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There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain,amalgam (silver) and composite resin(bonding). The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
What's Right for Me?
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 with you all of your options, and help you choose the best filling for your particular case. To help you prepare for this discussion it may be helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings — direct and indirect.
- Direct fillings are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include amalgams (silver) and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it in just one appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays and onlays, and are composed of either ceramic or gold alloy. 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 filling in 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.