What Are Indirect Fillings?
Indirect fillings are dental restorations fabricated outside of the mouth and then bonded or cemented into place. They include inlays, onlays, dental crowns, and dental bridges. These fillings are used to restore teeth that have more extensive damage or decay and aren’t able to be treated with direct fillings (fillings placed directly into the tooth). Indirect fillings are made from porcelain, gold, or composite resin.
Gold is known for its strength and durability, while porcelain and composite resin are known for their natural-looking appearance. The material used in an indirect filling will depend on its location, the size of the cavity, and the health of the tooth.
Benefits of Indirect Fillings
The benefits of indirect fillings include:
- Used to restore teeth that have more extensive damage or decay.
- Provides better structural support for the tooth than direct fillings.
- Created from various materials, such as porcelain, gold, or composite resin, which allows for a more natural-looking restoration.
- Lasts longer than direct fillings and is less likely to need replacement.
- Preserves more of the healthy tooth structure.
- Improves the overall function of the tooth, such as occlusion (bite) and chewing.
Indirect Filling Procedure
The procedure for getting an indirect filling typically involves two visits to the dentist.
During the first visit, the affected tooth will be cleaned and shaped to make room for the filling. Impressions will be taken of the tooth and surrounding teeth, which will be used to create the permanent filling. A temporary restoration will then be placed on the tooth to protect it.
At your second visit, the permanent filling will be placed on the tooth and adjusted to ensure a proper fit. The tooth will be cleaned and polished, and the permanent filling will be cemented in place.
Caring for Your Filling
After receiving an indirect filling, make sure to take care of your teeth so that the filling can last as long as possible. Here are some tips:
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly, at least twice a day.
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
- If you experience any pain or sensitivity, contact your dentist immediately.
- Avoid biting on hard or sticky foods for at least 24 hours after the filling is placed.
Frequently Asked Questions
On average, an indirect filling can last for 10 to 15 years. The longevity of an indirect filling is affected by the location of the filling, how well you take care of your teeth, and the quality of the materials used.
Indirect fillings are suitable for larger cavities or for teeth that have undergone root canal therapy. They’re strong, durable, and suitable for larger restorations. However, always discuss the options with your dentist and choose the best suitable treatment for you.
Yes, typically multiple appointments are required to have an indirect filling placed. During the first appointment, your dentist will prepare the tooth and take an impression to send to a dental lab. The lab will then fabricate the indirect filling.
During the second appointment, the indirect filling will be checked and then bonded or cemented into place. Some dental offices are equipped with CEREC technology and can fabricate the filling on the same day.
If you have indirect fillings, remember that teeth whitening products may cause the fillings to appear darker or mismatched compared to the rest of the teeth. In this case, it’s best to discuss whitening options with your dentist before proceeding.
Receive High-Quality Dental Restorations
Dr. Fredericks at Southern Cal Smiles in Woodland Hills advises that before deciding on indirect fillings, you should discuss treatment options with your dentist. If you have any concerns or questions about indirect fillings, it’s best to consult with your dentist for further evaluation and recommendations.
If you live in the Woodland Hills, CA, area, contact Dr. Fredericks to learn more about how she can help you achieve pristine oral health.