If you have tooth decay, fillings repair the decay to restore your teeth. In the past, these were silver, made with mercury and other metals. However, now we have options that look like natural teeth. When we say options, we mean it: you can choose composite fillings or ceramic filling.
If you need new fillings or are looking to replace old metal amalgam ones in Spokane Valley, please call (509) 927-2273 today for an appointment with a Spokane Valley dentist at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics.
Two Types of White Fillings
If you are considering white filings, you have your choice of two types of filling materials: composite and ceramic. Composite fillings are made of a plastic that contains small ceramic inclusions for added strength. Ceramic fillings, also called inlays and onlays, are made of advanced ceramics similar to what we use for veneers or crowns.
Benefits of Composites
Composites are the most popular type of white filling. That’s because they offer many benefits, including
- Can be used for small cavities
- Look attractive when polished
- Can be placed in just one visit
- Are inexpensive
With these benefits, most people will opt for composite fillings most of the time. And in most situations, that’s the right decision. However, composite fillings do have limitations, such as:
- Not suitable for large cavities
- Are vulnerable to staining
- Can lose polish and luster
Some people believe that composite fillings don’t last as long as silver. That’s not true. When used appropriately, composite last as long as silver. And though they may stain or lose polish, they will still look better that silver fillings.
Benefits of Inlays and onlays
Inlays and onlays are made of advanced ceramic materials that are many times stronger than tooth enamel. However, they look so much like tooth enamel that there’s no concern that people will know you have them. Benefits of inlays and onlays include:
- High strength–can restore strength to damaged teeth
- Usable for large cavities
- Most attractive appearance
- Stain resistant
The strength and attractiveness of inlays and onlays really make them the best in many situations. They can be more durable than silver fillings. However, they are less popular because they:
- Require two visits to place
- Are more expensive
- People don’t know about their benefits
However, as we move into the future, we expect inlays and onlays to grow in popularity as people realize that for many situations, inlays and onlays are just the best.
Should You Remove Metal Fillings
There is some controversy about metal. We know that mercury from metal fillings doesn’t stay in the filling, and that it can accumulate in the body. Mercury is one of the most toxic elements on the planet, so toxic that the world has pledged to stop using it. In the US, we have very restrictive rules for handling mercury, until we put it in your mouth, where it is somehow assumed to be safe.
However, for many people, the damage from mercury has already been done, and there is little benefit to removing them, other than cosmetic. However, if you think metal fillings are causing you problems, we can talk about removing them.