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A dental restoration is also called a filling. It is the repair of damaged or decayed tooth restoring it back to its normal shape, appearance and function.
Why should a damaged or decayed tooth be restored?
A tooth is repaired to protect the part of the tooth that has become exposed by the decay or injury.
It can prevent the loss of a tooth, since decay may spread and destroy the tooth.
Restoration permits normal eating and chewing.
Restored teeth should reinstate, or improve upon, the appearance of teeth and the face.  

Types of Restorations

1. Tooth colored – composite – invisible filings.

Teeth that have lesser amount of decay may be restored by a resin material called as Light cured composite material most commonly known as a “tooth colored filling”. Restorations that are similar in color to your natural teeth are made of a composite resin and are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile.

Invisible Fillings
Invisible Fillings
Before After

Invisible Fillings
Invisible Fillings
Before After

2. silver amalgam filling

Silver filling:--restoration
It is the oldest filling material used in dentistry. Though it is still a good material, but now that we have lot of new materials coming up with better properties. Silver now a days not preferred by many dentists.


  • Inexpensive
  • Less technique sensitive


  • Not a conservative procedure.  As material cannot bond with tooth structure, it stays in the tooth by mechanical retention. So we have to cut even some of the healthy tooth structure to make specific design.
  • It can fracture under heavy chewing pressure.
  • Not diamentionaly stable. As it’s a metal,It can shrink or even expand causing problem.
  • Not aesthetically good looking.
  • Mercury is used to form a mass. Which is said to be poisonous for our body
Invisible Fillings
Invisible Fillings
Invisible Fillings
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Deciding which type of restoration is appropriate depends on how much decay is present in the tooth. Teeth that have cracked, fractured, have large amalgam fillings or have large areas of decay most likely need to be restored by an onlay or crown. Dental crowns are best utilized as a way to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth when the tooth is seriously compromised, such as restoring a tooth to its original shape (repairing a broken tooth) or strengthening a tooth (covering over a tooth which has a large filling).
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What is dental caries or decay?

dental decay
Decay or dental caries is a disease in which normal tooth structure is destroyed because of growth of microorganisms on and around the tooth in presents of food particles .
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How do cavities form on the tooth?

The microorganisms that exists in the mouth along with the food remains and form a sticky thin, translucent layer on the tooth called dental plaque. The plaque in initial stages can easily be removed by brushing and flossing. If it is not removed, the plaque gets attached firmly to the teeth and the bacteria multiply and in the process release mild acids that destroy the tooth structure. The enamel gets destroyed layer by layer and the bacteria gradually penetrates deeper into the tooth. The affected part of the tooth gets weakened and breaks during chewing and results in a cavity. The process is slow and continues until proper treatment is executed.

What are the areas of teeth prone for decay?

tooth prone for decay

tooth prone for decay
tooth prone for decay

tooth prone for decay
The grinding surface of teeth usually has many grooves and pits and is therefore prone for accumulation of food and microorganisms. Thus the grinding surface of the back teeth shows high incidence of dental decay. In addition the area around the contact between the teeth, is also the starting point of decay. Other areas of decay are the pits found on the outer surface of the molars and small pits on the inner side of the upper front teeth.

Do all cavities in the teeth cause pain?

The pulp of the tooth contains the nerve endings and blood vessels and is protected by the outer enamel and dentin layer. Shallow cavities in the depth of enamel and the surface of dentin are painless. As the depth of the cavity increases in dentin the tooth becomes painful on eating hot, cold, sour or sweet food. Once the decay reaches pulp the pain is intolerable.

Can a badly decayed tooth be saved?

If sufficient sound tooth structure remains, then the tooth can be saved by doing root canal treatment first and than covering the whole tooth with a  crown / cap.

Can a filled or restored tooth get decayed?

Yes, even a tooth filled with a permanent filling can develop dental caries below the filling. Hence, better care by brushing, flossing the restored tooth along with routine checkup will enhance the long-term success.
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Does regular brushing keep decay away?
Yes, to a great extent, since it controls the formation of dental plaque that predisposes tooth to decay. However, other factors like deep grooves and pits on the grinding surface of teeth, teeth with less calcium content can make them more susceptible to decay.

Is decay of teeth only due to eating of chocolates and sweets?

Not always, Sticky and sweet food stuff promote plaque and growth of caries causing microorganisms. This predisposes teeth to dental caries. In addition other causes include poor oral hygiene, teeth having deep grooves and pits etc.
Does an abscessed tooth need to be removed?
abscessed tooth
Dental abscess is the extension of infection from the tooth to the underlying bone. Once, active infection is controlled by antibiotics, the tooth is treated by special procedure called root canal theraphy. This helps the tooth to be retained in position and function normally.
Is it true that raw vegetables & fibrous food lower the chances of decay.
Refined form of food easily sticks in and around the teeth and enhance formation of dental plaque whereas eating fibrous food helps in cleansing the teeth during chewing. Decay is more frequently seen in urban population it who eat more refined food and hence is known as a of disease of modern civilization.
Does diet help in prevention of decay?
Yes, a balanced diet of essential proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins keeps the body healthier. Reduction of refined food, specially sweet and sticky food, and eating fruits and vegetables and other fibrous food have a big role in reducing decay.         
Is it true that fluoride prevents decay?
Yes, studies have shown that fluorides can prevent decay by up to 50% if they are supplemented and monitored in water, food and tooth paste. In addition the patient should maintain good oral hygiene.
How does fluoride prevent decay?

Fluorides have the ability to get incorporated into the tooth structure and make the teeth more resistant to dental decay. The use of fluorides may even arrest progression of caries which are in the initial stages. Fluoride when consumed during formation of teeth gets incorporated in the tooth structure and makes the enamel stronger. It also has an anti -bacterial effect on several germs that cause decay and makes dental plaque difficult to attach to the tooth.         

When is it appropriate to fill a cavity?
Although cavities in teeth need not be treated as an emergency, (unless associated with an abscess), they should be filled as early as possible since, decay is a slow progressive process and without many symptoms until the tooth is grossly destroyed. Sometimes even a small spot may show massive destruction below it. Treating the decay at the intial stage helps conserve tooth structure.
Why do teeth become sensitive?
A normal tooth has outer enamel that protects from external stimuli like heat, cold, sour food, etc. Once the enamel is lost due to erosion, abrasion or decay the inner sensitive dentin gets exposed. The dentin has nerve endings that transmit sensations and therefore cause sensitivity.
How is sensitivity treated?

In initial stages, protective desensitization tooth pastes that are commercially available are useful. They have to be applied for a long period of time to get adequate relief. If erosion/abrasion/cavity is noticed they have to be filled.

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