material. You do not have to make these decisions on your own. Your dentist will examine you and help you decide the right option for your needs. Then you can move forward and get your filling.
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