What are Indirect Fillings?

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Up until very recently, the only type of fillings were direct fillings. These involved creating the filling right in the tooth. The material would be placed directly in the empty space created by a cavity or root canal treatment. While this method is still sometimes used today, indirect fillings are now much more popular.

Indirect fillings are created outside of the tooth, and then placed, instead of both at once. This requires two appointments. At your first appointment, our OC dentist will take impressions of your teeth. These will be sent to a lab where your filling will be created. Once completed and sent back, you can return to have them placed. This process may also be possible in just one appointment with CAD/CAM technology.

There are two types of indirect fillings – inlays and onlays. Inlays are the fillings that enter into the tooth, where onlays are for damage that only affects the cusps, or the surface. Dentists and patients alike prefer fillings in most situations, as they do not require as much loss of healthy tooth structure as dental crowns. They do, however, still require consistent care and regular check-ups from our dentist. We can answer any questions you may have on the topic in our office.

What are Indirect Fillings?

What are Tooth Colored Fillings Made of?

A cavity in a visible tooth no longer needs to wreck your life. Gone are the days of silver fillings. Today, tooth-colored fillings are available that can be matched to your natural tooth color to discreetly fill a cavity in a front tooth.

Most tooth-colored fillings are made of a composite resin material. The composite consists of a plastic and glass mixture. While in a soft consistency, it is fitted into the cleaned out cavity space and shaped to match the anatomy of your tooth. It bonds chemically to the tooth and, using a special light, is hardened into place in a matter of seconds. Finally, it is smoothed and polished to blend in with the surrounding natural tooth enamel. The composite material is so effective at blending in with the natural tooth color that our West Hollywood cosmetic dentist can also use it to repair chipped or cracked teeth, fill in gaps, whiten teeth and other minor aesthetic issues.

Several tooth-colored alternatives to composite fillings exist. Porcelain inlays provide a durable material for filling cavities. Due to being hardened before being placed into the tooth instead of after, inlays are especially preferred for large cavities or for otherwise fragile teeth. Compomers and silicate and glass ionomers are also available, though they are less durable and used infrequently.

If you have a cavity but do not want everyone to know, contact our expert in tooth colored fillings in West Hollywood to discuss which of these discrete options is best for you.

What are Tooth Colored Fillings Made of?

Cosmetic Appeal of White Fillings


Teeth that are damaged by decay or trauma can be unsightly as well as painful, but restoration with metal fillings is not cosmetically ideal. Today, more patients are instead getting white dental fillings to repair their teeth. Here is a look at why white fillings are aesthetically superior to traditional fillings.

Natural Color

Whereas metal fillings leave teeth with dark spots, tooth-colored fillings keep teeth looking natural. This is especially important for restoring front teeth, which are easily visible when patients smile. Even then, fillings on rear molars also should ideally be performed with white composite material for a totally normal appearance when the mouth is opened wide.

Long-Term Tooth Color

The mercury amalgam used in metal fillings can slowly discolor the tooth structure surrounding them. Eventually, the entire tooth may be an unappealing gray color. By contrast, white fillings eliminate this issue completely. Years after receiving these fillings, patients can count on smiling confidently knowing that others will see only normal tooth color.

Tooth Structure Protection

Because metal fillings expand and contract with temperature changes, the teeth that contain them may break after some time. Not only can this open the door to infections, but it also can be severely painful. As a result, patients who get white fillings are less likely to need additional cosmetic dental treatments later.

With all of the cosmetic advantages of white fillings, it is easy to see why this treatment is preferred by many patients today. Beyond their aesthetic effects, white fillings are also free of mercury, a metal that many patients wish to avoid. White fillings can last for several years after placement with daily home dental hygiene and regular check-ups. At a consultation with our cosmetic dentist in Canoga Park, patients can learn more about white fillings and how they look.

Cosmetic Appeal of White Fillings