After decay is removed from a
tooth, something must be placed in that space to give strength
back to the tooth.
Fillings: Fillings are the most common restorative
procedure. Fillings can be silver or white.
Inlays and onlays: In addition to fillings, lab fabricated
inlays and onlays are available in white
porcelain or resin. Although many patients think of these
as fillings as well, they are actually different since they
are laboratory fabricated.
(amalgam) fillings: Silver fillings have been used reliably
for many years. Typically, silver fillings are placed on back
teeth (molars). They are an economical way of providing a
lasting restoration for most cavities.
The material is specially formulated to withstand years of
fillings: White fillings are an alternative to silver
(amalgam) fillings. White fillings are made of a strong composite
resin that is matched to the surrounding tooth color. In the
past, white fillings were placed only on front teeth, but
recently a stronger more durable material has been developed
that can withstand the chewing pressure of back teeth.
White fillings are most commonly used for:
- Cosmetic reasons
- Patients who prefer mercury-free fillings
- Patients with sensitivity
to heat or cold - the composite resin doesn't conduct temperature
changes as fast as silver or gold.
Porcelain or Resin inlay or onlay: A porcelain or resin
inlay or onlay is used when the cavity
is too big for a white resin filling, but isn't so big that
a crown is required. An inlay is
a filling within the cusp tips of the tooth. Onlays (also
known as overlays) will overlay one or more cusps in order
to protect and strengthen the tooth.