After a tooth has developed enough decay that a concavity has formed it becomes necessary to remove the effected area and all bacteria present and restore that tooth to its original form with a filling.
Dental fillings have evolved over the years from gold, amalgam (silver), and now composites (tooth colored). Gold is rarely used any longer, and the amalgam materials are being used less and less, however the type of filling material is dependent on factors present in each individual situation. It’s best to consult with your dentist regarding the pros and cons to which material is best for you at that time.
Teeth can be restored to their original form in two ways. It is helpful to have an understanding of each:
First, Direct Restorations: A direct restoration is another way of saying a “filling”. You come into the office, the decay is removed, and a filling is placed at the same time.
Second, Indirect Restorations: An indirect restoration is what needs to occur when an impression needs to be taken of the prepared tooth after the decay has been removed and a lab makes the “filling” out of gold, porcelain, or composite. These “fillings” are typically referred to as “onlays” or “inlays”, but “crowns” are made in the same way.