At some point, most patients will require a dental filling. A dentist may use a dental filling in a number of situations. You are likely familiar with the idea of a dental filling being used to treat cavities. But dental fillings may also be used to treat other conditions such as:
- Small cracks or chips
- Worn teeth, especially along the edges
- Small spaces or gaps between teeth
- Minor discoloration including staining or white spots
Tooth Colored Dental Fillings
There are several different types of dental fillings. In most cases, Dr. Harper will suggest a tooth colored dental filling, made either of composite resin or ceramic. Tooth colored fillings are an excellent alternative for long term durability and function.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings, also known as white fillings are a type of direct filling. The composite material is applied directly to the tooth and sculpted into form by the dentist. White fillings are best suited for minor issues including small cavities, minor discoloration or small chips.
A composite filling can be bonded to the tooth in a single visit and provides significant durability. A composite filling is not as long lasting as a metal or ceramic tooth filling, however, and may need to be touched-up after five or more years.
Porcelain Fillings (Inlays/Onlays)
Like composite resin fillings, porcelain fillings are virtually invisible once they are placed on the tooth. A porcelain fillings is an indirect filling. The dentist will take a mold of the tooth and plan the restoration that will be hand crafted by an expert ceramist in a dental laboratory.
Porcelain fillings can be categorized as an Inlay or an Onlay:
- Inlays are a type of porcelain filing that lies within the cusps (contours) on the chewing surface of the tooth.
- Onlays, also known as partial crowns, are more extensive, covering one or more cusps.
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