These days, thanks to a variety of options for dental restoration, you have many choices for repairing, worn, decayed, damaged or missing teeth and restoring a healthy and beautiful smile. Depending on the nature of your problem, your dentist will perform one of two types of dental restorations:
- Direct. Direct tooth restoration involves placing a filling into a prepared tooth cavity immediately. This procedure can be done in a single office visit. Your dentist chooses from a variety of filling options based on the type and location of the filling. For example, glass or resin ionomers are often used for replacements near the tooth root or other areas not subjected to heavy pressure from chewing.
- Indirect. Indirect tooth restoration involves customized tooth replacements in the form of crowns, onlays, or inlays. A crown covers the entire chewing surface of a tooth, an inlay lies within the cusps of the tooth, and an onlay covers and one or more cusp tip, including part of the chewing surface. An indirect tooth restoration will require more than one office visit because the inlay or onlay must be fabricated in a lab. Crowns, inlays and onlays can be made from a variety of materials. Gold is still used for some inlays, but for someone concerned about white teeth, porcelain and tooth-colored composite resins are other options.