For larger size fillings, especially where a tooth cusp is being replaced, we use a tooth-coloured ceramic material. These types of fillings are called ceramic inlays or onlays. Ceramic compared to composite is stronger, more durable and so able to withstand the immense forces placed on teeth, and is needed when the filling is replacing large sections of tooth.
Ceramic onlays and inlays are used to conserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. They are a highly effective intermediate measure where the strength of ceramic is needed but a full crown (a crown covers the whole tooth like a hat covers one’s head) is not required.
Like crowns, the ceramic filling is made outside of the mouth. The procedure firstly involves preparing the tooth to remove decay or fractured enamel. Then we use a camera to digitally map the tooth and the surrounding area in the mouth. Using computer-aided design software, the ceramic filling is created and then milled (or made) onsite. The ceramic filling is then cemented into place. Adjustment and polishing then finishes the procedure. Inlays and onlays are completed in one appointment and this takes around an hour.
The cost can vary from $185 for small composite fillings, up to $1150 for the largest all-ceramic cusp covering onlay.
Dental Lounge endeavours to make your visit as pain-free as possible. Our dentists employ happy gas, numbing gel and the Wand injection system (tiny needle and computer controlled delivery) to remove any pain. We also have IV sedation (sleep dentistry) available most days if needed. We can use lasers in selected cases to avoid injections and we take the time to lessen the anxiety associated with a trip to the dentist.
Daily brushing and flossing with good technique are needed to maintain fillings and keep them in good shape for many years. Composite fillings have an average life span of 8 years whilst ceramic fillings can last far longer due to their strength. Regular dental check-ups and cleans are critical in keeping your fillings in good repair.
Your dentist will assess the tooth and the size of the filling needed. He or she will then discuss with you the options available, together with the pros and cons of each option, including cost. The patient and dentist will then agree on which option is best for a patients needs.