Did you know that there are two types of dental restorations known as direct and indirect restorations? Direct restorations, such as composite fillings, can be completed in your dentist’s office during a single appointment. Indirect restorations, on the other hand, must be fabricated in a dental laboratory before they can be cemented into the mouth. These two different restorations use different dental materials that determine whether the restoration is direct or indirect. Indirect restorations can be made from multiple materials, while direct restorations are generally made using composite resin. The reason why is because composite resin offers a number of benefits, such as:
Composite resin can be used to fabricate a variety of direct restorations. It is most commonly used to restore small to medium areas of decay with composite fillings. However, composite resin can also be used to repair minor damage, such as chips or cracks. In some cases, composite resin can even be used to fill in gaps between the teeth.
Composite resin can be made to match the natural color of your teeth or it can also be made to improve the color of your teeth. This means that once it is in place, the composite restoration will be indistinguishable from the rest of your natural tooth structure. For this reason, many old metal fillings are being replaced with composite fillings.
Composite resin can be used to fabricate direct restorations because it can be applied and hardened in a matter of minutes. Once it is applied to the tooth, it will be shaped and hardened one layer at a time with a special curing light. In most cases about 3-4 layers are used and it can take about 20 minutes to place a single filling.
Preserves the Natural Tooth
Composite resin is also able to form a strong bond with tooth enamel and requires less modification of the natural tooth structure. Not only does this preserve more of your natural tooth, but it also means that there is less drilling associated with placing a composite restoration.
Decrease Tooth Sensitivity
In some cases, composite resin can act as a shield between your enamel and the stimuli responsible for causing tooth sensitivity. In fact, some people will have veneers made from composite resin placed on the front of their teeth to reduce or eliminate tooth sensitivity.
Can Be Repaired
All dental restorations will eventually wear out and need to be replaced or repaired. Most indirect restorations will need to be entirely replaced, but direct restorations made with composite resin may be able to be repaired. Ultimately, the amount of damage or wear will determine whether your restoration is repaired or replaced. In any case, composite restorations are cheaper to replace.
Dr. Quartano is a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry. He is also an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Dental Association, Northlake Dental Association, and has attained D.O.C.S. certification. Dr. Quartano has served as Committee Chair for the LDA Council on New Dentist since 2011. Dr. Q is also a member of Spear Faculty Club which limits its membership to just 1000 dentist worldwide. Since graduating from dental school Dr. Quartano has completed over 700 hours of post doctorate education in Implants, Oral surgery, Cosmetic dentistry, Endodontics, Invisalign, and Advanced Restorative techniques. Dr. Quartano has also completed Foundational and Core workshops at the Spear Center for Advanced Dental Education.