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 important, as well as on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth 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 tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that 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, your doctor will discuss all options and help you choose the best filling for your child’s particular case. It may be helpful to understand there are two basic types to restoring a tooth from decay. Direct fillings and stainless steel crowns.
Direct fillings are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include composite (resin) fillings, glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and alloy. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it in just one appointment.
Stainless Steel Crowns are required when the tooth is so severly broken down that a filling cannot be used to restore the tooth to its proper strength. The crown is silver in color, contains no mercury, and is completed in one appointment. It is the recommended procedure when the tooth requires a pulpotomy.