You already know that Dr. Hood Biggers can use our CEREC technology to create a same-day crown for you in our Midlothian, VA dentist office. It’s a great benefit, because you won’t have to spend weeks wearing a temporary crown while you wait for an outside lab to manufacture your dental restoration.
But CEREC has other uses, as well. We can also use CEREC’s CAD/CAM (computer-assisted design and computer-assisted manufacturing) technology to make dental fillings for you. Doing so gives you the best of both worlds, as CEREC dental fillings offer many of the advantages associated with both amalgam (metal) and composite fillings.
Every Cavity Is Different, So We Use Different Fillings
Some dental practices use only one type of filling. But because every cavity is different, we use different fillings for different situations. Your three choices of filling materials are:
- Amalgam, a mixture of metals including silver-tin alloy, copper and mercury
- Composite resin, a mixture of high-quality plastics, quartz fillers and colorants
- CEREC dental fillings, made of porcelain
All of the materials offer advantages and disadvantages, which we’ve highlighted for you here. In the meantime, if you’ve got questions about fillings, CEREC, or anything else, give us a call at 804-621-2199.
H2: Pros and Cons of Amalgam Fillings
The biggest advantages of amalgam fillings are:
- Durability. They typically last longer than either composite or porcelain.
- Strength. Because they can withstand lots of chewing force, they can be a good choice for your back teeth where appearance isn’t as important.
- Cost. Amalgam is also the most economical choice, which is why insurance plans tend to favor it over other filling materials.
A major disadvantage is their lack of aesthetic appeal. Few people want to put dull gray fillings in visible areas of their mouth. And we simply can’t use them for some areas, such as front teeth, or the edges of teeth.
In addition, they require us to remove more of your healthy tooth material for placement than either composite or porcelain. They also tend to expand and contract when subjected to extremes of hot and cold, which can cause cracks or other damage over time.
Pros and Cons of Composite Fillings
Perhaps the greatest advantage of composite fillings is their natural appearance. We can match the color to your other teeth. They also require less alteration of your teeth than amalgam fillings; more of your tooth structure remains intact. We can bond them to your teeth, which creates a better “seal” that makes it tough for bacteria or food debris to get in around the edges of the filling. Unlike amalgam, there are few concerns about allergic reactions.
Two of the biggest disadvantages of composite fillings are their cost and their durability. Even though they likely won’t last as long as amalgam fillings, they will cost more. This is why many insurance plans will not cover the entire cost of composite fillings.
CEREC Dental Fillings Offer Best of Both Materials
CEREC dental fillings combine some of the advantages of amalgam and composite fillings. For example:
- Like composite, we can match the shade to your teeth. So they blend in seamlessly with your smile.
- They are more durable than composite and can last as long as amalgam with proper care. Unlike amalgam, they won’t corrode over time.
- You’ll retain more of your healthy tooth structure with CEREC dental fillings than with amalgam.
- They are less susceptible to staining or pitting than composite.
CEREC gives us a great deal of flexibility in the design of your dental fillings. If your dental decay is too severe for a simple filling yet not severe enough for a dental crown, we can create special fillings called inlays or onlays. An inlay covers the entire top surface of your tooth. An onlay is a bit more extensive and covers the entire surface and one or more of your tooth’s “cusps.”
CEREC dental fillings also offer some of the same benefits as CEREC dental crowns. Thanks to the sophisticated software, you’ll get a great custom fit for your filling. And Dr. Biggers uses digital technology, not messy molding material, if he needs to make any impressions of your teeth.
The best way to avoid cavities is to brush and floss daily and to see us every six months for dental exams and cleanings. Still, even if you’re diligent about your dental care, it’s possible to get a cavity. Because we offer a choice of filling materials, you can get the one that will work best in your situation. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of your options, including CEREC dental fillings, so you can make an informed choice.
Think you might have a cavity? The sooner we can deal with it, the better! Call Biggers Family Dentistry at 804-621-2199 to book an appointment. You can also request an appointment online by filling out our contact form.