There are two major misconceptions people have about metal fillings on their back teeth: that their appearance doesn’t matter, and that they’re functionally fine. Although these fillings may not be visible when you smile, they are visible when you talk and when you eat, which means you’re showing them a lot more than you think. And although you may not be aware of problems with these fillings, chances are that damage is being done to your teeth every time you chew, eat, drink, or clench your teeth.
White fillings can not only improve the appearance of your smile, they can make it healthier and more comfortable, too. To learn how upgrading your fillings can benefit your oral health, please call (912) 234-8282 or email Durham for an appointment with our Savannah cosmetic dentists offering Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.
Advanced Technology White Fillings
Over the past 40 years, many advances have been made in the materials and techniques used to fill cavities and repair decayed teeth. When fillings were first introduced nearly 200 years ago, they were all made of amalgam, a metal mixture containing mercury, which even then caused controversy. These fillings, which are still used today, are not desirable for a variety of reasons: they are prone to cracking over time, very noticeable – often turning black with age – and contain hazardous mercury. For all of these reasons, dental tooth-colored filling upgrades that use metal-free materials are more popular than ever.
The tooth on the left has the old, large style of filling. Once that filling is removed, notice how cracked and damaged the tooth is underneath.
Benefits of White Fillings
Aside from the reasons listed above, plastic and porcelain filling upgrades offer many benefits over amalgam. When you upgrade your metal fillings to tooth-colored fillings made from porcelain or composite, they are:
- Custom made to create a better
seal over your teeth.
- Stronger and harden much more
quickly than amalgam.
- Match the natural color and sheen
of your teeth.
- More stable and don’t
expand/contract in extreme hot and cold temperatures- which can
cause your teeth to be sensitive and weaken over time.
These advantages mean that white fillings are not only more attractive, they’re more comfortable and healthier.
White Filling Options
There are two main options for replacing your old metal amalgam fillings with white fillings: composite plastic and porcelain.
Composite white fillings are made of plastic embedded with strengthening elements of ceramic or glass particles. These start out as a paste and then harden on your teeth, either like an epoxy or under exposure to a curing light. They have the advantages of being relatively inexpensive and can be completed quickly in a single visit. Although these don’t have the disadvantages of metal amalgam fillings, they are not as strong as porcelain fillings and can’t give damaged teeth the support they may need.
Porcelain fillings are made of advanced ceramic materials that are designed to hold up under the stresses of biting and chewing. They take an additional visit to complete as the specifications for these advanced restorations will be sent to a lab where they will be crafted to perfectly fit your tooth and match the color of your other teeth.
Which one is right for you?
Think of it this way: plastic is better, but porcelain is the best. Porcelain restores more of the original tooth’s strength, is more durable, fits the best, wears like tooth enamel and forms the best surface for chewing.
During your consultation, we will talk to you about your cosmetic goals, assess your bite, and recommend the best option for your smile.