A cavity is a small area of decay on one of your teeth. Minor cavities can be filled with a simple procedure that involves removing the decayed enamel with a drill and filling it with an artificial substance. If you notice a cavity on one of your teeth or you have a tooth that has recently developed a sensitivity issues you should call the dentist as soon as possible. The size of the decayed enamel will influence the type of filling or method used to restore the full function and appearance of the tooth.
Cavities on molars and some premolars are often repaired with inlays or onlays. These are similar types of fillings and are often made from porcelain or gold. The only real difference between the two is related to the size and location of the cavity.
An Inlay is used to repair a large cavity on the biting surface of a tooth. An onlays is usually larger and used to fill a cavity that extends from the biting surface to the side of the tooth.
If you have a tooth with a large area of decayed enamel or it has lost a large filling, there might not be enough healthy enamel left to mount a new filling. In a situation like this the dentist will usually recommend restoring the tooth with a crown. To be fitted for a crown your dentist will remove most of the tooth enamel to create an abutment. A temporary crown is then cemented over top while a dental lab prepares a permanent crown made from porcelain gold or base metals.
If you have questions about what type of filling you might need, feel free to call us at 415.737.0430 to schedule an appointment.