Treatment of Dental Cavities (Caries) and a Dental Crown
This exhibit depicts three different treatments for dental cavities (caries) and the placement of a dental crown. There are two types of dental restorations: direct (fillings) and indirect (inlays, onlays, and dental crowns). Direct dental restorations are completed within the patient’s tooth, while indirect restorations are fabricated outside of the tooth and cemented into place. Dental fillings are usually accomplished in one office sitting. The procedure begins by removing the decayed or structurally unsound portions of the affected tooth. A malleable material (amalgam, composite resin, or glass ionomer cement) is then placed directly into the tooth and allowed to set. Inlays, onlays and crowns are created from molds of the patient’s mouth and then cemented onto the properly prepared tooth. Inlays are similar in function to fillings, but are generally more structurally sound if the tooth is severely compromised. They also have a higher resistance to recurrent decay. Onlays serve the same purpose as inlays, but include one or more cusp of the tooth in the restoration. A dental crown is a complete prosthetic cap cemented over the old tooth.