When a tooth has a cavity or a fracture, it is important to restore it.
The available materials are amalgam, composite resin or gold or porcelain inlays.
Amalgam is a material that is essentially made up of mercury, silver and copper. This is the material of choice for teeth located in the back of the mouth, which are less visible.
Amalgam holds up very well against pressure from chewing and provides an excellent seal. Its biggest drawback is its colour.
When there are several restorations to be done under general anesthetic, amalgam must be considered.
Resin composite is an esthetically pleasing material that serves to restore anterior and posterior teeth. It is used to treat a cavity, a fracture or to modify the shape of a tooth.
It is primarily made up of a polymer (plastic) and very small, hard inert particles.
Resin composite does not contain any mercury and comes close to matching the natural colour of the tooth. When it is used to restore big cavities on posterior teeth, it is slightly less durable than amalgam. Furthermore, the use of this material is associated with a higher risk of secondary cavities or recurrence. With patients who do not brush their teeth often, it is preferable to use amalgam on the posterior teeth.
Gold and Porcelain Inlays
Gold or porcelain inlays are indicated for restoration of teeth where there is significant damage. They are made in a laboratory and placed in the mouth during a second visit. They are excellent, very strong restoration options and are very esthetically pleasing when done in porcelain. They are never done under general anesthetic, since they require two visits.
When restoring teeth under general anesthetic, the dentist will always choose the best material and the method requiring the least amount of time.