South Austin Family Dentist Tooth Fillings

Restorative Dentistry

What is Restorative Dentistry?

Restorative Dentistry is what your family dentist calls dental fillings, sealants, buildups, crowns, and inlays and onlays. If you ever chipped a tooth, if you had a cavity, or if you needed a root canal, chances are you needed one of these things. The purpose of any restorative dental procedure is to restore a tooth to its former strength.


What is a Dental Filling?

Dental fillings are used to fix chipped teeth or rebuild parts of teeth affected by tooth decay. If you need a dental filling because of tooth decay, your family dentist will first remove all of the decay before rebuilding the affected part of the tooth. Dental filling can be made from tooth colored bonding material or ceramic.  If the area of the tooth affected by the decay is small, then the filling will be made of bonding material since this allows for the most conservative treatment.  However, if the decay is extensive or undermines a cusp, then the filling might need to be made out of ceramic or porcelain to restore the original strength and form of the tooth.


What is a Dental Sealant?

Dental sealants are a protective coating that is placed on a tooth to protect it from tooth decay. Most of the teeth in the back of our mouths, especially the molars, have lots of pits and grooves on them that are impossible to clean. The smooth surfaces of the teeth are easy to clean and they remineralize when you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, but deep pits and grooves in teeth act like traps for microscopic food bits and bacteria.  If left alone these areas will develop dental decay with time, even with good brushing and flossing habits and good diet.  As your family dentist, Dr. Corpron believes everyone should get sealants on their first and second molars as this is an easy way to avoid more expensive and invasive treatment in the future.


What is a Build-Up?

A Build-Up is a term used by dentists to describe a type of filling used to restore part of a tooth that is going to get a crown. You’re most likely to hear this term if you had a root canal, and your family dentist is going to re-build the tooth.  During a root canal, where a tooth is being cleaned out from the inside, a tooth gets hollowed out.  You can imagine that this weakens the tooth. That’s when a tooth will get a build-up to restore the strength of the tooth from the inside-out in preparation for a crown.  Think of a build-up as building the foundation for a crown.


What is a Dental Crown?

A Dental Crown is a type of restoration that completely covers the top part of a tooth.  Crowns are necessary if a tooth is cracked, if it had a root canal, or if part of it broke off.  As your family dentist Dr. Corpron prefers to use crowns made out of porcelain and ceramic materials.  These are very strong, they restore the original strength of the tooth, they look natural, and they won’t create a dark halo around the tooth like the old porcelain fused to metal crowns.


What is an Inlay or an Onlay?

An Inlay or an Onlay is a type of restoration that is related to dental crowns.  Think of them as crowns that only cover part of a tooth.  These have become more relevant in the last twenty years as the materials for bonding have become so good.  Inlays and onlays allow for much more esthetic and durable results than dental fillings when a large part of the tooth is missing.  Inlays and onlays will often be recommended if a cusp or the chewing part of a tooth is missing but the rest of the tooth is healthy.  It allows your family dentist to restore the original strength and form of your tooth without compromising otherwise healthy tooth structure.  Inlays and onlays are more conservative than crowns and don’t require removing as much tooth structure.