A Look At Dental Fillings
Amalgam (Silver) Fillings
Over time the word filling, when it referred to a dental procedure, meant silver. The actual material was amalgam, but regardless it was ugly. It certainly did the job and silver fillings have been in patient’s mouths for years and years providing great service. It is our belief that if a silver filling is doing it’s job, we tend to leave it alone. Some patients ask to have the silver removed for cosmetic reasons and that is certainly fine but not something we tend to do if the silver is still functioning properly.
When deciding on how to replace the silver filling much of the decision is based upon the amount of healthy tooth structure remaining after the silver, or decay, is removed. If that is adequate tooth structure remaining a simple composite (white) filling can be done.
Tooth Colored Fillings – Composites
If there is still adequate tooth structure remaining, we will most likely recommend a composite (tooth colored) filling (see above image comparing silver and composite fillings in the same teeth). These materials have been used now for many years and can provide not only a good cosmetic alternative to silver but also provide great functionality for many years.
Porcelain Inlays and Onlays
If, however, there is less than 50% of the tooth remaining, we suggested a more thorough restoration called an inlay (or onlay). These restorations are made at the dental lab and are stronger than a regular filling. The process involves two visits. One visit to prepare the tooth and take an impression and a second visit to insert the inlay (onlay) once it is returned from the laboratory. These laboratory fabricated restorations should last longer and provide years of great chewing.
As always, if you have any questions regarding this or any other treatment, please give us a call at 516 741-1230.
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