There are many restorative materials used to ‘fill’ a tooth that has been destroyed, broken, damaged or previously filled.
SOME OF THE FACTORS IN MAKING A CHOICE ARE:
- Where – front or back tooth?
- Has there been a previous filling?
- Is it on a biting surface?
- How big is the cavity?
- Does it show?
THE MAIN MATERIALS AVAILABLE
- Plastic materials made of glass and resin
- Used as filling and to repair defects.
- Tooth coloured, the composites bond to the tooth tissue.
- Especially used for front teeth – for appearance.
- Very good colour match.
- More costly than amalgam and may be less strong when used in back teeth.
- Composite Filling
- Tooth coloured and made of fine glass powders.
- Used to fill cavities – especially on root surfaces close of the gum margin.
- Bonds to tooth tissue (dentine).
- Contains fluoride, which is slowly released and helps prevent decay.
- Has less resistance to wear then composite resins and so is not good on biting surfaces.
- Made of a mixture of Silver, copper, tin, zinc and mercury.
- Durable, long lasting, cost effective and the most commonly used material in back teeth, which have to withstand heavy use.
- Not used in front teeth because of colour.
- A metal appearance.
- Metal combinations – especially gold with platinum or palladium to harden.
- Very strong custom made glass
- Excellent colour and being used more and more for fillings/inlays.
- Both alloys and porcelain used as fillings are more costly – both because of the time needed and the material’s cost.
ONLAY / INLAY
An onlay is where the tooth tissue is broken away and the restoration covers the tooth biting surfaces, or it is covered to prevent further fractures.
An inlay fits inside the tooth contours. These restorations usually need two visits. At the first – preparation of the tooth, and a mould is taken. At the second – fitting, cementing and polishing.
Preoperative occlusal view of failing Amalgam restoration.
Postoperative view of replacement porcelain inlay.