A direct filling is done to restore a tooth that is affected by caries or decay, or a tooth that is chipped or fractured. Preparation of the tooth or removal of decay with a dental drill is essential before the filling. Normally, fillings are a simple procedure that can be done under local anaesthetic.
An ideal filling should restore the original contour of the tooth, have an ideal contact with adjacent teeth and should properly seal the tooth to prevent leakage. An array of filling materials is available in modern dentistry era.
These are most popular filling materials in everyday dentistry. They are the material of choice as they match the colour of the natural teeth. Composites are resins mixed with minute filler particles to provide strength. The last decade has seen tremendous improvement in the quality of composite materials.
Silver amalgam has stood the test of time since last century and they are still used in certain cases. One such case could be a large cavity in a back tooth where aesthetics are less important. It may need amalgam filling to provide better strength and wear resistance. These fillings also have better sealing capability.
Ceramic is high strength and aesthetic restorative material. However, ceramics are less economical and not a direct filling material. If cost and time are not the major issues, ceramics are an excellent choice to restore a tooth.
Sometimes a dentist uses a cement to do an interim or a temporary restoration until a definitive restoration is done.
Direct filling gold foils were used decades back for direct gold restoration and they are excellent materials. However, the cost factor keeps gold from being used commonly as a filling material