Porcelain Filling are gaining popularity. Also known as inlays or onlays, these conservative indirect fillings are helping replace dental crowns. With a more conservative approach, more of your tooth structure can be salvaged with Porcelain filling procedures.
Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, better home dental care products, and a greater emphasis on how to look after our teeth and gums from an early age, fewer of us are having fillings at the dentist than ever before.
But, that doesn’t mean that most of us won’t have one at some point in our lives. The average American adult has three fillings, and 25% of people have eleven or more. Fillings are a very common dental treatment and something that your dentist is sure to have plenty of experience in.
That doesn’t mean that we relish finding out that we need a dental filling, though. If you’ve been told at a recent checkup that you need a filling, here is everything that you need to know about porcelain fillings, which are a popular choice.
What Are Fillings?
Basically, a filling is the process of filling a small hole in your tooth with another material. However, there are different processes, as well as materials.
A filling is the most basic form of dental restoration and often used to treat a cavity caused by decay. The decay is drilled out, and the hole filled and set.
An inlay is when a hole is drilled, and a piece of material is cemented on to fill the gap. This is done if the cavity is too large to simply be filled.
An onlay covers the cusp of the tooth instead of just filling a hole. Like an inlay it is a single piece of material that is produced in a lab, specifically for that tooth.
A crown covers the entire surface of the tooth from the gum line. It’s usually fitted to an implant under or inside the gum.
Why Might I Need A Filling?
Most fillings are done to fill holes in the teeth caused by a build-up of decay. This can be due to inadequate brushing or a bad diet. But, fillings can also be used to treat teeth that have been damaged or eroded, perhaps by tooth grinding.
What is a Porcelain Filling?
A porcelain or ceramic filling is the main alternative to composite fillings. They are white and look like natural teeth.
Unlike a composite filling, which is soft and hardens once in place, a porcelain filling is solid. Your dentist will take scans of your mouth, and use these to have a filling custom made to fit the gap that needs to be filled. The porcelain filling is then cemented into place, whether as a filling, an inlay, or an onlay.
You will probably need at least two appointments with your dentist. The first to access the cavity, perhaps drill away any decay, and to take scans and measurements for the porcelain inlay, and the second to fit the filling.
When Might a Dentist Use Porcelain
Nowadays, there are many different materials used in the filling of teeth. Some of the most popular include:
– Metal. Metal fillings are often an amalgam (which they can also be called) of different metals. They are durable and usually work well in the back of your mouth, where maximum chewing pressure is needed. Gold is often a popular choice as it’s very strong, and stands out in your mouth, but silver is commonly used too.
– Composite. Composite fillings are made from powdered glass and acrylic resin. They are soft when placed into the cavity and hardened under blue light. These fillings look white, like natural teeth, and are ideal for smaller cavities.
Porcelain is a common alternative to both. If you need a lasting and robust material, but don’t want noticeable fillings, porcelain is often the best choice. Many dentists recommend porcelain for teeth at the back of your mouth, where strength is important, and for larger cavities, which may need an inlay or onlay instead of a simple filling.
Advantages of Porcelain Fillings
There are many advantages to porcelain fillings, but they can be more expensive than other kinds, so it is worth exploring your options and asking your dentist for their recommendations. Some of the benefits of choosing porcelain include:
– It looks natural. No one would even know that you had a filling. It will even stain like your normal teeth. This is an essential benefit for large work like a crown.
– Porcelain is a very strong material. Porcelain fillings shouldn’t mean that you have to avoid hard foods or chewing.
– Porcelain is also better for your remaining tooth, protecting it from further damage and reducing the risk of needing a crown further down the line.
– Porcelain prevents bacteria build-up. Porcelain fillings are cemented to your teeth without leaving gaps, which could give bacteria a place to grow.
– No Growth. One of the drawbacks of metal fillings is that they can contract and expand when they come into contact with very hot or cold food and drink. This can lead to cracks in your teeth. Porcelain holds shape in all conditions.
How Long Do Porcelain Fillings Last?
Typically a porcelain filling will last for up to 15 years, whereas a composite filling might only last for five before it needs replacing.
Taking good care of your teeth will mean that your filling is likely to last longer, but chances are, at some point, it will need replacing. Your dentist will check on it at checkups, and you should make an appointment if anything feels wrong between checkups.
How to Clean a Porcelain Filling
While your filling is bound to need replacing eventually, there’s plenty that you can do to make it last as long as possible. You should brush and floss your teeth normally twice a day, including the filled tooth. It’s a good idea to reduce the sugar in your diet and to limit drinks that stain, such as red wine and coffee, and you should rinse your mouth when you do enjoy these drinks. Try to drink more water, avoid biting down too hard, and speak to your dentist for help if you grind your teeth.
How Much Do Porcelain Fillings Cost in Houston, TX?
When it comes to natural-looking fillings, porcelain is the most expensive, with costs ranging from $250 to $800 depending on the type of Porcelain filling recommended. But, their durability and long life span can make them a cost-effective option.
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