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White or composite fillings are fantastic for filling small cavities. But they do have some downfalls when it comes to larger fillings.
Composite filling material shrinks as it sets, pulling away from the sides of your tooth. This can cause sensitivity and is one of the main reasons that composite fillings need to be replaced more often. This is especially true in larger fillings – the more composite needed, the more shrinkage that will take place.
This is a common complaint, and it’s due to a number of factors. The shrinkage leaves a space between the filling and the tooth, which can create sensitivity. This type of filling does not react to temperature changes in your mouth the same way enamel does, also creating sensitivity. Also, because the material is synthetic it does not wear the same as your natural teeth. This means that the filling will wear down faster than your natural teeth, leading to an uneven bite.
There is another option for creating larger fillings that looks and feels natural – and is prepared in the office while you wait. It’s called CEREC.
Here are some of the reasons we like CEREC for large fillings:
CEREC fillings are made out of ceramic that is milled in office using water and diamond burrs – so there are no chemicals in your filling.
CEREC fillings wear the same as your natural teeth. They don’t form a ditch at the margins or rub the opposing teeth, making for a very comfortable and natural feeling.
CEREC also blends in by transmitting light to the adjacent tooth structure and reflecting the remaining tooth color through itself – using a “chameleon effect” to look just like your teeth.
Because CEREC fillings are precision cut to fit your tooth and expand and contract the same amount as the tooth structure to which it is bonded, it is much less likely to fracture the tooth structure that holds it. It does not shrink over time, so it maintains its quality and fit.
Next time you’re in, ask about CEREC and if it’s right for you. Or just ask to see the machine in action – it’s pretty cool.