If you've always had good oral health, you may be surprised when your dentist discovers a cavity during a routine checkup. If the cavity is tiny, the dentist might talk to you about ways to remineralize the enamel. Otherwise, you might need a filling. If you're concerned about a filling being visible, ask your dentist about a porcelain inlay. Here's how a porcelain inlay is used for cavities and why you might prefer it over other types of fillings.
Options for Dental Fillings and How They Compare
Silver amalgam fillings are common because they are the most affordable. They aren't suitable for cavities in the front teeth since the fillings are silver and get darker with age. However, when hidden in the back teeth, they aren't noticeable unless you laugh or open your mouth wide.
Resin is an option that's used for front teeth fillings because the color is naturally white and the shade can be matched to your other teeth. While not as obvious as a silver filling, resin doesn't have the sheen that natural enamel has, so the filling doesn't blend in completely.
Gold is a good choice for fillings because gold is strong, and a gold filling could outlast other types of fillings. Gold is quite noticeable in your mouth, and you may or may not like its appearance. Plus, gold can be an expensive option.
Porcelain is the most natural-looking filling. It's applied to your tooth as an inlay or onlay, so it's a little different from getting a regular filling. The color is matched to your other teeth, so the inlay blends in well. Plus, porcelain has a shiny surface like enamel, so the inlay is not as noticeable as other cavity repair options.
An Inlay Could Take Two Visits
If your dentist offers lab services in the same building, you could get an inlay in one day. However, it's common that you'll need two visits so the dentist can send a mold of your tooth to a dental lab so the lab can make the inlay. On the second visit, the inlay would be put on your tooth. Your dentist puts in a temporary filling to protect your tooth while you wait for the inlay to be ready.
An Inlay Looks Natural
If you pride yourself on having pretty teeth, and you've never had a filling that discolors any of your teeth, you may want to talk to your dentist treating your cavity with porcelain rather than another filling material that can be seen when you smile or laugh.
Having white, pretty teeth can boost your self-confidence, and if you've worked hard to keep your teeth in excellent shape, a cavity, especially in a front tooth, can be upsetting. However, a porcelain inlay blends in so well that it looks natural, so you'll still feel confident when you smile. For more information on your options, contact local dental services.