A dental filling is a type of dental restorative therapy used to repair minimal tooth fractures, deterioration of the tooth or otherwise damaged surfaces of the teeth. For improved biting or chewing, filling products, which include composite, porcelain and silver amalgam, can be used to even out tooth surfaces.
Enamel loss is a prevalent element of tooth decay, and can result in sensitivity to the tooth. In certain cases, when an acceptable dental filling material is placed, sensitivity caused by enamel loss can be greatly enhanced or fully removed. But in some cases, the affected tooth can require additional or alternative treatments, depending on the degree of tooth decay or injury, including:
- Dental Crowns: A dental crown may be needed for teeth that need more protection than provided by a conventional filling.
- Dental Implants & Dental Bridges: An implant or bridge may be needed for irreparable tooth damage that involves tooth extraction.
- Root canals (perhaps along with antibiotic treatment): A root canal operation may be needed for infected, abscessed or nerve damaged teeth.
Composite or Porcelain?
Both composite and porcelain, and amalgam, are associated with a variety of pros and cons.
Protection and appearance: Porcelain and composite fillings have the potential advantage of not containing mercury or other metals that can lead to susceptibility or toxicity, in addition to providing a more pleasing and realistic tooth-like appearance. A controversial topic is mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings, but no study to date has been able to demonstrate any risks of using mercury as a part of amalgam fillings. Many patients do, however, have metal sensitivities and some have reported a metal flavor after amalgam placement. That said, substantial research has been conducted assessing the toxicity associated with biodegradation of composites. Mercury toxicity is well known, but to fully understand potential composite toxicity, further study is needed.
Durability: Historically, porcelain and composites were not as durable as amalgams. However, to the effect that composite fillings now have the ability to be used for all teeth, including molars, dental manufacturers have made great strides in improving the strength of composite resin materials. In addition, composite materials often need less tooth preparation and do not damage the affected tooth as much as amalgam, which often requires more thorough preparation of the tooth. Amalgam fillings, however, have a long-term track record and, in addition to being more robust, can last much longer than porcelain and composites. Composite materials are often more likely to leak, so they can degrade faster than amalgam.
Tooth Shaping: All fillings require the affected tooth to be prepared, but typically less preparation is needed for porcelain or composite. Usually, when placing a composite, this ensures that less healthy tooth structure must be removed.
Technique and Time: The success of porcelain or composite depends on the technique of your dentist, rather than amalgam. Usage of additional equipment is often needed for porcelain or composite restorations, and the process itself takes up to 50 percent more time than the amalgam filling process. The higher costs associated with porcelain and composites contribute to these factors. Furthermore, the extra costs associated with porcelain and composites are not covered by most dental insurance providers.
Skill: Most dentists are specialised in porcelain and composite fillings, although there may be differences in their skill level. An significant factor in treating tooth decay or similar harm is the selection of the right dentist. Ask if your dentist has undergone the sort of post-graduate education that enables dentists to refine their porcelain or composite restoration skills. Dr Farhan has 10 years of experience in the same field and can deliver unmatched results.
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