Cosmetic fillings are sometimes called inlays or onlays. They are used when the damaged area includes part of the biting and chewing surface of the tooth. The procedure is more complex than a standard filling, but less invasive than a crown.
Cosmetic fillings are created from a tooth-coloured composite which is closely matched to the original tooth in colour and appearance to create a natural looking finish. They can be used to disguise a gap between the teeth, fix chipped or uneven front teeth as well as to repair large areas of damage or decay in back teeth.
When are cosmetic fillings used?
You might choose a cosmetic filling when a larger section of a natural tooth is missing including a proportion of the chewing surface – the process involves reforming part of the surface area of the tooth rather than simply ‘filling’ a cavity. This procedure was developed to retain as much of the natural tooth as possible, where previously it would have been crowned.
How are they fitted?
The process differs from standard fillings in that it requires two appointments. During your first visit the dentist will prepare and clean the tooth and take impressions. Instead of applying a standard filling, which is a putty-like substance that is shaped in the cavity, the cosmetic filling is formed in a dental laboratory in a similar way to a crown. During the second appointment the cosmetic filling is bonded to the remaining healthy section of the natural tooth. Once fitted, a cosmetic filling is maintained in exactly the same way as natural teeth.