If you have any signs of tooth decay then Dr Zaki Bashir is likely to recommend a filling, but there are several different types that can be used. This can seem confusing, as each is designed to have a slightly different purpose.
White fillings are made from a composite resin material that closely resembles your natural teeth. The material comes in many different shades, and even in different translucencies so once the filling is placed it should be virtually invisible. White fillings are commonly used to repair cavities in front teeth and to fill small to medium sized areas of decay in your back teeth. This material is pretty strong, but is not so suitable for filing larger areas of decay in back teeth as these are subjected to heavy chewing forces. In this case Dr Bashir is likely to recommend a different type of filling which is stronger. Once this is in place it will help restore strength to the tooth so you will be able to chew normally.
These larger filings are called inlays and onlays. An inlay replaces the central chewing surface of a back tooth, but an onlay will replace a larger area which includes the central chewing area plus one or more of the cusps. Tooth cusps are the raised points you can see on the edges closest to your cheeks and tongue.
Inlays and onlays can be made from gold or porcelain. In the past you might have been advised to have gold inlays or onlays as this material is very strong and hardwearing, but today’s modern porcelain can easily withstand the forces created during chewing and of course they look beautiful and are just about invisible.
White composite filings can be placed in a single appointment to Bromley Dental Practice, but inlays and onlays are slightly different. If they are made from gold then they will require at least two appointments to prepare the tooth and then to fit the restoration. This is because they have to be made in a dental laboratory. Porcelain inlays and onlays often have to be made in a laboratory, but we are able to fabricate them onsite with our CEREC machine. This is a milling machine that cuts the restoration out from a single block of coloured porcelain.
Dr Bashir will prepare your tooth before scanning it with a very small camera so there is no need to have any impressions. This information is fed into a computer and is used to create a design that is then sent to the milling machine. The porcelain block is preselected in a shade that closely matches your natural teeth, and is milled according to this design. Once it is completed it will be hand finished and polished before being fitted and cemented in your mouth. All this can be carried out in a relatively short space of time, while you wait in our comfortable surgery. You will be able to leave with your new inlay or onlay in place which is much better than having a temporary filing, and of course saves you from making another trip to our surgery.