24881513A dental restoration or dental filling uses dental restorative materials to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma.

Composite restorations use tooth-colored filling materials, which are bonded to the tooth to repair an area marked by decay. After the decay is removed, a gel is applied to micro-etch the tooth’s surface. Next, the filling material is placed and hardened with a beam of intense light. The final step includes finishing and polishing the restoration.

If there is not enough tooth structure remaining or if a tooth is likely to break or fracture, a crown is the treatment of choice. A crown completely surrounds and covers a compromised tooth. It can be made with many different materials from full gold to porcelain. Zirconia crowns are metal free.

When there is a space between two teeth caused by a missing tooth, that space can be filled with a bridge. This is a permanent restoration using the two supporting teeth on either side of the space to place an abutment (false tooth) in the center. It would appear as three crowns in a row.

Inlays and onlays are made of porcelain or gold, but unlike direct restorations, they are cemented onto the tooth. Both inlays and onlays require less tooth reduction than a crown.

If decay has penetrated deep into the tooth, a root canal or endodontic treatment may be necessary. Once the pulp (tissue within the tooth) is infected, it must be removed. Endodontic treatment involves removing all of the infected material within the tooth and then sealing the tooth with a specific filling material.