A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. It is also lost intentionally during tooth preparation to improve the aesthetics or the physical integrity of the intended restorative material. Dental restoration also refers to the replacement of missing tooth structure that is supported by dental implants. It can be divided into two broad types: direct restorations and indirect restorations. All dental restorations can be further classified by their location and size. A root canal filling is a restorative technique used to fill the space where the dental pulp normally resides.
There are several types of materials that can be used for dental fillings:
The standard procedure for dental fillings involves several steps:
Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, gold and porcelain fillings are more expensive but offer greater durability. Silver amalgam fillings are less expensive but may cause aesthetic concerns due to their color. Composite resins offer aesthetic benefits but may not be as durable as other materials.
Indirect fillings are similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings but are made in a dental laboratory. They are used when there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling but the tooth is not so damaged that it requires a crown. They can be made of various materials and are more durable than traditional fillings.
While dental fillings are generally considered safe, there are some risks and safety concerns associated with certain types of fillings. For example, silver amalgam fillings contain mercury, which has led to safety concerns for pregnant women and young children.
After receiving a dental filling, it's important to maintain good oral hygiene. This includes regular dental check-ups, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing. If you experience any issues such as sensitivity or pain, consult your dentist immediately.
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