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What is the difference between a tooth filling and tooth restoration?

Looking after the teeth should be on the top of everyone’s “to-do” list in order to maintain good oral health and boast a beautiful smile. To have strong and healthy teeth, it is essential to use the correct dental care products and make the right food choices. Neglecting the teeth and poor oral hygiene can be seriously bad and can erode the tooth enamel, cause cavities and even loss of teeth.

If you often regret not caring for the teeth and are experiencing tooth loss or tooth decay, you can go for tooth restoration and tooth filling depending on the situation. The confusion between teeth restoration and filling is one such which is faced by many. We shall take a look here how the two procedures differ from each other, their benefits and what type of dental situations they fit into.

Understanding teeth restoration and filling

In layman terms, “drilling a hole in the tooth and filling the cavity with synthetic fillers” is what defines tooth filling the best. It is intended to fix the tooth structure lost to decay and treat the cavity in the tooth. During the procedure, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and clean the affected area and then at last, “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed portion existed. 

Besides a bad oral health, accidents which involve a blow or trauma to the face can result in tooth loss. The tooth restoration process focuses on restoring the missing tooth to as close as its original form and functions. Tooth filling is a “quick-fix” and teeth restoration is a long term solution. Avoid too many sugar snacks such as cookies, cakes and other desserts throughout the day, as it can lead to tooth decay. 

Tooth Restoration

Restorative dentistry is an integral part of oral health management and is employed time and again for restoring missing, broken or decaying teeth. The strategy for restorative dentistry depends on the amount of the damage and other physical factors such as your present health. In a few cases, the patient might be suffering from health issues  and may not be a good candidate for dental implants. In that case, full or partial dentures are the better option if you have many missing teeth.

Direct Tooth Restoration

Direct tooth restoration involves placing a premade filling made up of glass or resin ionomers into the prepared tooth cavity immediately. The procedure is rather simple and gets done in a single office visit. Since the filling is similar to the tooth color, the procedure is associated with great aesthetic appeal, especially the modern composites restorations. Some people believe that GIC is not a very durable solution, as it can shrink as it sets. Over time it also generates stress on the tooth due to shrinkage. In certain cases the filling may be required to be replaced after some time.

Indirect Tooth Restoration

Indirect tooth restoration procedure involves tooth replacements with crowns, onlays, and inlays. Although it is more expensive than amalgam or direct composite restorations but is more durable than direct tooth restoration procedures. While a crown covers the tooth on top, an onlay covers the cusp of the tooth and an inlay only fills the area between the cusps. Indirect tooth restoration is employed when there is lack of enough supportive tooth structure to restore the tooth. 

Tooth Filling

A toothache is often the first and most common sign of a cavity. Once you start experiencing regular tooth pain and sensitivity after eating, it’s time for tooth filling.Before filling any cavities, the dentist shall first numb the area using anesthesia to prevent you from feeling pain during your treatment. Once the decayed tooth has been numbed, the dentist will remove the decay using a dental drill. The hollow created is then filled with filling using gold, silver, porcelain or amalgam such that the appearance is similar to enamel. 

Effectiveness and post-procedure care

Tooth restoration procedures are highly effective and a viable option for replacing fractured and missing teeth. Giving the appearance of a natural tooth, they carry a certain aesthetic appeal. In the case of onlays and crowns, some degree of care is required to avoid putting pressure on the treated tooth for a few days. 

Tooth fillings are also quite an effective procedure if the cavity is not too deep. It can also be used to treat a chipped tooth. The tooth does look normal and functions normally after filling. The only thing is that it does not last long as compared to tooth restoration procedures and can wear off with time, except permanent tooth fillings.

Both the procedures demand good oral care and precautions of avoiding pressure on treated teeth for a few days. The ultimate benefit is that you get a beautiful smile for a lifetime and the confidence to laugh to your heart’s content! 

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