These days, few dentists use metal amalgam fillings anymore. Between the cosmetic issues, the functional nuisances, possible damage to your teeth, and long-term risk of health consequences, dentists are eschewing metal amalgam fillings in favor of tooth-colored fillings. And patients know the reasons to upgrade from metal fillings.
However, not all tooth-colored fillings are equal. There are two kinds of tooth-colored fillings: composite and ceramic. The composite fillings are better than metal amalgam, but they are not as good as ceramic fillings. Here are five reasons why you might want to upgrade your composite fillings to ceramic fillings.
Composite fillings look great when they are first polished. They can be color matched to look exactly like your natural teeth and when they’re polished they can have the same luster as natural tooth enamel.
However, the soft plastic part of composite fillings is vulnerable to surface damage, and this can make it lose its luster, which can make a composite filling look like a dull spot on the tooth. Ceramic fillings are stronger and their surfaces are resistant to both physical wear and chemical attack by acids. They keep their luster and look like natural teeth.
While the loss of luster is a subtle cosmetic defect that you might not notice, you are more likely to notice the discoloration that can sometimes affect composite fillings. Composite fillings are partly plastic, and this plastic can absorb stain molecules from food, drink, and other sources. If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, or red wine you might notice composite fillings get stained. Since they don’t respond to whitening the way natural teeth do, this can become a major cosmetic defect.
But ceramic fillings don’t absorb stain molecules. As long as they retain their surface glaze, they will stay the same color that matches your natural teeth.
Metal fillings conduct heat into the tooth, leading to temperature sensitivity. Both composite and ceramic fillings are better insulators than metal fillings. They protect you from temperature sensitivity. However, composite fillings are soft, and sometimes this softness can lead to pressure sensitivity. Usually, this is because the fillings were used for a cavity that is too large for them.
Ceramic fillings, on the other hand, are hard, and protect your tooth from pressure sensitivity. If you have sensitive fillings, replacing them with ceramic fillings will usually fix the problem.
If you’ve read the above entries, you are coming to understand how much stronger ceramic fillings are than composite fillings. This additional strength helps make them more durable. While composite fillings often last about ten years, ceramic fillings can last 30 years! And they look good doing it.
The problem of the weakness of composite fillings doesn’t stop with sensitivity. In some situations, it can actually weaken your teeth, putting them at risk. Again, this is only a problem when composite fillings are used for very large cavities.
Are You Considering Upgrading Your Fillings in Hilton Head?
Most of the time, we upgrade people from metal fillings to tooth-colored fillings. However, sometimes people want to upgrade from composite fillings to the more attractive and more durable ceramic fillings. If you are looking to upgrade your fillings, please call (843) 706-2999 today for an appointment with a Hilton Head cosmetic dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.