Tooth-Colored Fillings

Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry

Overview

If you are like most people, you do not much like the appearance of metal fillings. Tooth-colored fillings, also known as white fillings, can effectively restore decaying teeth and replace old metal fillings. They are made of a composite resin with components including silicone dioxide and plastic.

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall’s office is mercury-free and metal-free and offers white fillings and porcelain fillings.

White Fillings vs. Metal Fillings

Unlike gray metal, white fillings look completely natural. Dr. Marshall can color them to match your own tooth enamel.

The procedure is much like the old amalgam procedure with two differences:

  • The composite resin is metal- and mercury-free
  • The filling is bonded to the tooth rather than just packed tightly into the cavity

By being bonded to the tooth, the filling pulls inward on the tooth’s periphery, holding it together. This is in contrast to metal fillings, which exert outward pressure and will eventually fracture the tooth.

Tooth-colored fillings also benefit you by requiring less healthy tooth tissue to be removed. When a metal filling is placed, the cavity must be shaped to hold it in, and must be given a ridged surface, requiring removal of some healthy tissue. Bonding eliminates that necessity.

White Fillings vs. Porcelain Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings do not have as much of a pearly sheen as porcelain fillings, although they are white and matched to your natural teeth. Tooth-colored fillings are also not quite as durable as porcelain fillings. If you need a filling on a front surface of a front tooth, you might consider porcelain instead of composite.

A word of caution if you are considering a teeth whitening treatment: White composite will not be affected by the bleaching agent. Have the whitening treatment done before your new fillings are placed. This way, Dr. Marshall can match the fillings to your new tooth color.

Porcelain fillings provide a natural appearance that closely resembles your own teeth. Dental porcelain has the same translucent appearance as natural tooth enamel. Once the porcelain filling is bonded to your tooth, it becomes extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall has extensive experience and hands-on skill using CEREC technology to create porcelain fillings and porcelain crowns.

Porcelain fillings are a much safer alternative to the old metal amalgam fillings. The porcelain is so similar in appearance to your natural teeth that nobody will know you have a filling. Because the porcelain filling is bonded to the tooth, it preserves and strengthens the tooth, rather than weakening and eventually fracturing it, as a metal filling does.

Porcelain Filling Procedure

To create a porcelain filling, Dr. Marshall cleans and prepares your tooth and takes digital photographs and measurements. She will choose a shade of porcelain to match your teeth and use our CEREC system CAD-CAM software to design the filling. The CEREC system includes a mill that will make the filling to the exact dimensions Dr. Marshall provides.

You will not always have to come for a second visit. The CEREC system allows us to bypass the dental laboratory so you won’t have to wait while your porcelain filling gets made. You also won’t need a temporary filling. With CEREC, you come for one visit only and leave with an invisible and comfortable restoration done with microscopic accuracy.

Advantages of Porcelain Fillings

Porcelain fillings offer:

  • Strength and durability
  • A longer tooth life than is offered by amalgam fillings
  • Beautiful merging with your natural tooth color
  • Exceptional cosmetic appeal

Dr. Marshall has been a practicing cosmetic dentist since 1998 and has received recognition for her studies and work at LVI (Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies) and other well-known educational institutions. She is trained to work with porcelain and to design excellent dental restorations.

Replacement of Metal Fillings

You probably know that mercury is a toxin and has been banned to varying degrees in many countries. Dr. Lindsey Marshall is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most advanced procedures, technology and products available. Dr. Marshall believes it is her responsibility to minimize your exposure to any possible risks.

Because of the controversy over dental use of mercury and metal and the possible threat to your health, we have chosen to make our office metal-free and mercury-free. Instead of metal amalgam and gold, we use tooth-colored composite and dental porcelain. Both of these materials are matched in shade to your natural teeth, and they offer greater safety and visual appeal than any metal restorations.

Whether or not you should replace your metal fillings is an individual choice. If they are old and beginning to discolor the tooth or threatening to crack it, you probably should consider having them replaced with porcelain fillings or tooth-colored fillings.

The Mercury Issue

Mercury is classified as a neurotoxin. Metal amalgam fillings consist of 50% mercury mixed with zinc, copper, silver and tin. It is known that mercury vapor is released from metal fillings when you chew, but it is not yet clear whether that amount of vapor is significantly harmful.

Some studies have found no adverse effects from amalgam fillings, but others have found a correlation between the number and size of metal fillings in the teeth and the levels of mercury in body tissues. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) opposes the use of amalgam, although the American Dental Association still asserts that mercury in fillings is safe.

Use of amalgam has been declining steadily in the U.S. as the public has become more aware of the potential threat to general health.

To protect you from any unnecessary health risk, Dr. Marshall has chosen not to offer metal fillings. She can replace your old metal fillings with either tooth-colored fillings using dental composite or porcelain fillings, if you would like to have that done. Safety precautions would be taken against mercury vapor and particles.

Tooth Damage From Metal Amalgam

Besides raising the mercury risk, amalgam fillings will eventually fracture the teeth they fill because the metal expands and contracts with every hot and cold substance put into the mouth. This puts ongoing stress on the tooth enamel.

There are other ways that amalgam fillings hurt your teeth:

  • They are not bonded to the tooth, but are packed tightly into the cavity
  • They exert outward pressure on the tooth’s perimeter, rather than pulling the tooth together as a porcelain filling does
  • The teeth must have healthy tissue removed to shape a cavity that will hold them in
  • As the enamel thins with age, the dark metal shows through, discoloring the whole tooth

Metal fillings look unattractive, marring your smile with their dark gray color. Some people find they have an allergy to one or more of the metals in the amalgam.

If you live in the Philadelphia, Ardmore, or Main Line, Pennsylvania area and you are interested in white fillings or porcelain, please contact the cosmetic dentistry office of Dr. Lindsey F. Marshall today at
(610) 649-0696 for a consultation.

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