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Metal Versus Porcelain Dental Materials

porcelain or metal fillings

What Other Materials Are Used for Fillings?

In addition to ceramic, composite resin and dental amalgam are also used for fillings. Composite fillings are comprised of a mixture of plastic resin and powdered glass. Like ceramic, or porcelain, composite resin is also tooth colored and therefore blends well with the color of surrounding teeth. They generally hold up well under the forces of biting and may be a good treatment option for many patients.

Dental amalgam fillings are comprised of a mixture of liquid mercury and metal-alloy powder. This mixture is self-hardening. Although they are an economical treatment option, they are not tooth colored and may be detectable when you laugh or speak.

If you have any questions about your filling treatment options, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

These days, you have many options in the types of dental materials used for fillings, crowns, bridges and other dental restorations. Each offers its own advantages and potential disadvantages. Here is a brief look at the different dental materials, and the pros and cons of each.

Metal Alloys

The word alloy indicates a mixture of metals. For example, gold alloy refers to a mixture of gold and copper as well as other metals. Metal alloys are used principally for crowns, fixed dental bridges and some partial denture foundations.

The advantages of gold alloy are that:

  • It is highly resistant to further decay.
  • It is durable and isn’t prone to fracturing under stress.
  • Gold alloy restorations only require minimal removal of tooth material for placement.

The potential disadvantages are that:

  • It is not tooth colored and may be more noticeable.
  • It may exacerbate tooth sensitivity, as it conducts heat and cold.

Ceramic (Porcelain)

Ceramic, or porcelain, dental restorations are comprised of a glass-like material. These days, ceramic is almost always used to fill a cavity. The tooth-colored material is also used for crowns, veneers, inlays and fixed bridges.

The benefits of ceramic are that:

  • Ceramic restorations closely match the color of the surrounding teeth, making them nearly imperceptible to others.
  • It is resistant to further decay and to surface wear.
  • It does not cause sensitivity in teeth.

The potential drawbacks are that:

  • Although ceramic restorations are resistant to surface wear, they may cause some wear on the opposing teeth.
  • Ceramic is not as strong as metal alloy and may fracture under stress.
  • Ceramic is not necessarily a good material for the molars, depending on what type of restoration is needed.

Learn More

If you require a filling or other dental restoration, we invite you to schedule an appointment with us. That way, your dentist can examine your oral health and listen to your concerns before suggesting an appropriate treatment option, including the type of dental material that is most appropriate for your oral health needs.

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