Direct vs. Indirect Restoration: What Are Their Differences?

Did you know that your dentist can repair teeth that have been damaged or decayed using one of two different dental restorations? They are classified as direct or indirect restorations. In both cases, they will restore the damaged tooth differently. The ideal restoration method for your specific situation will rely on details, including the nature, severity, and location of the damage or decay.

Direct vs. Indirect Restorations

With developments in dental technology, a wide variety of dental restorations are now available. Direct and indirect dental restorations are the two most common options. What sets these two restorations apart? Let’s take a closer look.

Direct Dental Restorations

Direct tooth restorations are possible in one visit at The Dental Boutique. Filling cavities is the most typical direct dental restoration. The location of the cavity and the patient’s preferences will determine the best filling material. Dental procedures that include direct restorations are less complicated and can begin treating the problem immediately.

Composite fillings are used to restore mild to moderate cavities and are the most often used direct restorations. Nevertheless, a different method called composite bonding uses composite resin to close gaps between teeth and fix small to medium chips and cracks.

Both fillings and crowns include putting composite resin that has been softened to the tooth structure or cavity and then curing the composite resin using a light. The last coating is shaped and polished to match the rest of the tooth. Direct restorations are finished once the final layer has hardened, and patients can resume their day normally.

Indirect Dental Restorations

Indirect restorations that need to be made outside the mouth are permanent or semi-permanent fixed restorations. This type of restoration is typically made in a dental lab. These can also be made with an office milling machine. For proper placement, indirect restorations usually need two dental visits because they are created in a dental lab.

Larger than direct restorations, indirect restorations can repair teeth with more severe decay or damage than a small cavity. They are also made from various dental materials that strengthen the tooth and make it possible to chew for longer without wearing them down.

Furthermore, indirect restorations can offer many cosmetic benefits that will enhance the appearance of your smile. Some indirect dental restorations can now be completed in a single dental office visit thanks to advances in dental technology such as CAD and CERC machines and 3-D imaging. You may refer to this link to find out more about digital dentistry.

Which One Will I Need?

Both types of dental restorations are needed to fix problems with teeth. Direct dental restorations are usually used when the patient’s teeth are complete and healthy enough to stay. Direct dental restorations often need scraping away at tooth structure to make room for a filling.

Direct and indirect dental restorations may be necessary for some patients. Maintaining regular biannual cosmetic dental care checkups and cleanings can greatly reduce the need for dental restorations. Reduce your risk of needing a dental restoration or allowing your disease to progress to require an indirect dental repair by visiting a dentist and seeking treatment as soon as possible.


Both of these dental restorations are useful in restoring teeth that have been broken or decaying. Direct restorations are best for less extensive damage or decay, while indirect restorations can repair more extensive damage or decay and restore teeth with cosmetic problems. A visit to your local cosmetic dentist can help you decide which restoration is ideal for your teeth.