Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, and composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, usually are used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are placed straight into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They may include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed on your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth, and because it can come in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it will closely match the appearance of your natural teeth.
Tooth bonding also can be used for tooth fillings instead of amalgam fillings. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than silver amalgam fillings. Bonding fillings can be used on front and back teeth depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and usually can be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, let your doctor know. The bonding generally can be easily patched or repaired in one visit.