Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, include gold, porcelain, composite or amalgam. (Note: Sierra Crest Dental is Mercury-Free and Safe. We do not place amalgams and are trained to remove them safely.) The strength and durability of traditional dental materials make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, often in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, but they are also used on the back teeth when enough tooth structure remains to fill them.
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 remaining tooth structure
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load the tooth will have to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
Before your treatment begins, Dr. Colpitts or Dr. Delaney will discuss all your options with you 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 into a prepared cavity during a single visit. They include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. We prepare the tooth, place the filling, and adjust it in one appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold or porcelain. During the first visit, our team prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. Then Dr. Colpitts or Dr. Delaney will place a temporary crown over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory, which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the restoration is bonded into the prepared cavity and adjusted as needed.