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Fillings, inlays and onlays

Which Type of Filling is Best?

No type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of damage to the tooth, the shape of the cavity, the position of the tooth (front or back tooth), how you bite together, whether you have any allergies and the cost of certain materials.

Composite (plastic) fillings are colour matched to your teeth so that they blend in naturally with your own tooth colour. They can be used when a natural appearance is desired, especially on front teeth but it is also a very good material to use when a more adhesive filling material is required as they are bonded to the tooth structure.

Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, they are dark in colour and so are not as aesthetically pleasing as a porcelain or composite restoration.

Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays. They match the colour of the tooth. A porcelain restoration is made at a laboratory and requires two visits in the dental chair. It can cover most or just part of the tooth and is bonded to the remaining tooth structure whilst strengthening it.

Gold fillings are made in a laboratory and then bonded into place. Gold material is well tolerated by the gum tissues and may last more than 20 years.

Inlays and Onlays

To repair damage to the tooth’s biting surface, rather than using a simple filling, or a crown, a dentist can often use an inlay, or an onlay. Inlays and onlays can be made from porcelain, gold, or composite resin. Porcelain is now becoming the material of choice because of its strength and potential to match the natural color of your tooth. It is bonded to your tooth with a thin layer of composite resin and is very hard wearing.


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