The Difference Between Porcelain and Regular Composite Fillings

Your Plano dentist has discovered that you have a cavity. You make an appointment to fill it and either before the day of your appointment or as you’re sitting in the dental chair, mouth at the ready, your dentist says he’s going to fill the cavity with a porcelain filling.

Or he asks if you’d like a regular composite filling, silver amalgam filling or a porcelain filling.

You’ve never heard of porcelain fillings? What are they? Are they better than regular composite fillings? And are they better than the “old, familiar” silver or gold fillings.


Your dentist may recommend that you receive a porcelain filling instead of the “usual” silver filling.

Many dentists still use silver (amalgam) or gold fillings in cavities, but their popularity has been waning due to the fact that the filling won’t match the rest of the tooth: open your mouth wide and people looking in will see that you’ve had one or more cavities.

Porcelain or composite fillings, on the other hand, will look just like the rest of your tooth; no one will know that you had a cavity filled.

In addition, composite fillings also can be used to repair a chipped or broken tooth, so if your dentist feels that your tooth could use a bit of cosmetic work while filling your cavity, he could do so.

Composite and porcelain fillings are more expensive than silver fillings, however (gold fillings, on the other hand, are about 10 times more costly than silver fillings), but the regular composite filling may not last as long as either a silver, gold or even porcelain filling. Composite fillings tend to last between 5-7 years while the other types of fillings can go 10-15 or even more years before they need to be replaced. A porcelain filling, in fact, can last decades.

Some more difference between porcelain and composite fillings:

A regular composite filling is bonded to your tooth (not cemented). Composite fillings are not as smooth as your natural tooth’s structure, and so you may find them harder to keep clean and they may decay more quickly.

A porcelain filling, however, is made of the same ceramic material of which crowns and veneers are made. Your Plano dentist will glue it on to your tooth with an advanced adhesive system, the same type with which he cements crowns. Porcelain fillings will conserve your tooth’s structure for a longer period of your tooth’s life, helping you avoid having to have a crown placed upon it in the future. The porcelain filling also is smoother and slicker than a composite filling and feels much more like your natural tooth. It’s also easier to keep clean and free from decay.

To learn more about porcelain fillings and their benefits, contact the office of Plano dentist Dr. Darren Dickson. Give us a call by phone to make an appointment.

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