4 Common Dental Restorations Explained

When you get cavities, there are several types of dental restorations that your dentist can use to stop the decay. But what are the different dental restorations? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type? This article will explain four of the most common restorations. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions or need help deciding which one is best for you.

1. Composite fillings

Composite fillings are the most common procedure dentists use to repair cavities. A composite is a mixture of plastic and glass and is the same color as the tooth. The mixture is placed on the tooth after the cavity is removed, after which your dentist uses light to seal it. Your dentist will blend and smooth the filling to the shape of your tooth.


  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Matches color and shape of tooth
  • Strengthens tooth


  • Filling can be stained like natural teeth
  • Wears out sooner than other restorations

2. Porcelain inlays and porcelain onlays

Dentists use porcelain inlays and onlays to replace large silver fillings and to repair large cavities. The porcelain inlay is custom shaped to your tooth so it can bind perfectly to the structure. Your dentist will insert it on your prepared tooth and bind it with dental cement.


  • Color and shape perfectly match existing teeth
  • Can't tell it's there by looking or feeling
  • Stain resistant, unlike composite fillings
  • Last longer than composite fillings


  • More expensive than composite fillings
  • Procedure takes longer and is more painful than composite fillings

If you're interested in learning more about porcelain inlays and onlays, talk to a dentist like Dr. David K. Skeels.

3. Crowns

Your dentist will place a crown over your entire tooth to restore its shape and size. A crown covers and supports a tooth that has a very large filling or cavity. It is made from a mixture of porcelain and metal or ceramic. A dental laboratory constructs the crown based on your tooth shape and size. Your dentist prepares your tooth and cements it in place.


  • Restores even very badly decayed teeth
  • Matches tooth shape and color
  • Supports the remaining tooth structure
  • Anchors and supports surrounding teeth


  • Procedure is painful
  • Can cause temporary tooth sensitivity
  • Expensive
  • Tooth must be reduced and worn down during preparation

4. Dental bridges

If your tooth is decayed enough that it must be removed, your dentist will restore your smile with a dental bridge. A dental bridge replaces a single missing tooth with a false tooth made from porcelain.


  • Replaces a missing tooth with a porcelain tooth that looks natural
  • Fills in a gap to support surrounding teeth
  • Long lasting


  • Surrounding teeth must be reduced during preparation
  • Very expensive
  • Procedure is painful and invasive

These are four common dental restorations. If you would like more information or have questions, make an appointment with your dentist today.