There are two types of white fillings, Ceramic or Composite.
The filling material is chosen depending upon the size of the cavity that exists after removing the decay, old fillings or any cracks in the teeth.
Ceramic Inlays or Onlays (porcelain)
These restorations are used when the size of cavity is big and the remaining tooth requires more strength to prevent fractures. They are much stronger than the composite restorations. An inlay covers only one to three surfaces of the tooth and is used to restore a small amount of tooth.
An onlay actually covers one or more cusps (the chewing surface of the tooth.) Inlays and onlays are an excellent way to help solve a problem caused by moderate decay. Some of the indications of ceramic/ porcelain inalys and onlays are :
- Desire to limit the amount of healthy tooth structure removed
- Any level of decay on a portion of any tooth
- Need for a long-term, durable restoration
- Need to strengthen and reinforce a tooth
Composite (plastic) Fillings
These are generally done when the size of the cavity is not too big and good contacts can be achieved without porcelain fillings. Composite (plastic) fillings can last a very long time.
Composites are not only used to restore decayed areas, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the colour of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
Advantages of Composite Resin Filling
Aesthetics are the main advantage, since dentists can blend shades to create a colour nearly identical to that of the actual tooth.
Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
Disadvantages of composite resin filling
After receiving a composite, a patient may experience post-operative sensitivity.
Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee or other staining foods.
The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the colour from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth colour.
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