Why Do I Need a Filling?
You may need to have your teeth filled if they are decayed. Dental decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth attacking the tooth enamel, causing it to erode, exposing the much softer layer of dentin underneath. A cavity can begin to form as the bacteria begin to eat away at the dentin, and even though the hole in your tooth enamel can appear quite small, the decay underneath can be pretty substantial, weakening the overall structure of the tooth.
Eventually, if the decay is not treated, you may find your tooth breaks as you bite down. This is one of the reasons why we like our patients to come in at regular intervals for check-ups, as we can detect any small spots or lesions in your teeth, and at this stage it might be possible to carry out some sort of tooth enamel repair through applying fluoride. Otherwise you will need a filling.
Porcelain is just one of several materials that can be used. It is possible to have white composite resin fillings if the cavities are pretty small, but this material can soon stain and discolor, and will need replacing after just a few years. Some dentists will still offer amalgam fillings, but these are silver colored fillings that can create dark areas in the mouth, and there are concerns about their mercury content. We prefer to practice mercury free dentistry as it is the safest option for our patients.
Reasons for Choosing Porcelain Fillings
Porcelain fillings are hard wearing, long lasting and can look beautiful in the mouth. They will blend in with your existing teeth so no one need know any of your teeth have been filled. You can confidently expect a porcelain filling to last up to a decade, or perhaps even longer. This means they are a cost-effective choice. They are precision made to fit exactly in your mouth, creating a tight seal that will prevent further bacteria from entering the cavity. Once they are bonded in position they will restore the tooth to full function, providing strength to the remaining structure.
The Procedure for Having a Porcelain Filling
Traditionally porcelain fillings require several visits to our dental office. The first visit will be to diagnose the cavity, while the second will be to prepare the tooth for the filling. The filling is fitted during your third visit. The reason why the process takes so long is because these types of fillings are indirect as they have to be custom made by our dental laboratory. If we feel it will be the best choice for you, then we may still recommend an indirect filling, but otherwise we may be able to place your filling in just one visit.
CEREC fillings are made on-site, while you wait. They are milled from a single block of porcelain, and we have many different shades and translucencies to choose from. Your dentist will prepare your tooth before scanning it with a special type of camera. This information is used to digitally design your porcelain filling. Once our dentist is happy with the design then the information is transmitted wirelessly to the milling machine. It is milled into shape before being checked and finished by your dentist. It only takes around twenty minutes or so to do this, and during this time you can relax with our chair-side LCD entertainment system.
The next step is to fit the porcelain filling, and the use of computerized technology helps to ensure the fit is very accurate. The final step is to bond the filling into place. You should be able to leave our dental office with a beautiful, strong and natural filling that looks exactly like your own tooth.
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