Tooth Restorations

Tooth restorations are methods used to restore damaged, missing and worn out teeth.

Types of tooth restorations

There are different types of restorations:

  • Direct restorations
  • Indirect restorations

Direct restorations
In direct tooth restorations, your dentist places a tooth filling into the affected tooth. It is a fairly short procedure as it may take only a single visit to complete.

Indirect restorations
For indirect restorations, customized tooth replacements are used to restore your tooth’s health. These replacements include crowns, onlays or inlays. This procedure requires more than one clinic visit. This is because some replacements must be fabricated in a lab.

Tooth fillings

Tooth fillings are a type of direct restoration. They help restore the shape and function of a decaying tooth. It also prevents further decay by covering areas the areas open to bacteria.

There are different kinds of fillings. Your dentist will select the option to use depending on various factors:

  • the extent of the repair
  • existence of any allergies to certain dental materials
  • the location of the filling
  • the cost of the filling

Types of Fillings

The types of fillings available are:

  • Composite fillings. They are made from a mixture of fine glass and plastic materials. They match the colour of the tooth and, as such, are often placed on the front teeth.
  • Amalgam fillings. These are often placed on the back teeth. They are made from a mixture of metals such as silver and mercury.
  • Gold fillings. They are a highly durable material, but are also very costly.
  • Ceramic fillings. They are made of porcelain and are the same colour as the teeth. They are more brittle than composite fillings, but are also more stain-resistant.
  • Glass ionomer. These are made from components of glass; it’s a very strong filling. They are mostly used in cases of severe decay or in filling baby teeth.

The procedure

Your dentist will likely begin by administering a local anesthetic. This lessens any pain that you may experience during the procedure. After the anesthesia numbs the area, your dentist will remove decay from the tooth. They must eradicate all decay before placing the filling.

After the eradication of the decay, your dentist will shape the space for the filling. The type of filling determines the shaping procedure used. Sometimes, the dentist will place a base inside the tooth to protect the nerves in the tooth.

There are some types of fillings that harden through the use of a special light. For these types of fillings, your dentist will stop between layers to shine on the resin.

After completing the placement, your dentist will use burs to polish the surface.

After the procedure

After the filling procedure, your tooth might be sensitive. Pressure, cold air, sweet foods and cold beverages might cause discomfort. Some patients even experience numbness, tingling and minor pain around the injected area. These side effects are normal and should ease off within a few hours of the procedure.

The sensitivity often subsides in 1 – 2 weeks. If you continue to experience pain or sensitivity after 2 weeks, contact your dentist.