A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. It is also lost intentionally during tooth preparation to improve the aesthetics or the physical integrity of the intended restorative material. Dental restoration also refers to the replacement of missing tooth structure that is supported by dental implants.
Dental restorations can be divided into two broad types: direct restorations and indirect restorations. All dental restorations can be further classified by their location and size. A root canal filling is a restorative technique used to fill the space where the dental pulp normally resides.
Restoring a tooth to good form and function requires two steps, (1) preparing the tooth for placement of restorative material or materials, and (2) placement of restorative material or materials.
The process of preparation usually involves cutting the tooth with special dental burs, to make space for the planned restorative materials, and to remove any dental decay or portions of the tooth that are structurally unsound. If permanent restoration can not be carried out immediately after tooth preparation, temporary restoration may be performed.
The prepared tooth, ready for placement of restorative materials, is generally called a tooth preparation. Materials used may be gold, amalgam, dental composites, resin-reinforced glass ionomers, porcelain or any number of other materials. Preparations may be intracoronal or extracoronal.
The composite filling material contains acrylic and glass particles, no mercury.
The tooth-colored filling material looks very nice and natural.
This type of filling material is already hard when you leave the dental office, therefore, you can chew on it whenever you like.
Less tooth structure is lost because the dentist can make a smaller preparation.
The composite filling material is more expensive.
This type of filling usually takes the dentist a little longer to do.
Composite fillings can stain over a period of time depending on factors such as tea, coffee and tobacco use.
These fillings do not get whiter if you bleach your teeth.
Composite fillings are strong on back teeth, but not as strong as amalgam.
Insurance companies will not always pay for composite fillings on back teeth.