Over the past 40 years, many advances have been made in the materials and techniques used to fill cavities and repair decayed teeth. When fillings were first introduced, they were all made of amalgam, a metal mixture containing mercury. These fillings, which are still used today, are not desirable for a variety of reasons: they are prone to cracking over time, very noticeable - often turning black with age, and contain hazardous mercury. For all of these reasons, dental filling upgrades that use metal-free materials are more popular than ever.
The tooth on the left has the old, large style of filling. Once that filling is removed, notice how cracked and damaged the tooth is underneath.
Aside from the reasons listed above, plastic and porcelain filling upgrades offer many benefits over amalgam. When you upgrade your metal fillings to porcelain or composite, they are:
- Custom made to create a better seal over your teeth,
- Stronger and harden much more quickly than amalgam
- Match the natural color and sheen of your teeth,
- More stable and don't expand/contract in extreme hot and cold temperatures- which can cause your teeth to be sensitive and weaken over time.
Which one is right for you?
Think of it this way: plastic is better, but porcelain is the best. Porcelain restores more of the original tooth's strength, is more durable, fits the best, wears like tooth enamel and forms the best surface for chewing.
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