What is a dental restoration?
A dental restoration is also called a filling. It is the repair of a damaged or decayed tooth that restores it back to it’s normal shape,function and appearance. There are different types of materials used to repair teeth for particular situations.
Why should a damaged tooth be repaired? A tooth should be repaired to prevent further decay or injury to the tooth, to prevent the the loss of your tooth, to prevent decay from spreading to other teeth, to permit normal eating and chewing, and to improve upon the appearance of your smile.
What are the available dental restorations?
Amalgam fillings are made of two or more metals that are held in place by the shape of the prepared cavity. Although there is ongoing debate about the mercury toxicity, latest scientific tests showed no posed health risks. Other alternatives can be used, however there are some advantages and disadvantages that should be explained.
Bonding or composite restorations are made of a plastic coloured tooth material. The filling material is fused to the tooth in layers shaped to it’s original form using an ultraviolet light to harden the material. It can be chewed on immediately after it has been completed, an advantage it has over amalgam. Inlay restoration is a solid filling that is cemented into a tooth that has been specially prepared for it. An initial impression is taken of the prepared cavity and sent to the dental technician who will make the inlay out of tooth coloured porcelain or gold. An onlay restoration is similar to an inlay restoration only it covers and protects the chewing surface of the tooth.
A porcelain veneer is a thin facing of porcelain material that replaces only the front visible portion of the tooth. Ideally used for tooth repair and to whiten the teeth. The tooth is prepared, an impression is taken and sent to the lab where it is made. The porcelain veneer is then cemented to the tooth.
A crown is a covering that replaces the natural covering of the tooth that has been damaged by decay or injury. The tooth is prepared, an impression taken, and sent to the lab for construction. It is then cemented in place to the remaining tooth structure. Crowns are made of porcelain, gold or a combination of the two.