Cavities can happen to anyone—regardless of age. The worst thing you can do is ignore a cavity because it won’t go away on its own. Regular checkups are a must to catch a cavity in its early stage, and a filling can take care of it quickly.
What Are Fillings?
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, include gold, porcelain, 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.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Often called composite resins, these compounds are used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is essential. Still, they can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
Types of Fillings.
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity, and expense of dental restorations, including:
- The components used in the filling material
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that the tooth will have to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
Before your treatment begins, your doctor will discuss all of your options and help you choose 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 placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it in one appointment.
- 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 restoration. The dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity at the next appointment and adjusts it as needed.