Buffalo Dentist Dr. Larry Evola knows there was a time when your only choice to fill a cavity was the old gray metal fillings.
Today if you need a filling, there are more choices. Dr. Evola offers his Buffalo, New York patients white composite fillings and porcelain fillings. Whereas metal fillings were compressed into the cavity tightly enough to keep them from falling out, porcelain fillings are bonded to the tooth, and become part of it.
Who is a candidate for fillings?
Children and adults who experience minor to moderate tooth decay are good candidates for dental filling treatment. If a tooth is severely damaged by decay or other injury, a dental filling may not be sufficient to fully restore chewing capacity. In this instance, the dentist may recommend a dental crown.
Types of Porcelain Fillings
There are two types of porcelain fillings:
- Porcelain Inlays
- Porcelain Onlays
Inlays are smaller, and contained within the cusps of the tooth. Onlays are done for larger areas of decay and extend over to the outside surface of the tooth.
Advantages of inlays and onlays
- With inlays and onlays, more of your natural tooth can be preserved, since the porcelain will be bonded to the tooth, rather than packed into a space.
- The porcelain is color-matched to your natural tooth so it's hardly noticeable. Both inlays and onlays will join invisibly with your natural tooth enamel and look like part of your tooth.
- Metal fillings require more of the natural tooth to be drilled out, even if it isn't decayed so that the space will be a good shape to hold the amalgam, or metal filling.
- Metals fillings weaken the tooth because they expand and contract with the temperature of things in your mouth. Porcelain fillings strengthen the tooth, because they're bonded to it and hold it together.
What are the advantages of using Porcelain fillings over Metal Fillings?
Porcelain dental fillings offer several advantages over metal fillings. These include:
- Porcelain matches the appearance of surrounding enamel so does not stand out aesthetically when a person laughs or smiles.
- Metal fillings start out a lighter silver color but, over time, they turn very dark, making them immediately noticeable. Dental porcelain is free of mercury and all metal. While the amount of mercury in amalgam fillings is low, it is a concern for many patients. Being metal-free, porcelain fillings do not expand and contract.
- The consistent form of the porcelain filling is gentler on the tooth in which it is placed. Metal fillings, because they expand and contract, can cause fractures to the natural tooth. Porcelain fillings bond to the natural tooth. The bonding process is more conservative than metal fillings, which are mechanically retained and thus require more reduction of the natural tooth than is necessary to remove decay. Bonded porcelain fillings are very durable and can last several years.
How long Porcelain fillings last
A filling can last from 7 years to over 20. How long a porcelain filling lasts can depend on several factors, including where it is in the mouth, the size of the filling, and the patient's oral hygiene. Fillings are put under a lot of stress when we bite and chew. Over time, this can cause the filling to wear down. During every routine dental exam, the dentist also evaluates all restorations that a patient has to confirm they are in optimal condition.
How can I prepare for my filling procedure?
There is nothing that a patient needs to do to prepare for their porcelain dental filling. Treatment may be performed immediately after a dental exam is done.
Are Dental Fillings Painful?
This restorative treatment is performed using a local anesthetic. We do everything that we can to make it comfortable. The dentist or dental assistant may place a topical numbing gel on the gums for a few minutes to minimize the sensation of the anesthetic injection. Once the injection is administered, the nerves around the tooth are numb. While the dentist is repairing the tooth and placing the filling, patients may feel slight pressure on the tooth or the jaw, but this is not painful.
The Porcelain Filling Procedure
Porcelain fillings typically take two visits to our office.
- During the first appointment, the damaged or decayed area is very precisely removed and an impression, or mold, is taken of the tooth. The mold is sent off to a dental lab, which will fabricate the onlay or inlay from porcelain materials.
- At your second visit, Dr. Evola will bond the inlay or onlay onto the damaged tooth. While this procedure sounds simple, it requires great skill to do it correctly. Dr. Evola is highly trained and experienced in the art and science of porcelain inlays and onlays.
What is recovery like from the Filling procedure?
After the dental filling procedure, patients may notice that the tooth that has been treated is slightly sensitive to hot and cold. This should last no more than a week or two if it does occur. If sensitivity is uncomfortable, the patient may brush with a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. The gums or jaw may also feel sore for a few days. Soreness can be alleviated by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. Following the procedure, patients should continue brushing and flossing as they normally would. There are no special instructions for caring for the new filling. When will I be able to eat after my procedure? The porcelain filling is hard and durable as soon as it is bonded to the tooth. However, patients should avoid chewing until the local anesthetic has completely worn off. Biting and chewing while the mouth is still numb or tingly could result in inadvertently biting the cheek or lip.
Schedule a Client Consultation
If you suspect that you need a new filling or you have old metal fillings that need to be replaced, contact the Forestream Dental today. We'll be happy to schedule an appointment for your procedure or if you need more information first, we can schedule a complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation for porcelain fillings with Dr. Evola. We're conveniently located in the Buffalo, New York area and provide all types of restorative dentistry services to the areas of Lancaster, Orchard Park, and Williamsville, New York.