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Metal- Free Fillings

In Edmonton, Alberta

Out With Old Mercury Fillings: In with New Porcelain Fillings
When decay damages your tooth and must be removed, the resulting cavity is traditionally filled with a metal amalgam. A filling not only restores the tooth’s shape and functionality, but also helps prevent bacteria from causing additional decay. But modern cosmetic dentists, including Dr. Pavlenko, no longer use the old metal amalgam for fillings, but instead use pearly-white dental porcelain.

Porcelain fillings are also called porcelain inlays or onlays. An onlay is a partial crown that fills a cavity and extends over the tooth cusps to an outside surface, building the tooth’s shape and strength. An inlay is smaller and fills a cavity within the tooth cusps. By using porcelain inlays or onlays, Dr. Pavlenko is able to strengthen and repair your tooth in a way that also holds it together; retaining as much of its natural structure and color as possible.

Porcelain fillings are indirect fillings, as opposed mercury and composite fillings which are direct fillings.

  • Indirect fillings must be sent to a laboratory and be custom-made of porcelain ceramic, to exactly fit into your cavity. So two visits are required with a short waiting time in between.
  • Direct fillings are put directly into the tooth by your cosmetic dentist and there is no wait time for a lab to create them.

Advantages of porcelain fillings

  1. Dr. Pavlenko will permanently bond the porcelain fillings to your teeth. This strengthens the tooth and extends its life. Instead of being packed tightly into the cavity like an amalgam filling, and exerting outward pressure on the tooth’s periphery, the porcelain filling pulls inward on the periphery and holds the tooth strongly together.
  2. Porcelain does not expand and contract with heat and cold as metal does. Amalgam fillings threaten the tooth’s integrity with their daily expansion and contraction.
  3. Dental porcelain reacts to light in a similar way to tooth enamel. They are both partially translucent and both have that pearly white sheen.
  4. Dr. Pavlenko will choose a shade of porcelain to exactly match your natural tooth color, making the filling undetectable.
  5. A porcelain filling will last up to 30 years, whereas other filling materials will need to be replaced as soon as seven to ten years after they were placed.

Another little-noticed advantage of porcelain fillings is that they require less tooth tissue to be removed. As Dr. Pavlenko says:

Porcelain fillings can actually increase the strength of a tooth. Fillings made of other materials tend to weaken the tooth because of the need to drill more of the natural tissue.

The procedure
During the first visit, the decayed part of your tooth or the old filling is removed and the tooth is cleaned. Dr. Pavlenko will then make an impression of it for the dental lab to use as a model in creating your custom porcelain inlay or onlay. The cavity will be given a temporary filling to protect the tooth while your porcelain filling is being created.

In the second visit, Dr. Pavlenko will remove the temporary filling and permanently cement the porcelain inlay or onlay to your tooth.

You do not need to have a new cavity to get a porcelain filling. Old mercury fillings can be replaced, to give you a new bright smile. For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Please contact us if you would like to set up a personal consultation to discuss your options.