A "filling" is a form of "direct" dental restoration used to repair a decayed, chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged tooth.
It is called a direct restoration because the material used to repair the tooth undergoes its hardening process while in "direct" contact with the tooth and *inside* the mouth. Other procedures such as inlays and onlays are considered to be "indirect" restorations because the material used to repair the tooth is created *outside the mouth*, either in a lab by a dental technician, or via a computer-controlled milling machine.
There are five surfaces of the tooth where a filling can be placed: the distal, occlusal, buccal, mesial and lingual/palatal surfaces. Additionally, teeth are segmented into two major categories: anterior, and posterior. Anterior, by definition, means "nearer the front," so the teeth in the front of your mouth - up to and including your incisors - are considered to be anterior. The remaining teeth fall under the category of posterior, which means, "further back in position, or nearer the rear."
With this dental procedure code, a "white" or "tooth-colored" filling made of composite resin is used to repair damage on three surfaces of a posterior, permanent tooth. (It’s worth noting this is an older code that existed at a time when there was a distinction in coding between permanent and primary tooth restorations of this nature.)
Such fillings are referred to as "tooth-colored" because of their unique ability to mirror the color, texture and luminescence of your own teeth. A resin filling bonds more securely with teeth than does a traditional amalgam filling, and can often be completed in a single visit.
To prepare for a single surface resin filling, a dentist will first remove any decayed or weakened areas of the tooth. Your tooth would then be prepared for bonding by etching it with a mild acid solution. After that, the composite filling would be layered into the areas of your tooth that need to be sealed. Finally, a special light is used to harden these layers and the tooth is shaped and polished to prevent staining and early wear.
To look up and find more cdt dental codes from the American Dental Association, please visit our complete Dental Procedure Code Library.