Tooth coloured ceramic fillings (Designed to match your tooth colour)

Teeth that have been affected by tooth decay (caries or cavities) require a filling. There are many different types of fillings.

No longer is it necessary for unsightly amalgam fillings to be used in dental treatments. Back teeth where old amalgam fillings have been replaced with tooth coloured fillings. With the correct choice of material and meticulous technique, excellent results and durability can be achieved. Apart from the unappealing look and possible health complications associated with Amalgam Fillings, they can also cause teeth to fracture and discolour over time.

Today, several dental filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or tooth-colored, plastic and glass materials called composite resin fillings. Tooth-coloured fillings can be chosen to match the colour of the teeth, making them a natural-looking alternative to amalgam fillings. There are a few different types of tooth-coloured filling materials. The most common are called composite and glass ionomer. They are soft and can be moulded to look like the shape of a tooth before they are hardened. Tooth-coloured filling materials stick to teeth, so they can be used to build up the edges of chipped or worn teeth. Tooth-coloured fillings are often used in teeth that show during smiling or talking, first of all, front teeth (incisor, and canine-teeth).

What are the disadvantages of composite fillings?

Bonded areas are more prone to staining than natural teeth and fillings tend to stain and discolour over time. The material is brittle and fillings may chip if any extra force is applied. The fillings have a tendency to wear away with use. 
These fillings may not be suitable for large cavities in molars. They also can be stained from drinking coffee and tea. Large composite fillings tend to wear out sooner than amalgam fillings. 
Composite fillings tend to experience a very small amount of shrinkage upon curing, causing the material to pull away from the walls of the cavity preparation. This makes the tooth slightly more vulnerable to microleakage and recurrent decay. 
Composite fillings last approximately for 3-5 years, but it depends on the patient’s oral hygiene as well.

Advantages and disadvantages of composite fillings:

  • Aesthetic advantage.
  • Requires less removal of tooth structure to achieve adequate strength.
  • Bonding to tooth structure, providing further support to the tooth.
  • They are direct fillings, so they can be done in one appointment, in most cases.
  • Relatively reasonable price.
  • Lack of durability compared to amalgam or gold fillings.
  • Discoloration is possible.
  • Potential to leak.

Ceramic / Porcelain inlays

Ceramic inlays are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to other filling materials. Silver amalgam fillings make teeth appear gray, and old composite bonding tends to chip and discolor over time. Today, ceramic inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver or composite fillings. Almost any silver or gold filling can be replaced with a beautiful porcelain inlay. If you don't want anyone to see fillings in your mouth, then inlays are an aesthetic and enduring alternative!

What is an inlay?

The size and shape of a porcelain inlay is similar to that of a filling; both fit snugly inside the cusps of a tooth to replace the decayed part we removed. They are long-lasting and allow the tooth to regain its original strength and natural appearance and they restore and protect the tooth against further fracture. Applying an inlay is a two visit dental procedure. During the first visit, the tooth decay or old filling material will be removed. A mold of the tooth and adjacent teeth is taken and sent to a dental lab. In the meantime, a temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth. During the second appointment, the dentist will cement the inlay in place, making any necessary adjustments to ensure a comfortable bite.
An onlay is a more extensive reconstruction that covers one or more cusps of a tooth. Onlays are indicated in situations where a substantial reconstruction is required.

Gold inlays and onlays will last 10-30 years, given proper care and avoidance of abuse, but they are not aesthetic.

What benefits do have ceramic inlays?

Ceramic inlays are metalfree and therefore translucent. Inlays are far more durable than fillings, don't require much of the actual tooth structure to be removed in order to place them, and actually increase the strength of the tooth, preventing further decay. They are attached to the tooth using a bonding procedure, allowing it to become very strong. It can be used with wonderful results in small, medium, and even large restorations.

Ceramic is an extremely biocompatible material, ideal for patients suffering from metal allergies.

They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Is it possible to treat every teeth with ceramic inlays?

Theoretically, application of inlays to molars and premolars is possible, while in the case of front teeth (incisors and canine-teeth) the application of a plastic filling is more recommended. A crown is a lasting and more adequate alternative in the following cases: when caries or old fillings reach deep under the gum or when the remaining of teeth is extremely weak and brittle.

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