Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, and composite. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is valued, as well as on the back teeth, depending on the location and extent of decay.
What’s right for your child?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity, and expense of dental restorations, including:
- The components used in the filling material
- The amount of remaining tooth structure
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load the tooth will have to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
Before your child’s treatment begins, the doctor will discuss all options and help you choose the best filling for your youngster’s particular case. It may be helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings: direct and indirect.
- Direct fillings are placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. A dentist will prepare the tooth, place the filling, and adjust it during a single appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. Then he or she places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory that creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.