Silver or amalgam fillings have been used for decades in dentistry, and have served their purpose. However, they are placed in teeth mechanically, very much like a dove-tail joint holds together the pieces of wood that make up a piece of furniture. But wood is not metal, and a room is not the mouth!
The oral cavity does not treat metal very kindly, and over time, the substances in the mouth and the foods that are consumed erode and degrade metal, including amalgam. This chips away at the integrity of a filling and often results in what we call "recurrent" decay -- or the development of a cavity under the filling.
This is only one reason why your silver fillings may need to be replaced. There are many other reasons why you might need to do that, and they include:
- To restore cavities in front and back teeth
- Replace old or unattractive "silver fillings"
- To repair root abrasion
- To close spaces between front teeth
- To restore chipped or fractured teeth
- To improve or change the colour of permanently stained or discoloured teeth
- To reshape crooked or misshaped teeth
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin is a natural looking, tooth-coloured synthetic material which is one of the most conservative, versatile and affordable ways to esthetically restore teeth. Composite resins bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. Composite resins come in a wide variety of shades, therefore, allowing shades to be blended to create a colour nearly identical to that of the actual tooth.
The dentist will begin by administering local anaesthetic. Once you are numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing the decayed portions of the tooth or the existing amalgam filling. After the preparation is complete the tooth will be isolated and the bonding agents will be applied. The bonding agents act as the "glue" between the tooth and the composite resin. Once the bonding agent has been cured, the incremental build-up of resin begins. The composite resin is added in layers to allow for thorough curing. When this process is finished, the filling is shaped to fit your bite and polished to prevent staining and early wear.
Composite Resin fillings are designed to look, feel and function like your natural teeth. Therefore, it is important to brush, floss and see your dentist regularly. To prevent damaging or fracturing your composite resin, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects. You also want to avoid clenching or grinding your teeth. If you habitually clench or grind your teeth, you might need a night guard.
Porcelain Fillings using CEREC
Good oral hygiene will help prevent staining from tobacco, coffee, tea and other staining foods. With proper care you can expect your composite resin filling to last many years. A stronger option to a composite resin is the placement of a porcelain filling. This can be done using the CEREC system.
Cerec porcelain restorations are used to make filings, inlays, onlays and crowns. They are the most aesthetic substitute for natural enamel. It is the strongest tooth coloured, non-mercury material available to restore teeth. Cerec restorations as compared to resin restorations have significantly less post-operative sensitivity and are much more resistant to wear than composite resins. Cerec porcelain restorations wear at about the same rate as natural tooth structure. The cerec restorations are biocompatible, bond to tooth structure and provide a perfect seal between tooth and filling therefore, minimizing the chance of recurrent decay. The Cerec restorations enhance the structural integrity of the tooth by strengthening the tooth, therefore being less likely to fracture, chip or break under normal chewing forces.