We are a mercury-free practice. However, many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and Tooth Colored Restorations (onlays) and resin composite dental fillings create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies. The video shows how an resin or porcelain inlay/onlay is performed. A resin composite dental filling is done in one simple appointment just like any other dental filling you have had done.
Disadvantages of Silver Fillings:
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.
Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with Tooth-Colored Restorations.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin material, or tooth colored restorations, are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Because the resin used in tooth-colored restorations are bonded to the tooth, creating a nice fit, it can help prevent leakage and decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
Types of Tooth-Colored Restorations
Tooth colored restorations include resin composite material, resin or porcelain inlays, and resin or porcelain onlays. Dr. Elbrecht would be happy to discuss the differences in these materials and the procedures involved. Typically a resin composite material is placed and finished in one simple visit. This procedure is the same as any simple dental restoration(dental filling). Inlays and Onlays are typically a multiple visit appointment.
Replacing Silver Fillings with an Inlay/Onlay
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations (onlays). This process requires two appointments.
Your First Appointment:
- The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.
- An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.
- A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.
At the Lab: A resin is carefully placed into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural.
Your Second Appointment:
- The temporary onlay is removed.
- A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.
- Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.
- The tooth is then polished.
Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the tooth is protected!
How are tooth fillings done?
Depending on the type of filling you choose, the process will be completed in 1 to 2 appointments. If 2 appointments are needed, the first appointment will be used to prep the tooth and take any necessary impressions. Before any type of filling, your dentist will numb the area surrounding where the work will be done. Next, your dentist will replace the infected or decayed area with a filling. The entire process will not take more than an hour per appointment.
What types of dental fillings are there?
Fillings can be made from a wide range of materials. These materials include silver, composite resin (tooth colored fillings), gold and ceramics. Each material has its own list of pros and cons. Talk to Dr. Elbercht to find out what type of filling is best for you.
How often should fillings be replaced?
Silver filings are stronger than other types of fillings and will only need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Composite fillings, like tooth colored fillings, need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years due to the softer nature of the material. You’ll need to replace your fillings sooner if you eat hard foods and/or grind your teeth.
How long does a cavity filling last?
Tooth cavity fillings tend to last for about 7-10 years before needing to be replaced.