Composite fillings are plastic material with small glass particles. As opposed to amalgam fillings, they are tooth coloured rather than silver. They are great for repairing the front and back teeth that have been damaged by cavities or other defects.
After preparation, the composite filling is placed in layers into the area of your tooth that needs repair. Each layer is then hardened by flashing a special light.
Once your tooth is filled, your dentist trims the composite to fit the tooth and then polishes it to reduce discolouration.
- More attractive than amalgam fillings
- Teeth tend to be stronger than with amalgam fillings
- Can be fit into very small holes thus less drilling is needed
- Helps insulate the tooth from major temperature changes
- Take slightly longer to place than amalgam and require a more complex technique
- More expensive than amalgam
- Tooth may be sensitive for a time after the procedure
- Can be stained by certain foods and drinks
Inlays and onlays
Inlays used to be made of gold but are now often made of porcelain, ceramic, or composite material. They repair moderately damaged back teeth and need to be extremely strong to withstand grinding pressures.
They are glued into place and are contained within the cusp tips of the tooth. The glue increases the strength of the bond.
Onlays are pretty much the same except they cover the tooth cups as well. They are much stronger than an inlay or any other type of filling and increases the strength of the tooth as well.
Fitting inlays and onlays normally requires two visits to your dentist. During your first visit, the old filling or decayed area is removed and the surface is prepared for the new filling. An impression is made of the area which is used to make the inlay or onlay. A temporary filling is appliced until the next visit.
At your next visit, the temporary filling is removed and the new one is fitted. Your dentist makes sure that it’s a proper fit and doesn’t interfere with your bite. Then, it is bonded into place with a powerful glue and polished.
- Increase the overall strength of your tooth
- Can be made to match the colour of your teeth
- Can last up to ten years unless they get decay under
- A good alternative to a crown
- Can be expensive
- Require tooth removal