A concern that many of our patients have expressed when it comes to cavity treatment is having unsightly fillings placed. While silver amalgam fillings were previously the common way to deal with cavities, they were not an attractive option, particularly on more visible teeth. Other metal options like gold can be more attractive but still very visible.
Instead of having a greyish-colored filling in your mouth, here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, you can find non-metal fillings that will blend perfectly with your natural teeth.
What Are Non-Metal Fillings
Non-metal fillings are becoming an increasingly popular service in dental offices, and are sometimes called white fillings, thanks to their discreet appearance. They can be made of a variety of materials, such as composite resin, porcelain, or glass ionomer. One of the most standout features of non-metal fillings is its excellent aesthetics.
When it comes to repairing teeth, non-metal fillings can be closely matched to existing teeth as opposed to metal or silver amalgam fillings that are very noticeable. Non-metal fillings are also known for requiring the least amount of tooth structure removal. In fact, these kinds of fillings often strengthen the tooth they are placed on because non-metal fillings will seal well due to the chemical bonding process.
Types Of Non-Metal Fillings
There are a few different types of non-metal fillings. All of them are tooth-colored but have different properties to recommend them.
Composite resin – Fast taking over the silver amalgam fillings are composite resin fillings. These tooth-colored fillings are composed of a variety of particles such as ceramic, glass, quartz, and other materials held together by resin.
Composite resin fillings can be placed just about anywhere on the tooth, making it a versatile filling. Also, very little of the tooth structure needs to be removed to have a resin filling placed.
Porcelain inlay – When a cavity is too big for a traditional filling but doesn’t quite merit a crown, a porcelain inlay is used. This type of filling is designed to go within or over the cusp—the top tips—of the teeth. Sometimes composite resin is used to create an inlay, but porcelain is a tougher material and preferred over resin.
The cusp of the tooth is a particularly vulnerable spot, as it is constantly coming into contact with things like food as you bite down. Having it strengthened and protected by a porcelain inlay can help prevent further issues down the road, and potentially, tooth loss.
Glass ionomer – This type of dental filling is not strong but does provide specialized benefits. For one thing, it can passively dispense fluoride, which can help prevent further tooth decay. Also, glass ionomer fillings create a chemical link, helping to support the tooth further.
As this type of filling can’t take much impact, glass ionomer fillings are generally only used on areas of the teeth that aren’t involved in biting and on baby teeth.
However, in most cases, when dentists talk about non-metal fillings, they are talking about composite resin fillings as these fillings are affordable, durable, and easily applied.
Benefits Of Non-Metal Fillings
The benefits for the various non-metal fillings can vary a bit depending on which one you pick. Basing these benefits on the common composite resin fillings, you can enjoy a variety of clear advantages.
- Non-metal fillings can be color-matched by our dentist. That way, there is no obvious filling, unlike silver amalgam or gold fillings.
- Dr. Taylor does not have to remove much more than the decayed area of the tooth to place the composite resin, as this non-metal filling is flexible. So, you can retain more of your natural tooth structure.
- With a non-metal filling, our dentist has an easy time bonding it to your tooth. For instance, a composite resin filling can be placed in layers, curing and hardening one layer before applying another. These layers of composite resin will quickly bond to your teeth and protect you from further decay.
- Non-metal fillings are completely mercury-free. If you are concerned about the potential side effects—though that is not the type of mercury in silver amalgam fillings—non-metal fillings are your best bet.
Potential Drawbacks Of Non-Metal Fillings
As with all types of dental fillings, there are potential drawbacks to choosing non-metal fillings. Some that you may want to consider are:
- Non-metal fillings like composite resin do not last as long as metal fillings. On average, you can expect this type of filling to last between five to seven years.
- As this type of filling doesn’t last as long as metal fillings, you will need to come in for replacements sooner. However, as you should be coming in twice a year for preventative cleanings, our dentist will be able to spot issues with your composite resin fillings before they become serious.
- There are more steps involved in having non-metal fillings placed. With these additional steps, you will need to spend a longer time in our dental clinic to have your teeth taken care of and filled.
Which Type Of Filling Is Best
What types of filling is best for you will depend on a variety of factors. Our dentist can advise you based on your dental needs, and you may have the ability to choose different filling options.
For instance, let’s say that you have a cavity on the top of your molar. Generally, a porcelain inlay filling is recommended, as it can take the pressure of your bite. However, our dentist can also offer to just have a composite resin put in place, though it may need to be replaced sooner than expected. As a composite resin is more affordable than a porcelain inlay, so if that is a factor, then it may make the resin filling the best choice.
Are Non-Metal Fillings Covered By Insurance
Whether or not your non-metal fillings are covered by insurance is highly dependent on your insurance provider. Often, insurance companies will cover the cost up to the amount of a silver amalgam filling, which is the cheapest filling. The leftover amount for your non-metal filling is left up to you to cover.
If you are concerned about your dental filling coverage, be sure to talk to your insurance provider.
Find Non-Metal Fillings At Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry
If you would like to replace your metal fillings with non-metal fillings, or need other dental services, feel free to contact us for an appointment. We look forward to helping you reach the smile of your dreams!