In dental lingo, a restoration refers to any material or device ( fixed or removable) that is used (1) to replace lost tooth structure and restore the tooth to function or (2) to replace a lost tooth.  There are many types of restorations, including fillings, crowns, bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures, all of which will be discussed below.

Filling – A filling usually refers to a restoration that restores part of a tooth.  Types of fillings include amalgams, composites, inlays, onlays, and temporary fillings. Our office has not used amalgam fillings since 1985.  Please see Biological Dentistry pages on this website to see the discussions regarding amalgam fillings

Crown – A crown is a restoration that restores all the tooth’s crown ( the portion of the tooth above the gum line that is covered by enamel).

Bridge – A bridge is a nonremovable restoration used to replace one or more lost teeth.

Appliance – This term refers to any removable restoration.

Partial denture – A partial denture is a removable appliance used to replace lost tooth.

Denture – A denture is a removable appliance used to replace the loss of either all the upper teeth, all the lowers, or both

Cavity – In dental terminology a cavity does not mean “decay”, even though most people use the term that way. Actually, a cavity is what you have after the decay has been removed. When the dentist prepares your tooth for a restoration, he not only removes all the decay but also enlarges the resulting cavity. He does this in order to accomplish several things: to allow the filling material to be inserted, to ensure that there will be healthy dentin underneath the enamel, and to position the margin ( edge) of the filling in an area that can easily be reached by the tooth brush.

Taking an impression – This is a method of creating a model of a tooth ( or teeth) and/ or all or any part of the jaw. The model, usually of plaster or hard dental stone, is used in the process of making inlays, onlays, bridges, partials, and dentures, and for study models ( which the dentist uses as a diagnostic tool).