Traditional metal fillings are no longer the only option. Porcelain inlays and onlays are a strong, durable alternative that create a more natural appearance, even as they strengthen and repair worn or damaged teeth.
Sue didn’t like the appearance of her silver fillings. Her new white fillings look and feel like her natural teeth.
What are Porcelain Fillings?
Porcelain fillings are carefully crafted from ceramic to ensure a seamless fit with your teeth. Each filling is either an “inlay” or an “onlay.” An inlay is used to repair internal damage between the tooth cusps, such as a deep cavity. An onlay can be used to cover more superficial damage to the front, side, or cusps of a tooth. Ceramic fillings can be used to repair chipped teeth, scratches on the tooth surface, or decay inside a tooth.
Each porcelain filling is created in the lab under intense pressure and heat to ensure that it can withstand everyday wear and tear while protecting and strengthening your teeth. Unlike metal fillings, which are a glittering eyesore, porcelain inlays and onlays are designed to blend in with the exact shade of your teeth. If you intend to have your teeth whitened, it’s best to do this first so your fillings can be matched to your new, brighter smile.
Advantages of Porcelain Inlays and Onlays Compared to Metal Fillings
People may choose to replace their mercury fillings with porcelain dental inlays for a variety of reasons. Appearance is only one of a long list of reasons you’re likely to find ceramic fillings to be a better option:
- Porcelain fillings are natural looking, blending in with the color of your teeth, so no one needs to know you’ve ever had a cavity filled or dental work performed.
- Inlays and onlays are bonded to the tooth, strengthening its structure by pulling inwards. In contrast, a metal filling actually weakens the tooth by pushing outward with pressure that can eventually result in breakage.
- Ceramic fillings are bonded to the tooth, creating a seal that blocks out bacteria. Metal fillings are packed into the tooth but not bonded, which makes it possible for bacteria to lodge under the filling and create hidden decay.
- Unlike metal, porcelain does not change its shape or size in response to temperature fluctuations. As a result, it won’t exert the kinds of pressure that older fillings create within a tooth.
- Last but certainly not least, ceramic fillings are much safer for your health. Metal fillings release mercury vapor, a known toxin, every time they come into contact with something hot, such as a sip of coffee or a slice of pizza. Mercury is absorbed by the body and can be very dangerous. Although there is some controversy over the health impact of the small amount of mercury in metal fillings, many countries have banned them as a toxic substance.
Alone or As Part of a Larger Restoration
Porcelain fillings can be done as a single procedure, or as part of a larger course of cosmetic dental work, such as a full mouth reconstruction. Whether you need new inlays or are interested in having old metal fillings replaced, Dr. Kleive will assess the health of your teeth and gums and recommend the solution that will be most helpful in restoring oral health, preventing sensitivity, and improving the strength of your teeth.
I have superficial damage to the front and sides of my teeth. Is that something that can be repaired with porcelain fillings?
Depending on the type and extent of the damage, porcelain onlays may be a good choice for repairing scratched or chipped teeth. Porcelain veneers are another viable option for this kind of issue.
I already have several metal fillings, but I don’t like the way they look or feel in my mouth. Is it possible to replace them with porcelain fillings?
Dr. Kleive specializes in the safe removal and replacement of old metal fillings.
How long will porcelain fillings last?
Well-made porcelain inlays and onlays are very durable, but they can’t be expected to last as long as metal fillings. Dr. Kleive’s ceramic fillings are custom-fitted to your teeth and are carefully bonded to ensure the longest life possible, but the exact time frame depends on your bite, your daily diet, and other factors.
Please call or email us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about how porcelain fillings might benefit you. Dr. Kleive’s practice serves the town of Black Mountain and the Asheville North Carolina area.
Dr. Mark Kleive proudly extends his services and expertise in cosmetic dentistry to patients traveling from nearby cities. We have provided driving directions from the following cities for your convenience.