White fillings are a popular type of dental filling used to restore decayed teeth or cavities. Because they are available in a number of colour options, they can blend seamlessly with your affected tooth’s remaining structure and the surrounding teeth – as opposed to highly visible metal fillings. White fillings can also be used to change the shape and size of your teeth, which is especially beneficial in cases of damaged, worn or eroded teeth.
The difference between CEREC porcelain and composite resin fillings
Not all white fillings are the same. While different types of white fillings may look very similar, they come in two main options based on the filling material used – porcelain or composite resin. Glass Ionomer fillings (GIC) are another white filling option but are typically used in cases of child tooth decay, adult temporary fillings and sub-gingival fillings (below the gumline). The difference between porcelain and composite filling materials is like comparing apples to oranges. Porcelain fillings – also known as inlays, CEREC or ceramic restorations – are a lot harder and durable than “composite resin” fillings which are also referred to as plastic, resin or composite fillings.
Composite resin – the low-cost but less durable filling option
So, not only can the filling fail but your remaining original tooth may fracture also. Additionally, once composite fillings start to contract, tooth decay can start to penetrate between the filling and original tooth structure and cause more oral issues. If left untreated, this can result in hidden decay, catastrophic failure and tooth loss. Lastly, colour integrity is also an issue since composites can fade or discolour and start standing out from the rest of your teeth.
CEREC porcelain fillings – the more natural looking and long-lasting filling
Since there is minimal wear and tear on porcelain fillings, there is less of a requirement to excavate and prep a tooth. This means you’ll be able to retain more of your natural tooth structure – to create a stronger foundation for your filling. CEREC fillings are more expensive without a doubt, but when you factor in the replacement expenses of composites over time, the cost differential is negligible.