Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems that can be prevented with regular home and dental practice care. In most cases, the best treatment for cavities and decayed teeth is a filling. Fillings can be used to treat less severe cases of decay on both the front teeth and the molars, but can also be used to replace the tips on the incisors and the canines or the sealing of erosion of the tooth neck.
In dentistry, a filling is a treatment which includes the insertion of certain materials inside the teeth as an attempt to restore their integrity. A tooth filling procedure starts with drilling, to reveal and clean the affected area. A hole is created, which is then filled using the filling material. Most fillings include a liner, which is needed to provide a base for the filling and close the dentine. A medicinal filling can also be used, which can help with the regeneration of dental tissue. However, medicinal fillings can only be used in the case of extremely severe decay.
The affected area always needs to be removed, after which the filling itself (which can be made from a variety of materials) can be placed.
Cosmetic dental fillings are always made of metal-free, usually light-cure materials, with which a natural look and a durable result can be achieved. For cosmetic fillings, a so-called composite (a plastic material filled with ceramic particles) filler materials are used - the biggest advantage of these materials is cosmetics. They also make it possible to keep more of the original tooth during preparation, and in certain cases even the repair of surfaces or reshaping is possible without drilling. Another simple, quick and cosmetic solution is the replacement of missing pieces on the incisors ro the front teeth, also called bonding - during this procedure, the dentist builds the tooth out of a light-cure material, making the use of a crown unnecessary.
What are inlay and onlay inserts?
Fillings can be made from porcelain, and even gold can be used to create fillings. Both materials are relatively expensive, but gold has the advantage of being very gum-friendly and durable: it can potentially stay inside the teeth for up to 20 years. Neither gold or porcelain are affected by discoloration.
In some cases, the missing area is so big that a filling cannot be used to repair the tooth, in this case a tooth preparation must be used. If, in time, a filling needs to be changed or replaced, the procedure can be done safely. In case the filling stays in place - meaning a piece of the tooth is missing - the dentist can advise the preparation of a much safer insert (inlay or onlay) that protects the tooth. Inlay and onlay inserts are a kind of “glued filling” that are made in dental laboratories, and fixed in place by glue, therefore they count as preparations. Their biggest advantage is their ability to save existing tooth tissue.
What are pressed ceramic crowns and veneers?
Direct restoration is the most modern solution to restore broken, decayed, discolored or chipped teeth, and is usually used on the front row of teeth. With this treatment, the best possible mechanical and cosmetic effect can be achieved, only the affected tissue needs to be removed, and the results are going to be permanent and aesthetically pleasing. During the procedure, great care is given to the natural shape and colour of the preparation, so the restored teeth will look identical to the patient’s own teeth to the naked eye.
Pressed ceramics are a type of metal-free preparation, which is non-allergic, and can achieve outstanding cosmetic effects when used for solo crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers.
Veneers are thin layers made of porcelain glued to the teeth for cosmetic effect. Veneers can partially or completely cover the surface of the tooth, Direct veneers are made of a thin layer of ceramic, and can be put on with the minimal loss of enamel, used on the front row of teeth in most cases. It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing preparations, as it is completely metal-free and very durable. It can also be used with success in the case of discoloration.