Restorations (Dental Filling)
A dental restoration or dental filling is a treatment to restore the function, integrity, and morphology of missing tooth structure resulting from caries or external trauma.
They are of two broad types— direct and indirect— and are further classified by location and size. A root canal filling, for example, is a restorative technique used to fill the space where the dental pulp normally resides.
This technique involves placing a soft or malleable filling into the prepared tooth and building up the tooth. The material is then set hard and the tooth is restored. The advantage of direct restorations is that they usually set quickly and can be placed in a single procedure. The dentist has a variety of different filling options to choose from. A decision is usually made based on where the location and severity of the associated cavity. Since the material is required to set while in contact with the tooth, limited energy (heat) is passed to the tooth from the setting process.
In this technique the restoration is fabricated outside of the mouth using the dental impressions of the prepared tooth. Common indirect restorations include inlays and onlays, crowns, bridges, and veneers. Usually a dental technician fabricates the indirect restoration from records the dentist has provided. The finished restoration is usually bonded permanently with a dental cement. It is often done in two separate visits to the dentist. Common indirect restorations are done using gold or ceramics.
While the indirect restoration is being prepared, a provisory/temporary restoration is sometimes used to cover the prepared tooth to help maintain the surrounding dental tissues.