The Differences Between Direct and Indirect Dental Restoration

Dental Restoration Dallas, TX

A dental restoration can be direct or indirect. While either can make a tooth function and look better, the method for each differs. The most suitable option ultimately depends on factors like the severity, location, and type of the damage. This article covers the differences between a direct and indirect dental restoration.

Direct restorations

Direct restorations can be fully manufactured and finished inside the mouth without the need for a dental laboratory. They can normally be done in a single dental consultation and do not require the use of a provisional or temporary restoration.

Dental fillings made of silver amalgam or composite resin are the most popular direct restorations. Fillings are used to fill cavities in the teeth that have developed due to decay. After the dentist extracts the decayed tissue and prepares the tooth, both dental materials are inserted into the cavity, formed, and hardened in place. The tooth will be back to its natural form by the end of the visit, and the patient will be able to resume their normal activities without limitations.

Minor chips and cracks in the teeth can be repaired with the composite resin used in dental fillings. Dental bonding is a restorative treatment that is also known as composite bonding or cosmetic bonding. The bonding material can be mounted, molded, and hardened all in one procedure, much like a composite filling. The composite resin may also be used to make composite veneers in some instances.

Indirect restoration

Indirect restorations must be created outside of the mouth before being mounted on the affected tooth. Crowns, bridges, dental implants, inlays, onlays, and veneers are a few examples. A dental laboratory or if the dentist has one, an in-office milling device is used to create these restorations. When a dental lab is used to fabricate an indirect restoration, two dental appointments are normally necessary.

During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the tooth and get fabrication details. The tooth will be prepared by removing any decayed or damaged portions before the remaining healthy tissue is reshaped. To ensure a seamless fit, the dentist may need to remove a layer of natural tooth structure depending on the type of indirect restoration being used.

Following the preparation of the tooth, a dental impression or an oral scan will be taken to provide details to the dental lab. Since the permanent restoration will take up to two weeks to make, a temporary restoration will be placed to protect the tooth. The permanent restoration will be tested for fit and bonded over the tooth at the second appointment.

Indirect restorations have more surface area than direct restorations and can restore teeth with more severe decay or damage. They are often made of various dental materials that offer extra tooth protection. They can handle the impact of chewing for more extended periods before having to be replaced or repaired. Furthermore, indirect restorations have more cosmetic benefits that can enhance the appearance of the smile.

Final note

Direct and indirect restorations provide various choices for restoring damaged or decayed teeth. Having the dentist inspect your teeth and make a suggestion is the best way to know which form of dental restoration is suitable for you.

Request an appointment here: or call Highlands Family Dentistry at (214) 491-5362 for an appointment in our Dallas office.

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