Dental fillings are one of the most common types of restorative treatments, used to improve the appearance and functionality of teeth affected by damage or decay. The filling materials, which can be made from several different substances, help to even out tooth surfaces for more efficient biting and chewing. These restorations can last for many years and help keep the tooth looking and functioning at its best.
Dental composites are fillings made from a tooth-colored material. Crowns and inlays are often manufactured from dental composites as well. The shade of composite fillings is made to closely match the patient’s actual teeth, so that other people will not be aware that dental work has been done. However, they are not as strong or durable as porcelain or metal restorations and they may discolor or wear down over time.
Silver/mercury fillings have been used for many years and plenty of people still have them. These fillings are often visible while speaking and they eventually weaken the tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and tooth-colored restorations (onlays) are solid fillings used to restore damaged teeth. They provide strength to the weakened tooth and are created to match existing teeth. These restorations are aesthetically pleasing, strong and durable.
Disadvantages of Silver Fillings
In addition to being unattractive, silver fillings have other shortcomings as well. The edges of the silver filling may wear down, weaken or break off. This leaves an already decayed portion of the tooth unprotected and exposed to the potential formation of cavities. The metal expands and contracts as it ages and sometimes it actually cracks.
Approximately half of a silver filling is mercury, used to strengthen the metal alloy. But this mercury can leak if the filling begins to deteriorate, staining the teeth and gums.
Fortunately, silver fillings can easily and safely be replaced with tooth-colored restorations.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
There are numerous benefits to using tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the cusps of the teeth for a secure, supportive fit. Inlays and onlays are a great restorative option when there is not enough healthy tissue left in the tooth to support a regular filling. The tooth can be saved, and the structure becomes stronger.
Glass ionomers are tooth-colored fillings that are made of a mixture of acrylic and glass and they release fluoride, which can help prevent decay. Many of the resins used wear at the same rate as natural teeth. They can also be placed away from the gum line, benefiting gum health.
Come in for a filling, and walk out with a terrific smile!
Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth-Colored Restoration
It is simple to replace your silver fillings with tooth-colored restorations or onlays. The process is completed in two visits.
Your First Appointment
- The silver filling and any surrounding decay is removed.
- An impression of your teeth is taken. The model created from this is sent to the laboratory.
- A temporary onlay is fitted to the tooth.
At the Lab
- Resin materials are placed on the model of your teeth, which are then shaped and sculpted to resemble your natural tooth.
Your Second Appointment
- The temporary onlay is removed.
- A solution is applied to your damaged tooth to prepare it for bonding with the onlay.
- Bonding cement is applied to the tooth and a high intensity light is used to adhere the resin to the tooth.
- The tooth is buffed and polished.
Your restoration is complete! The tooth will look and feel just like your other teeth, and it is now stronger and well protected.