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Dennis G. Sternberg, D.D.S.

Types of Dental Fillings

By Dennis Sternberg on March 26, 2012

It is common to experience feelings of nervousness or anxiety when going to the dentist, especially when cavities are involved. At our practice, we strive to always provide an environment that is both relaxing and comforting to our patients, while still offering the latest in dental technology. There are many options available in the world of dentistry when it comes to dental fillings, including amalgam fillings, tooth-colored fillings, inlays, and onlays. Our Freehold cosmetic dentist, Dr. Sternberg, will perform a full dental examination to determine which type of filling is best suited to your dental needs.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings (metal fillings) are typically made up of mercury and copper. Amalgam fillings are strong and long-lasting, but are aesthetically unpleasing. Advantages of amalgam fillings include:

  • Strength (can withstand the forces of chewing, even in rear teeth)
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be completed in one dental visit

Disadvantages of amalgam fillings include:

  • Does not blend in to the surrounding teeth
  • Surrounding teeth may have a blue hue from the silver filling
  • Healthy parts of the tooth often have to be removed to make room for the filling
  • Can tarnish or corrode over time
  • Though rare, some patients may be allergic to the amalgam filling
  • Some patients worry about the mercury contained within the amalgam fillings
  • Can crack when exposed to changes in temperature

Tooth-colored Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings are an excellent way to achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. In the past, tooth-colored fillings were not strong enough to withstand the forces of chewing in rear teeth. With today’s advances in dental technology, tooth-colored fillings are as strong as amalgam fillings, completely inconspicuous, and virtually undetectable. Tooth-colored fillings are made of a special, durable resin material or porcelain and are designed to match your natural tooth color. Besides being aesthetically superior to amalgam fillings, less of the healthy portion of the tooth has to be removed when placing tooth-colored fillings.

Tooth-colored Fillings: Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are used to restore rear teeth that have decay, and are usually made out of resin or porcelain. Inlays and onlays may also be used to repair chips and cracks in teeth that are not damaged enough to need dental crowns, and are often used to replace amalgam fillings. An impression is made of the decayed tooth and a temporary inlay or onlay is then placed over the tooth. The impression is taken to a dental laboratory where a dental technician will make an inlay or onlay to your tooth’s specifications. When you return to our Freehold dental office, we will remove the temporary inlay or onlay, and securely place the permanent inlay or onlay onto the tooth.

An Alternative to Dental Fillings: Dental Crowns

For our patients in Freehold, dental crowns may be necessary in the presence of severe tooth decay. Dental crowns are used to protect teeth that are weak from decay and in danger of breaking or cracking. Teeth that are already cracked can also be held together with a dental crown. When there isn’t enough tooth left after a filling has been placed (when the filling is too large), a dental crown can be used to protect and cover the tooth. A dental crown is a cap placed over a tooth to restore strength, shape, and size. Dental crowns may also be used to improve the appearance of the teeth, and once placed, fully encase the entire visible portion of the tooth above and below the gumline.

Contact Dr. Dennis G. Sternberg, D.D.S. Today

To learn more about the many dental fillings available, or to schedule an appointment with our cosmetic dentist, please contact Dr. Dennis G. Sternberg, D.D.S., today.

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