Out With Old Metal Fillings, In with New Porcelain Fillings

When your tooth becomes damaged from decay, fillings are used to bring your tooth back to its original shape and function. A filling not only corrects the problems that cavities cause, but also causes bacteria from causing additional decay.

Porcelain fills are also called porcelain inlays or onlays. Onlays are a partial crown that sets on your tooth, building its shape and strength; inlays are designed to fill in the space that a cavity or old filling creates. By using porcelain inlays or onlays, your dentist is able to strengthen and repair your tooth while holding it together; retaining as much of the natural structure and color of your tooth as possible.

Porcelain fills are indirect fillings, as opposed metal and composite fillings that are direct fillings. Indirect fillings must be sent in to a lab because they are custom made for your teeth and are made of porcelain ceramics. Direct fillings are put directly into the tooth, there is no wait time for a lab to create them.

Another difference between porcelain fills and other fillings is that the dentist will permanently bond the porcelain fillings to your teeth, and they are also custom made for your specific tooth and cavity. This means that your porcelain filling will be stronger and last longer than fillings made of other materials.

A porcelain filling will last up to 30 years, whereas other filling materials will need to be replaced as soon as seven to ten years from when they were placed. "Porcelain fills can actually increase the strength of a tooth," says Dr. Pavlenko "fills made of other material tend to weaken the tooth because of the need to drill more of the natural tissue."

Your custom porcelain fills can take a couple of visits to the dentist office to complete. During the first visit, the rejected part of your tooth or old filling is removed and the tooth is cleaned. The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth so that a dental lab can create a custom porcelain inlay or porcelain onlay. After the impression, your cavity will be filled with a temporary filling so that your tooth will not become more decayed or damaged while your custom porcelain filling is being created.

When your custom porcelain filling returns from the lab, your cosmetic surgeon will remove the temporary filling and permanently cement the porcelain inlay or porcelain onlay to your tooth. In order to enjoy the benefits of porcelain fillings, contact a cosmetic dentist in your area for initial consultation.

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