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What is Restoration?

Suppose your dentist or dental hygienist has found tooth decay or other damage in your mouth that needs restoration. You're probably wondering what type of covering your tooth will receive after the damage is fixed. While we sometimes loosely use the term "fillings" to discuss tooth restoration, there are actually a few types of dental restoration options available. These include fillings, dental inlays and onlays, bridges, full and partial dentures. 


When you have tooth decay or a cavity, a resin composite is used to fill in the gap.  Resin composite fillings are made of a ceramic and plastic compound.  Because resin mimics the appearance of natural teeth, these fillings blend right in. They’re also known as white fillings or tooth-colored fillings.  Composite resin fillings offer a substitute to the amalgam dental fillings dentists once relied on.

The procedure for filling a cavity with composite resin is a little more complex than it is for an amalgam filling.  Here is a step-by-step look at the process of filling a cavity with composite resin:

First, we isolates the tooth from saliva in order to keep the tooth very 


Second, the dentist uses a drill or air abrasion to remove the infected part of the tooth.

Third, the composite resin is placed in layers over the opening of the cavity.

Fourth, a special light is used to harden each layer of composite resin material over the tooth’s surface.

Fifth, after the tooth is filled, the composite resin is carefully shaped to resemble a real tooth.

Making a composite resin restoration will require a bit more time in the dental chair and additional time by the dentist, but most patients find that the results are worth it.

Fillings will require only one visititation.

Dental Inlays and Outlays

Dental Inlays and Outlays are used when a patient has medium to advanced-sized caries (cavities).

At their most basic definitions, an inlay fills in cavities and hollows in a tooth in the areas between the cusps.  An onlay will not just fill in cavities in those spaces, but they can work for a larger area, including the cusps.  They work similarly to crowns, but they do not cover the entire surface of the tooth.  They are both made from the same materials, and they both serve the same function, but they cover different areas of the tooth to properly protect when there is tooth decay.

Inlays are molded and fitted into the chewing surface of a tooth that has been damaged through decay or injury. They are created using an imprint of the affected areas that are sent to a lab for manufacturing. An inlay will fit perfectly into the hollow of the tooth, but they do not affect the cusps. When the impression is made, match the color of the tooth as closely as possible. This way when they are placed in the mouth they are not noticeable. The material used for an inlay can be either porcelain or a composite material that is stronger and more durable than traditional fillings. This makes inlays generally more expensive, but also longer lasting. We would generally choose this option when a filling will not properly strengthen the surrounding tooth and the cavity requires stronger materials to fortify the tooth.

Onlays are used for decay and damage to the cusps of a tooth as well as the biting surface. We will choose an onlay when a cavity is too big to fill with standard amalgam fillings, or that the tooth could crack due to weakness. An onlay will shore up the strength of the tooth along with protecting the decaying area. Unlike an inlay, this area can include the cusps as well as the space in between. We then prepare the tooth in a similar fashion to a filling, by drilling out the cavity and cleaning up the area after placing a numbing anesthetic in the mouth. A temporary onlay is then placed over cavity, and the impression is sent for a permanent onlay to be manufactured. It is then placed in the mouth when it arrives. With an onlay, the tooth structure is preserved, whereas with a crown some filing and even removal of cusps may be necessary. They are also made of porcelain or a composite material. Onlays are also called “partial crowns” because they serve a similar function but they only cover a portion of the tooth, as opposed to the entire thing.


Sometimes when a filling is not enough or a tooth is misshapen, your oral care provider will recommend a dental crown to protect, cover, and restore the shape of your tooth. While getting a crown might seem unfamiliar or frightening, it’s a common and safe procedure that’ll make your teeth stronger, last longer, and restore your smile to its natural beauty. Here’s some key information on the crown procedure.


What are dental crowns?  Internal bleaching is a method of whitening a tooth from the inside out. First, a root canal is performed to remove any pulp that is infected. Then, safe sodium perborate paste is placed deep inside of the tooth. This material reacts with stains and dissolves their particles, making the teeth appear whiter. After a root canal, your tooth is sealed to prevent further damage. 


Over time, your teeth can get damaged. This can happen for a variety of reasons, like tooth decay, injuries or just use over time. Your teeth can lose their shape or size. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that can be placed over your tooth. Think of it like a snug hat for your tooth. The crown restores the tooth’s shape, size, strength and appearance.  The dental crown is cemented into place on your tooth and it covers the visible portion of the tooth.

This procedure will take two visitations to complete the procedure.


If you have missing teeth, including front teeth, a dental bridge can help restore the look and function of your teeth. It bridges the gap where the missing tooth is. 

What are dental bridges?  If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge can fill the gap with one or more artificial (false) teeth. A bridge is typically made of crowns on either side of the missing tooth or teeth supporting the pontic (false tooth) and is cemented in place.

Who needs a dental bridge?  Dental bridges can help if you have a missing tooth or teeth. The most common causes of missing teeth are tooth decay, gum disease and injury. Or you may have been born with missing teeth due to a congenital condition. To get a dental bridge, you need healthy teeth on either side of the missing ones.


The four main types of bridges are:

Traditional fixed bridge: This bridge is the most common. It has two or more crowns and a filler tooth or teeth that are all connected. The crowns keep the bridge in place. Traditional bridges are made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramics.

Cantilever bridge: In this bridge type, the pontic connects to only one abutment tooth. This can sometimes be an option for people who have teeth on only one side of the gap.

Maryland dental bridge (resin-bonded bridge): You may have this type of bridge if you have missing front teeth. It’s made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramic teeth, supported by a framework. Wings on each side of the bridge bond to your existing teeth.

Implant-supported bridge: This bridge is similar to a “traditional fixed bridge” but instead of being cemented in place to teeth, it is held in place by implants.

What can I use instead of a dental bridge?

Some people choose partial dentures, which are removable false teeth. You take them out to clean them. You may also be a candidate for a dental implant. An implant is surgically placed in your jaw. Your dentist can help you figure out what the best option is for you.

This procedure will take two visitations to complete the procedure.  

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