Direct is where the filling is made directly in the patient's mouth. Generally this takes one appointment. In addition to restoring the form and function of a tooth these fillings can be matched to the colour of the tooth. White fillings look natural and set quickly so the tooth can be used right away.
Indirect are fillings made outside the mouth in a dental lab. This allows for strengthening of the filling using heat and pressure that cannot be used in the mouth. An indirect filling may be necessary when a cavity is too large for a direct filling. It commonly takes two appointments to place an indirect filling. Indirect fillings can be made of gold, porcelain or composite resin. Each material has its own unique advantages and indications for use. Talk to your dentist about the right material to meet your needs.