Dental restorations or dental fillings are placed by the dentist into your teeth using one of many specialised dental materials. The restorations restore the function, integrity and morphology (shape) of the tooth after either the removal of infected tooth tissue due to decay, or fractured tissue due to trauma.
Dental restorations can be divided into two broad types: direct restorations (fillings) and indirect restorations (crowns,veneers and inlays)
Fillings or direct restorations
This technique involves placing a soft or malleable filling into the prepared tooth and building up the tooth before the material sets hard. The advantage of direct restorations is that they usually set quickly and can be placed in a single procedure. Since the material is required to set while in contact with the tooth, limited energy can be passed to the tooth from the setting process without damaging it. Where strength is required, especially as the fillings become larger, indirect restorations may be the best choice.
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This technique of fabricating the restoration outside of the mouth using the dental impressions of the prepared tooth. Common indirect restorations include crowns, veneers, and inlays. Usually a dental technician fabricates the indirect restoration from records the dentist has provided of the prepared tooth.
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 part of the tooth, which can help maintain the surrounding dental tissues.