This is an overview of tooth restoration. The restorations to be described are Amalgams or silver fillings, Bonding or white fillings, Inlays and Onlays, Replacement Crowns and Veneers.
1. An inlay is a solid filling that is cemented into a tooth that has been specially prepared for it.
2. To make this restoration, an impression of the prepared cavity is taken using an elastic material. It is sent to the dental technician who will make the inlay.
3. Most inlays are made of gold or tooth-coloured porcelain.
1. An onlay is a modified inlay. It is also made by a dental technician, from the impression taken of a prepared cavity.
2. It differs from an inlay in that it not only fills the cavity as an inlay does, but also covers and protects the chewing surface of the tooth.
3. It is also cemented into place and may be made of gold or tooth-coloured porcelain.
A replacement crown does exactly what its name implies, it replaces the natural crown of a tooth. It is often simply called a crown. When all, or a large part of the original crown of a tooth has been destroyed by injury or decay, the lost tooth material needs to be replaced. The remaining portion of tooth is trimmed down in preparation for a replacement crown. After taking an impression of the prepared tooth, the dentist sends the impression to the dental technician who will make the replacement crown. This new crown is then cemented onto the remaining part of the tooth. Replacement crowns may be made of porcelain, gold or a combination of the two materials. Temporary crowns are made of acrylic. A replacement crown is also made for a healthy tooth, when it forms part of a bridge, or when it is used to improve the appearance of a tooth.
A veneer is a thin facing of porcelain or plastic material which serves to replace only the front visible part of the tooth. It is used for tooth repair and to whiten the teeth permanently and make the mouth more attractive. After the dentist has prepared the tooth, an impression is taken and sent to the technician, where the veneer is made. The porcelain veneer is cemented into place, using a special cement that bonds it to the tooth. This is a conservative and popular method for improving the appearance of teeth.