What are the different types of fillings?
There are a few different dental restoration options for filling a decayed tooth: composite fillings, inlays, and onlays. The type of filling you get can depend on a variety of factors, such as the severity of the cavity, overall aesthetics, durability, and the location of the filling within the mouth.
Composites, inlays, and onlays are all ideal for preserving your tooth’s natural appearance. Smile Design Dentistry can help you choose the best tooth restoration option based on your specific dental needs.
Composite fillings are a popular choice for dental restoration because they are durable and match the natural color of your teeth. Composite fillings require minimal removal of healthy tooth during the placement process, so more of your natural tooth is preserved. In addition, composite materials bond directly to the tooth and don’t expand or contract with temperature changes. This means they reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity and offer tooth stability and support.
The downsides of composite fillings are that they may not last as long as other types of fillings, and they are more prone to staining or discoloration from substances like coffee, tea, or tobacco. However, good dental hygiene can help to prevent and preserve composite fillings.
Inlays are a type of dental restoration used to repair and strengthen teeth affected by decay or damage. These custom-made pieces, typically made from materials like porcelain, are precisely fitted into the prepared tooth cavity. Their snug fit minimizes the risk of bacteria re-entering the tooth. Inlays offer a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution to restore the function and appearance of the tooth and are often stain-resistant.
Like composite fillings, inlays preserve more of your natural tooth because they only require minimal removal of healthy tooth. However, the creation and placement of inlays typically requires two appointments, as the inlay is custom-made in a dental lab. This can be less convenient than single-visit solutions like direct composite fillings.
Onlays, also known as partial crowns, are a versatile dental restoration option. Onlays are designed to cover and protect a larger portion of a damaged or decayed tooth than inlays, making them an effective solution for restoring a tooth’s shape and function. They are especially valuable when the tooth’s damage extends to its cusps or biting surfaces. Like inlays, they are custom-made out of porcelain, which is tooth-colored, durable, and stain-resistant.
Onlays are minimally invasive and help preserve a significant amount of healthy tooth structure since they cover only the damaged or decayed areas of a tooth. They are also a long-lasting solution because they can withstand the forces of biting and chewing. However, because onlays are made in a dental lab, like inlays they typically require multiple appointments for both creation and placement.
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